BA (Hons) in History and Sociology, Glasgow Caledonian University, 1998. Masters by Research in History, Victoria University of Wellington, 2010. PhD in History, University of Edinburgh, 2014.
Broadly, my main research interests lie in US and UK foreign policy in the post-1945 period, with a particular focus on nuclear weapons and secret intelligence. In a recent article, I argued that – contrary to what we might believe to be the case – US nuclear non-proliferation policy in the 1970s and early 1980s was seldom influenced by fear of the so-called ‘Islamic bomb’. This was the idea that if one Muslim nation (for example, Pakistan) developed nuclear weapons, they would automatically share it with other Muslim nations because of the bonds of faith. Through my research, I’ve managed to demonstrate that such notions were set aside by US presidents and senior foreign policy makers.
This kind of stuff has a direct impact on the world around us. The idea of the ‘Islamic bomb’ still infects media reporting on the nuclear activities of Iran and Pakistan. Yet, it’s always been something of a myth. So why does it persist? That’s what my current research focuses on, looking at how the ‘Islamic bomb’ idea (or meme, if you prefer) evolved during the 1980s, the 1990s, and into the 2000s.
I've also researched and published on issues of official secrecy and the media. In particular, I examined the efforts of the Thatcher government to suppress or censor BBC programming about the secret intelligence services in the early 1980s.