Rebekah Hodgkinson

Research Summary

Rebekah is a Collaborative Doctoral Award student with the University of Oxford Archaeology Department and the National Trust, funded by the Open-Oxford-Cambridge Doctoral Training Programme. Supervised by Professor Dan Hicks (Pitt Rivers Museum) and Dr Christo Kefalas (National Trust), Rebekah is studying photographs taken in the British Empire by former residents of country houses now in the National Trust's care. 

The project, titled "Counter Memories: Photographs of Empire in Country House Collections", seeks to rediscover some of the colonial history within the Trust's collections, an area which has often been overlooked to date. By investigating personal photographic collections of house owners, the project seeks to explore how these individuals recorded what they saw in the Empire. The use of photographic collections will broaden the scope of existing work on material culture and colonialism in British homes, exploring a different form of collecting than those of fine art and pottery. The photographs, having been taken in colonies themselves, rather than being imported or mimicked, form part of an archaeology of modern British colonialism which speaks to the use of modern technologies in (in)formal colonial practice and the imperial gaze of Europeans/Britons in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Rebekah graduated from the University of Warwick in January 2020 with a first class MA in Modern History, and from the University of Manchester in June 2018 with a first class BA in Politics and Modern History. She gave papers at Trinity College Dublin and the University of Warwick at postgraduate research conferences in 2019. Her MA thesis  explored the experiences of Caribbean women who worked in Britain as nurses in the immediate postwar period through personal testimonies and magazines aimed at the British Caribbean community and proposed that self image was an important marker of identity and of respectability, both in uniform at work and at home.

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