Image credits

Dr Alisa Miller

My research focuses on the comparative development of war cultures in Europe and the United States in the twentieth century. I am interested in how the violence associated with modern war is represented – through poetry, literature, photography, illustration and film – and with the ways in which various audiences access and interpret it.

I have published on the First World War poets Rupert Brooke and Alan Seeger, considering how media networks contribute to political discourses, as well as on the development of a canon of war literature. I am currently working on a book on popular patriotic poetry and literary celebrity, investigating how and why the idealised image of the poet-soldier took such a hold on the public imagination during the war, and what this means for how readers understand the conflict today.

I am increasingly interesting in how image and language interact to form immediate and, in some instances, persistent frameworks and / or collective narratives in to which war and its associated violence can be fitted. I am currently collaborating with Suzie Hanna (Professor of Animation Education) and colleagues at the University of Oxford and Sandhurst on a film – ‘Tripwire’ – articulating the links between war trauma (now known as ‘Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder’ (PTSD)), poetry and memory.

I am also interested in how commerce and advertising influence perceptions of war, and recently completed a chapter (based on a paper presented at the Institut Français de la Mode in December 2014) on the work of Gladys Peto, who contributed illustrations for a weekly column for ‘lonely soldiers’ to The Sketch from 1915 to 1919. I have also begun work on a project the uses social network theory to explore the complex relationships that formed between war poets and artists during the First World War.

I am involved in a number of projects that look to engage new audiences with the history of the war and the media. I am a contributor to the 1914-1918 Online: International Encyclopedia of the First World War project, and while finishing my DPhil at Oxford I worked as a researcher and cataloguer for the First World War Poetry and Great War Archive, and in 2009 co-organised the International Society for First World War Studies’ conference ‘Other Combatants, Other Fronts’ at the Imperial War Museum, serving as co-editor for the eponymous publication. In 2014 I also began working with colleagues at the English Association, publishing short articles on film adaptations of First World War literature and the poet and artist Isaac Rosenberg in their journal for teachers: The Use of English, and with King’s College, Cambridge to develop new ways for A-level and GSCE students to engage with their archives. In 2015 I co-chaired ‘Avant-gardes and war’ (with Professor Lynda Morris and Dr Krzysztof Fijalkowski) at the Association of Art Historians Annual Conference at the University of East Anglia.

Research Outputs

In preparation

  • 2016: ‘Modern War and Aesthetic Mobilisation: Looking at Europe in 1914’, British Journal of Military History Special Edition
  • 2017: ‘Gladys Peto and The Sketch: War, consumer culture and the changing image of the modern woman, 1914-1919’
  • 2018: Rupert Brooke in the First World War (Liverpool University Press / Clemson University Press)

In press

  • 2015: ‘Towards a popular canon: Education, young readers and authorial identity in Great Britain between the wars’ in Shafquat Towheed and E.G.C. King (eds), Reading and the First World War (London: Palgrave)
  • 2015: ‘Bertrand Russell’ in: 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War, Ute Daniel, Peter Gatrell, Oliver Janz, Heather Jones, Jennifer Keene, Alan Kramer, and Bill Nasson (eds.). Issued by Freie Universität Berlin; published 15 June 2015: http://dx.doi.org/10.15463/ie1418.10662.
  • 2014: ‘Recasting the First World War: Film adaptations, modern literature and teaching in the UK’, The Use of English 65.2 (Spring 2014), pp. 47-54.
  • 2014: ‘The Early War Poets’. Podcast for “British” World War One Poetry: An Introduction’, University of Oxford, 3rd to 5th April 2014; published 14 September 2014: podcasts.ox.ac.uk/series/british-world-war-one-poetry-introduction
  • 2011: (with Laura Rowe and James Kitchen (eds.)), Other combatants, other fronts: Competing histories of the First World War (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars).
  • 2010: ‘Rupert Brooke and commercial patriotism in Great Britain, 1914 – 1918’, Twentieth Century British History 21(2) 2010: pp. 141-162.
  • 2010: ‘“An American Soldier-Poet”: Alan Seeger and war culture in the United States, 1914-1918’, First World War Studies 1(1) 2010: pp. 14-32.
  • 2008: ‘Selling patriotism: Rupert Brooke in the First World War’. Podcast for First World War Poetry and Great War Digital Archive.

Reviews and Conferences

  • I also regularly review books for publications including the Times Literary Supplement, Reviews in History, First World War Studies, the Review of English Studies, the British Journal of Military History and the Use of English.
  • I have presented research at a variety of conferences and seminars including: ‘Book History and Bibliography Research Group Seminar, Institute of Historical Research / Open University; Centre for First World War Studies, University of Birmingham; International Society for First World War Studies, Imperial War Museum; Institute of Contemporary History, New University of Lisbon; Modern History Research Seminar Series, Bangor University; Military History Seminar, All Souls College, Oxford; The Experience of War in the Space Between, United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland.

Other Activities

  • 2015-18: Member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Peer Review College
  • 2014 – present: Member, Association of Art Historians
  • 2008 – present: Member, International Society for First World War Studies: www.firstworldwarstudies.org.

– Dr Alisa Miller