Marcus Collins is a historian of twentieth- and twenty-first century Britain. He was educated at the universities of Cambridge, Harvard and Columbia. After undertaking postdoctoral work as Sir James Knott Research Fellow at Newcastle University, he taught at Emory University and Bangor University before coming to Loughborough to serve as History Programme Director in 2009.
Marcus is primarily interested in social and cultural change in Britain since 1945. He has published widely on postwar immigration, national identity, second-wave feminism, youth culture, sexuality, marriage, drug use and radical politics. Recent work has focused on permissiveness and popular music in the ‘long 1960s’, including a monograph on the Beatles and articles on the Rolling Stones. His expertise in history pedagogy has resulted in several publications, including a book co-authored with Peter N. Stearns.
Outside the university, he has served on the Council of the Royal Historical Society and as co-convenor of the subject association History UK. He was appointed to the QAA History Benchmark Statement Review Group, Pearson/Edexcel’s History Strategic Advisory Group and the Royal Historical Society’s Education Policy Committee. Within Loughborough, he has been elected to two terms apiece on Senate and Council.
Marcus Collins is currently engaged in three book projects. The Beatles’ World is the successor volume to The Beatles and Sixties Britain (2020). It argues that although the Beatles were the most celebrated figures of the ‘permissive society’, they exhibited uncertainty over most of its cardinal values. They embraced and renounced materialism, secularism, drugs, self-disclosure, casual sex, revolutionary politics and artistic experimentation.
The second project, entitled Arrested Development: The BBC and Homosexuality from Wolfenden to AIDS, examines the critical importance of non-fiction broadcasts to the creation of lesbian and gay identity, community and wider societal recognition from the 1950s to the 1980s.
The third project is a comparative survey of attitudinal change in the ‘global sixties’. It uses opinion polls conducted in the non-communist world from 1950 to 1980 to assess how public attitudes to the diverse lifestyles, radical politics and reformist legislation of the ‘long 1960s’ vary over time, between nations and along lines of gender, age, class, religion, political orientation and ethnicity.
Marcus also continues to research history pedagogy. A recent national survey of staff and students about learning and teaching history before, during and after the Covid-19 pandemic was conducted with Jamie Wood and Aimee Merrydew and funded by History UK, the Royal Historical Society and the East Midlands Centre for History Learning and Teaching.
- The Beatles and Sixties Britain (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020)
- Modern Love: An Intimate History of Men and Women in Twentieth-Century Britain (London: Atlantic, 2003; Newark, DL: University of Delaware Press, 2006)
- Why Study History? (co-authored with Peter N. Stearns; London: LPP, 2020)
- The Permissive Society and Its Enemies (London: Rivers Oram, 2007)
- ‘The 1960s and the Cultural Revolution’, in Nicole Robertson, John Singleton and Avram Taylor (eds), Twentieth-century Britain: Economic, Cultural and Social Change (3rd edn) (London: Economic History Society/Taylor and Francis, 2022)
- ‘Permissiveness on Trial: Sex, Drugs, Rock, the Rolling Stones and the Sixties Counterculture’, Popular Music and Society 42, 2 (2019), 188-209
- ‘Immigration and Opinion Polls in Postwar Britain’, Modern History Review 18, 4 (2016), 8-13
- ‘I Feel Free: The Worldview of British Rock and Pop Musicians, c. 1965-1975’, Popular Culture in Britain and America, 1950-1975 (Cheltenham: Adam Matthew Digital, 2013)
Marcus Collins teaches a wide variety of modules. These range from a final-year option on sixties Britain through a compulsory second-year module on history methodology to co-taught modules on modern Britain and research skills.
Marcus is a dedicated teacher who has written extensively about history pedagogy and has received many grants and awards for his teaching. He was the inaugural winner of the LSU Academic Award of Excellence and has also won a university-wide Research-Informed Teaching Award, a departmental Lecturer of the Year Award, two Teaching Innovation Awards and a grant from the Loughborough University Development Trust. He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a recipient of JISC funding and three grants from AdvanceHE.
Current PhD supervisions
- Co-supervisor for Abbie Donnelly, ‘Exotic animals and exhibition culture, 1851-1914: a comparative analysis of town, city and countryside’
Recent PhD completions
- Franziska Karpinski, ‘Between depression and zeal: conceptions of masculinity in the wartime letters of SS Hauptsturmführer Maximilian Guttenbrunner, 1939–43’
- Charles Smith, ‘The evolution of a gay male ‘public sphere’ in Britain, c. 1967–85’
- Jackie Gold, ‘Representations of India on film, 1917-47’
Marcus welcomes expression of interest from anyone wishing to conduct research on history pedagogy or social and political change in contemporary Britain.