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Paul Dave

01642 384042
Job title:
School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law
Social Sciences, Humanities & Law research

About Paul Dave

Paul completed his BA (Hons) English Literature and Language at the University of Oxford in 1983. He took his masters in Film Studies at the University of East Anglia, and his PhD thesis at the University of East London. His thesis was on representations of class in post-war English film and featured work on historical materialist interpretations of cultural Englishness across a range of forms including mainstream film, independent and experimental moving image culture, contemporary British literature and fine art. He has published work in a range of journals including New Left Review, Radical Philosophy, Film International, The Journal of Contemporary British Cinema and Television and Soundings. His monograph, Visions of England: Class and Culture in Contemporary Cinema (2006) has been excerpted in key collections of writings on British cinema and recommended as essential reading on courses on British film. He has contributed to a range of significant edited collections, including British Cinema; Past and Present (2000); British Social Realism in the Arts Since 1940 (2011), and British Cinema: Critical Concepts in Media and Cultural Studies (2013).

Research interests

Paul’s research is centred on cultures of class and nationality. His work has explored historical materialist approaches to British and English cultures of class in filmic, literary and historiographical forms. Currently he is completing a monograph on romanticism and post-war British culture which seeks to bring together these interests in literature, history and film. The book seeks to provide a historical materialist framework with which to explore the changing and opposed forms of romanticism from the early 1940s to the present, mobilizing a typology of romantic cultural politics in order to compare the work of a number of writers and directors, adaptations and film franchises, alongside the pioneering social history of the British Marxist Historians (The Communist Party Historians Group). Starting with the present moment, it looks at the film adaptations of the fantasy novels of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Phillip Pullman. It then reaches back to the World War II propaganda films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and the post-war work of Humphrey Jennings, including, the posthumously published history of the Industrial Revolution, Pandaemonium: The Coming of the Machine.  Finally, it considers the recent feature films of Patrick Keiller which have referenced the work of both Powell and Pressburger and Jennings. These various cultural texts are simultaneously placed within the historiographic contexts established by the CPHG, with particular attention paid to the use of figures and narrative structures drawn from romantic literature and romantic historiography.

Paul is interested in supervising doctoral candidates in any of these areas: British film history and critical debates; class representations and ideologies in cinema, film and television; British early cinema and its relationship to working class cultures, and British social realism and documentary traditions.  He is Director of Studies on two doctoral projects being offered in the Institute of Design, Culture and the Arts and would like to encourage applications from prospective students. These are indicative topics, for further information, or to discuss these opportunities, please contact Paul directly.


Dave P (forthcoming) ‘Film Policy and England: The Politics of Creativity’ in Molloy, C and Tzioumakis, Y, (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Film and Politics, Routledge.

Dave, P (forthcoming) ‘Critical Approaches to British Cinema’ in Hill, J (ed.),  A Companion to British and Irish Cinema, Blackwell.

Dave P. (2013 a) ‘Choosing Death: The Coming of Age Film in Contemporary British Cinema’ in The Journal of British Cinema and Television, 10:4.

Dave P (2013 b) ‘Romanticism and the Problem of Capitalism in Post-War British Film’:

Dave, P (2013) The Underclass: Fantasy and Realism in Murphy R (ed), British Cinema, Palgrave.

Dave, P. (2011 a) ‘Tragedy, Ethics, and History in Contemporary British Social Realist Film in David Tucker (ed.), British Social Realism in the Arts Since 1940, Palgrave.

Dave, P. (2011 b) ‘Robinson in Ruins: New Materialism and the Archaeological Imagination’, in Radical Philosophy, 169, October

Dave, P. (2006) Visions of England: Class and Culture in Contemporary Cinema, Berg.

Dave, P (2004) ‘Apocalypse, Millennium, Jubilee: Images of Class and Capitalism in Contemporary English Cinema’, in Film International, Vol 2 Issue, 10.

Dave P (2003) ‘Peter Linebaugh’s The London Hanged ‘, in Soundings, Issue 25, Winter.

Dave P (2002) Preface to Steve Beard, Aftershocks: The End of Style Culture, Wallflower Press.

Dave, P. (2000) ‘Representations of Class, Capitalism and History in the work of Patrick Keiller’ in Justine Ashby and Andrew Higson (eds.), British Cinema: Past and Present, Routledge, 2000, pp.339-351.

Dave, P (1997) ‘Heritage Cinema and the Bourgeois Paradigm’, in New Left Review, 224, July/August, 1997, pp.111-126.