Mr Benjamin Bland

Supervised by

  • Dan Stone First/primary/lead supervisor

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Personal profile

PhD Research

Thesis Title: A Fascination With Fascism: The Extreme Right and Underground Music Culture in Britain, c. 1975-1999

My doctoral research, which is funded by the AHRC, offers a new interpretation of the role of fascism within contemporary British history. Unlike previous histories of the topic, my research focuses on the place of the extreme right in culture and society rather than offering an account of the ideology and/or activities of British fascists. The first half of the thesis charts the history of British neo-fascism as a form of transgressive (sub)cultural activity, whilst the second half then explores reflections of fascism in contemporaneous underground music cultures. Throughout my thesis I demonstrate that the extreme right has influenced the politics of race and nation in contemporary Britain to a degree far greater than its lack of conventional political success may suggest.

 

Research Interests

I am a historian of race and immigration in post-war Europe (chiefly, but not exclusively, Britain). My main focus is on the rise of multiculturalism and how this has altered conceptions of race and nation in the post-war period. To date my research has centred on far right politics, but I am increasingly expanding my focus to include the broader political landscape and the social history of minority groups within multicultural Britain.

I have wider interests in conceptions of political and cultural extremism in the post-war period, the cultural and intellectual legacy of Nazism and the Holocaust. Given the interdisciplinary nature of my research, I am also interested in exploring ideas related to the practice of history and the ways in which various forms of cultural studies can inform the nature of historical research.

I have recently published a book chapter on industrial music fanzines and ideas of transgression in the post-punk era, as part of an edited collection produced by the Subcultures Network (and published by Manchester University Press) on the politics of zine-making. I also have an article forthcoming in Patterns of Prejudice (to be published in 2019) on anti-Zionism and the extreme right in post-war Britain. I am currently working on several other articles alongside completing my thesis, including one on local and national responses to fascist and anti-fascist street clashes in the mid-1970s, and another on far right views of Britain as an "island race" in the post-war period.

 

Educational Background

2014-2015: MA in Modern History (University of York)

2011-2014: BA in History (University of York)

 

Funding & Awards

2015-2018: AHRC TECHNE Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship

2014-2015: McCormack Scholarship

 

Teaching Positions

2017-18: Seminar Tutor (HS2014: "The European Crucible: Politics, Culture & Society, 1914-1947"), Royal Holloway

2016-17: Visiting Lecturer in Modern German History, University of Roehampton

 

Other Affiliations

I am an ECR Fellow of the Centre for the Analysis of the Radical Right.

 

Conference & Seminar Papers

"'Music from the Death Factory': The 'Post-Holocaust Morality' of the Industrial and Neofolk Subcultures and the Circulation of Political Ideas in Underground Music Scenes", Writing the Noise: The Politics and History of Underground Music, University of Reading, 6-7 September 2018.

"The Hidden Reverse: Subcultural Histories and the Exploration of Transgression in Modern British Studies", Ways of Knowing in (and About) Modern Britain, University of Birmingham, 5-6 July 2018.

"'The Island Race': Islandness, the Nationalist Imagination, and Far Right Political Identities in Post-War Britain", Splendid Isolation? Insularity in British History, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 4-5 May 2018.

"Riding the Tiger... from Rome to London: The Political Thought of Julius Evola and the Subcultural Politics of Anglo-Italian Neo-Fascism in the 1980s", International History Research Seminar, London School of Economics & Political Science, 10 January 2018.

"Rising Among the Ruins: The Subcultural Politics of Radical Neo-Fascism in Britain in the 1980s & 1990s", Modern International History Group Research Seminar, University of Sheffield, 13 November 2017.

"Men Among the Ruins (of Modern Britain): Julius Evola and the Radical Ideological Trajectory of 1980s British Fascism", Modern British Studies 2017 Conference: British Studies in a Broken World, University of Birmingham, 5-7 July 2017.

"Angry and Afraid: White Genocide and the Emotional Drivers of Post-War British Fascism", Fears and Angers: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, Queen Mary, University of London, 19-20 June 2017.

