The question of dual or contested loyalties has been a constant theme in the history of British communism. Recent research in this field has been enriched by the availability of MI5 files, Soviet archives and personal memoir. However, the question of the loyalties of British communists has a much wider significance, encompassing the dilemmas of intellectuals, changing personal and political identities. In the background have often been tensions between the freedom of the artist and writer and their political commitments, the internationalist and anti-fascist allegiances in the context of war and pacifism, and the effects of the Cold War on work and family life.
Given the breadth of the loyalties question, this one day seminar, funded by The Open University’s Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance, was conceived with the idea of pushing out the boundaries of research to bring together historians, political scientists, intelligence experts and those working on biographical studies and life-writing. The seminar is intended to be a starting-point for further research and will focus initially on three main areas:
War, intelligence and espionage
British communists, the Popular Front and Spain in the 1930s
Writers, Intellectuals, Artists
For further details, please contact Dr Geoff Andrews: email@example.com