Skip to content

Toggle service links

You are here

  1. Home
  2. Dr Helen O'Shea

Dr Helen O'Shea

Profile summary

Professional biography

I am a Staff Tutor and Lecturer in History. Originally from Co. Cork in Ireland and based in Edinburgh since 2003, I was awarded my PhD in history from the University of Edinburgh in 2010. I first started working as an Associate Lecturer in History with the Open University in 2012 and since then have also worked as a Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Dundee and for the National Union of Students in Scotland on the issues surrounding the internationalisation of higher education. I currently cluster manage the A111 and A113 Level 1 modules and am a member of the A225 module team (The British Isles and the Modern World: 1789-1914). I'm also on the production team for our forthcoming module A328 (Empire: Power, Resistance, Legacies).

Research interests

My research interests include comparative decolonisation, insurgency and counter-insurgency in the British Empire, the British colonial legal service and modern Irish history in transnational and comparative contexts. My first book was published in 2015 under the title Ireland and the End of the British Empire: The Republic and Its Role in the Cyprus Emergency and was reprinted in paperback in 2020 by Bloomsbury Publishing. It has since been updated and translated into Greek and will shortly be published by Aigaion (forthcoming, 2022). I am currently researching emergency law and order in the post-war British Empire using three major emergency periods - Palestine (1945-48), Malaya (1948-60) and Kenya (1952-59) - as case studies. 

Within the OU's research clusters, I'm a member of the International Centre for the History of Crime, Policing and Justice and the Ferguson Centre for African and Asian Studies.

In the field of HE policy, I'm interested in issues of student access, retention and progression in the context of higher education and under-represented adult learners.

Teaching interests

Modern Irish and British History

The Twentieth Century British Empire

Impact and engagement

BBC Consultancy

I'm currently an OU-nominated academic on two forthcoming historical series with BBC Two and BBC Scotland (both productions are to be aired early 2023).

Public Memory & Commemoration

“‘The Darkest Blot on Ireland’s History’: the Easter Rising, Execution and Scottish Newspaper Reportage”. Alternative 1916, Conference of Irish Historians in Britain, February 2016. Available at http://irishhistoriansinbritain.org/?p=203

Committee Membership

I serve as a committee member of the Open History Society Edinburgh

External collaborations

I'm a project member of the OpenLearn 'Women and Workplace Struggles: Scotland 1900-2022' project in collaboration with the Scottish Trades Union Congress.

Publications

Ireland and the End of the British Empire: The Republic and its Role in the Cyprus Emergency (2020-03-19)
O'Shea, Helen
ISBN : 9781350156340 | Publisher : Bloomsbury | Published : London


Ireland and the End of the British Empire: The Republic and its Role in the Cyprus Emergency (2014-10-16)
O'Shea, Helen
ISBN : 9781780767529 | Publisher : I.B. Tauris | Published : London


‘Personally I Think it Would be Positively Hilarious’: The European Convention, the Cyprus Question and Frank Aiken’s State of Exception (2014-04-14)
O'Shea, Helen
In: Kelly, Stephen and Evans, Bryce eds. Frank Aiken: Nationalist and Internationalist (pp. 233-249)
ISBN : 978-0716532392 | Publisher : Irish Academic Press | Published : Kildare


"Cyprus on the Brain": Irish Identity, the Imperial Imagination and the Beginnings of British Cyprus. (2013)
O'Shea, Helen
In: Georgis, Giorgos and Kazamias, Georgios eds. Ireland-Cyprus: Parallel Journeys. Common Aspirations (pp. 212-245)
ISBN : 9789963691920 | Publisher : En tipis Publications | Published : Nicosia


Irish Law Graduates, the colonial legal service and the Cyprus Emergency, 1955-59 (2012-11-23)
O'Shea, Helen
In: Dickson, David; Pyz, Justyna and Shepard, Christopher eds. Irish Classrooms and the British Empire: Imperial Contexts in the Origins of Modern Education (pp. 223-230)
ISBN : 978-1846823497 | Publisher : Four Courts Press | Published : Dublin


Colonial Reparations, Collective Redress and the Colonial Legal Service in the Post-War British Empire (2016-11)
O'Shea, Helen
In : 3rd Academic International Conference on Interdisciplinary Legal Studies (1-3 Mar 2016, University of Oxford) (pp. 16-24)