"Men Among the Ruins (of Modern Britain): Julius Evola and the Radical Ideological Trajectory of 1980s British Fascism", Post-War Far Right & Anti-Fascist Culture, University of Northampton, 8 June 2017.

"Music for Europe: Ethnic Eurocentrism and the Presence of Neo-Fascist Ideas in Undergroudn Musical Subcultures", Echoes of Fascism, University of Sussex, 26 May 2017.

"Blood & Honour: Ethno-Nationalist Definitions of Britishness in the UK Nazi Punk Scene, c. 1983-1993", Social History Society Annual Conference, University College London, 4-6 April 2017.

"Holocaust Inversion and Post-War British Fascism: The Israel-Palestine Conflict and Changing Discourses of Anti-Semitism on the British Far Right", The Holocaust and History: The Work and Legacy of David Cesarani, Senate House, University of London, 3-4 April 2017.

"Blood & Honour: The Construction of Ethno-Nationalist Identity in the UK Nazi Punk Scene, c. 1983-1993", Anthony D. Smith and the Future of Nationalism: Ethnicity, Religion & Culture, London School of Economics & Political Science, 27-28 March 2017.

"'A Gigantic Confidence Trick': Thatcherism and the Far Right", Thatcher and Thatcherism: New Critical Perspectives, University of Durham, 19-20 January 2017.

“'Music from the Death Factory': The 'Post-Holocaust Morality' of the Industrial, Neofolk and Power Electronics Genres, c. 1976-1996”, Metal, Extreme Music, and the Holocaust, University of Leeds, 12 December 2016.

"‘Music from the Death Factory’: The ‘Post-Holocaust Morality’ of Industrial Music", The Holocaust in the Public Sphere, Royal Holloway, University of London, 6 December 2016.

“'Europe - a Nation': Oswald Mosley's Fascist Vision of Integration and Racial Europeanism on the British Far Right”, Invasion to Integration: British Attitudes Towards Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries, University of Kent, 4 November 2016.

“'Blood and Honour': Fascism and the Construction of Whiteness in British Musical Subcultures, c. 1982-1996”, Postgraduate History Research Seminar Series 2016-17, Royal Holloway, University of London, 5 October 2016.

“'Music From the Death Factory': Holocaust Impiety in Industrial Music”, Dark Leisure and Music, Leeds Beckett University, 16 September 2016.

“The Holocaust and the 'Information War': Holocaust Impiety in the Work of Throbbing Gristle”, The Presence of the Holocaust in Society, Politics & Culture, c. 1970-2015, University College London, 20 July 2016.

“'Don't Do As You're Told, Do As You Think': The Transgressive Periodical/Zine Culture of Industrial Music in the 1970s & 1980s”, Periodical Counter-Cultures, Liverpool John Moores University, 7 July 2016.

“Violence as Refuge from Modernity in J. G. Ballard's 'High-Rise'”, Seeking Refuge, King’s College London, 24 May 2016.

“'These People are the Wreckers of Civilisation!': COUM Transmissions/Throbbing Gristle, Moral Panic and Deviant Culture in 1970s Britain”, Deviant, Delinquent and Degenerate Leisure in 20th Century Britain, University of Bolton, 22 March 2016.

“'Cinematic and Literary Critiques of Urban Modernisation in Cold War Italy: The Case of Pasolini's 'Mamma Roma'”, Cold War Europe and the Culture Wars, University of Sheffield, 30 May 2015.

 

Other Activities

I am currently a co-convenor of the Royal Holloway History Department's Postgraduate Research Seminar series. I am also involved in organising the inter-disciplinary conference, Large Objects, Moving Air, which will be held at the University of the Arts London in January 2018. I was also the co-organiser of the TECHNE AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership's 2016 annual conference, entitled Memory & Perception, an inter-disciplinary event held at Rich Mix Cultural Centre in Shoreditch on 3 November 2016. In April 2017 I appeared on the South London radio station Voice of Islam's Breakfast Show, discussing the anticipated impact of Brexit on the May 2017 general election. 

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