Melodee Beals BA MA, PhD, PgCAPP, FRHistS
Lecturer in Digital History
I am a historian of migration and media, exploring the ways in which the movement of peoples and ideas intersect, and an advocate of the Digital Humanities, using computer-aided methodologies to explore historical materials in new and unexpected ways.
I undertook my undergraduate studies at Clark University and completed my PhD at the University of Glasgow. Since completing my degree, I have worked as a pedagogical researcher for the History Subject Centre, a teaching fellow for the School of Comparative American Studies at the University of Warwick and a Principal Lecturer for Sheffield Hallam University, where I acted as Subject Group Leader for History. I joined the Department of Politics, History and International Relations at Loughborough University in September 2015.
In order to promote a more collaborative research community, within and beyond academia, I am an ardent supporter of open research and social media for academic purposes and am happy to discuss my research and teaching through various social networks, including Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
The main focus of my research has been Scottish media history and I am particularly interested in the role of newspapers in public perceptions of demography and migration. My current research project, Here and There, Us and Them, uses newspapers, magazines and other popular publications to explore depictions of identity at the start of the second British Empire and the relationship between demographic and economic pressures and cultural identity.
As part of this wider work, I also maintain the Scissors and Paste database, an online repository of newspaper transcriptions that aims to trace the composition, reprinting, abridgment and paraphrasing of newspaper content as it travelled along periodical networks. I am also currently working with British Library Labs to develop Georgian Pingbacks, a branch of the Scissors and Paste database, which will crowdsource explicit attributions within 18th and 19th-century newspapers, helping us understand which periodicals were considered sufficiently respectable to cite, and which were simply stolen from without due credit.
As debates regarding Open Access, copyright and the Creative Commons movement develop, I am keen to work with students and others researchers to widen our understanding of the historical underpinnings of open knowledge and the ways in which the free flow of information effects economic and social change.
Alongside my historical research, I am also active in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), authoring a number of reports and papers on history teaching in higher education alongside my teaching blog The Socratic Dilemma. I have contributed to several higher education teaching organisations, including the East Midlands Centre for Teaching History and HistorySOTL, and have organised a range of training events for the HEA’s History Subject Centre and History Lab Plus. I am particularly interested in the ways in which historians can rebalance their pedagogy away from long-term socialisation and towards more explicit training in the specific means of undertaking robust and thoughtful research.
At Loughborough, I contribute to several team-taught undergraduate modules, including Introduction to Academic Studies, Crafting the Dissertation, and The Atlantic World. I also convene Go West, Young Man: North America, 1785-1914, which explores the social, political and cultural history of the North American continent, including Canada, the United States and Mexico and their relationships with each other, their citizens and the indigenous peoples of America.
I am keen to hear from students interested in postgraduate studies on migration in the British Empire and the United States before 1850, newspaper and periodical history and the digital humanities.
Coin, Kirk, Class & Kin: Emigration, Social Change and Identity in Southern Scotland
Historical Networks in the Book Trade
International Students in History
A Comparative Study of First-Year Transition, 2009-2010
Historical Insights: Focus on Research
M.H.Beals and Lisa Lavender
- ‘Rapunzel and the Ivory Tower: How Open Access Will Save the Humanities (from Themselves) Journal of Victorian Culture 18:4 (December 2013), pp. 543-550
- ‘The Sojourning Settler: Transatlantic Networks and Identities in the British-American Tobacco Trade, 1740-1841′ Journal of Irish and Scottish Studies 3:1 (August 2009), pp. 157-173
- ‘”Passengers Wishing to Embrace This Commodious Conveyance, Will Apply Immediately”: The Rise in Emigrant Passage Advertising in the Scottish Borders, 1800-1830’ International Journal of Regional and Local Studies 4:1 (Spring 2008), pp. 21-46.
- Caledonian Canaan: Scottish Cultural Identity in Colonial New England as Demonstrated by the Scotch-American Company of Farmers’ International Review of Scottish Studies 30 (September 2005), pp. 42-85.
Essays in Edited Collections
- ‘The Role of the Sydney Gazette in the Creation of Australia in the Scottish Public Sphere” in John Hinks and Catherine Feeley (eds) Historical Networks in the Book Trade (2015)
- 2013, ‘Keeping the Faith: Researching as a Part-time Teacher or Teaching Fellow’, History Lab Plus blog, Institute of Historical Research.
- 2013, ‘Record How You Search, Not Just What You Find’, Guest Blog, Impact of Social Science blog, London School of Economics.
- 2013, ‘Catch and Release: My Secret Adventure into the World of GLAM-WIKI’, Guest Blog, Wikimedia UK Blog
- 2010, ‘Dumfries Weekly Journal’, Dictionary of Nineteenth Century Journalism (Proquest)