Gavin Schaffer

Colleges, School and Institutes


I joined the School of History and Cultures as Lecturer in British history in September 2010. At the beginning of my career, I studied for my PhD under the supervision of Tony Kushner at the Parkes Centre for Jewish/Non Jewish Studies at the University of Southampton, where I remain an Honorary Fellow. Prior to joining this department, I worked for seven years as lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Portsmouth.  Before starting my present post as the University of Birmingham’s Director of Postgraduate Studies, I worked for two years as the University’s Director of the College of Arts and Law Graduate School.

Research interests

I am a social and cultural historian specialising in the history of race and immigration in the twentieth century. In particular, I am interested in the ways in which racial ideas have been formulated and disseminated. I have spent several years researching the place of race in science, research which led to my 2008 monograph, Racial Science and British Society. Subsequently, I have written a monograph about racism and the media, looking in detail at television’s attempts to deal with multiculturalism in the 1960s and 1970s. Alongside my work on race, I am also interested in the history of immigrants and minorities, Jewish history, the history of comedy, and the social history of modern warfare, especially the Second World War.

Willingness to take PhD students


PhD projects

I presently supervise four PhD students. I am keen to offer supervision in the following areas:

Racial Science and Eugenics
British Immigration Histories
The History of Race and Racism
Social History of the Second World War
Modern Jewish History
The History of Television
The History of Comedy