Dr Wendy Ugolini (BA (Hons), MA Cantab, PhD, FRHistS)

Senior Lecturer; History

Background

Dr Wendy Ugolini is a social and cultural historian of the Second World War, specialising in ethnicities, race and identity formation. After reading history at Newnham College, Cambridge, Dr Ugolini worked at the BBC and in the voluntary sector for a number of years before returning to higher education. After gaining a doctorate at the University of Edinburgh, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for the Study of the Two World Wars. Dr Ugolini's Ph.D. was awarded the Ratcliff Prize and her first monograph, Experiencing War as the 'Enemy Other', was awarded the Royal Historical Society's Gladstone Prize. In 2016, Dr Ugolini was promoted to Senior Lecturer. Her next book, Wales in England 1914-1945. A Social, Cultural, and Military History will be published with Oxford University Press in May 2024. Dr Ugolini has also been awarded a major AHRC Research Grant, as Principal Investigator, for the three-year project, ‘Beyond Borders: The Second World War, National Identities and Empire in the UK’. The project, undertaken with Co-Investigators, Professor Martin Johnes of Swansea University and Nadine Wright of the Imperial War Museum, started in January 2024.

Dr Ugolini co-runs the Second World War Network (Scotland) funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh:

https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/swwnetworkscotland/

Dr Ugolini would be delighted to hear from students interested in undertaking PhD research in the social, cultural and military history of Second World War Britain; migrant identities in Britain during the two world wars; gender identities in Britain during the two world wars and the cultural memory of the Second World War.

Responsibilities & affiliations

Member of Military Education Committee (Edinburgh Universities)

Member of Scottish Armed Forces Evidence & Research (SAFE&R) Hub.

Member of Editorial Board, Contemporary British History.

External Reviewer, MLitt Humanities Programme, University of Dundee (2020)

External Examiner, Liverpool John Moores University (2014 - 2018 )

Advisory Board, ‘Mixing It’ AHRC project in collaboration with Imperial War Museum North (2015 - 2016)

Validation Panel, MA Globalisation/MA War: History & Politics, University of Brighton (2014)

Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

Executive committee member of the UK Oral History Society (2010-2014)

Executive committee member of the Social History Society (2010-2013).

Undergraduate teaching

  • Britons at War: the construction of identities in the two world wars (4MA)
  • War and Memory in the Twentieth Century
  • Britain, Ireland and Empire

Postgraduate teaching

  • MSc War and Identities in Twentieth Century Britain and Ireland
  • MSc Introduction to Contemporary History (contributor)
  • MSc Historical Research: Skills and Sources (Oral History) 

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?

Yes

Areas of interest for supervision

I would be delighted to hear from students interested in undertaking PhD research in the social and cultural history of Second World War Britain; migrant identities in Britain during the two world wars; gender identities in Britain during the two world wars.

Current PhD students supervised

Westbury, Isobel - PhD - Imperial Flights & Encounters: recovering the experiences of People of Colour in Scottish wartime aviation 1914-45 - Joint (CDP with Dr Meredith Greiling, National Museums Scotland)

Newton, Avril - PhD - Patriotism and Paternalism: the importance of culture in the banking and insurance industries during the First World War  - Joint

Chatzitheodorou, Christina - PhD - The roles of women partisans in the Second World War in Greece, Italy, and France (1940-1945) - Secondary (with colleagues at the University of Glasgow).

Past PhD students supervised

Bright, James - PhD - Loyalty in Captivity: Ideas and Identity Among Ulster Loyalist Paramilitary Prisoners, 1972-1988 - Secondary

Doughty, Roseanna - PhD - British Media Representations of the (P)IRA and its impact on the Irish Community, 1969-1997 - Joint - link

Klinger, Anita - PhD - Negotiating Violence. Defining the Legitimacy of Political Violence in Interwar Britain and Germany (c.1918-1938) - Secondary - link

McCullough, Aimee - PhD - Working-class Fatherhood and Masculinity in west-central Scotland, c.1970-1995 - Secondary  

Research summary

Places: 

  • Britain & Ireland
  • Europe
  • Scotland

Themes: 

  • Second World War Studies
  • Culture
  • Society

Periods: 

  • Twentieth Century & After

Research interests

My research interests focus on the relationship between war and identities in twentieth century Britain and, in particular, ethnicities within the British Armed Forces during the Second World War. My book, Experiencing War as the ‘Enemy Other’: Italian Scottish Experience in World War II, reflects my ongoing interest in migrant identities during the Second World War, in particular notions of duality, belonging and Britishness.

My current research looks at social, cultural, military and political expressions of Welshness in England during the two world wars. My monograph, Wales in England 1914-1945. A Social, Cultural, and Military History  will be published by Oxford University Press in 2024. As part of this interest in the interconnections between English and Welsh identities, I have published an article on the twentieth century novelist, Richard Llewellyn and his connections with the BBC and the Welsh Guards during the Second World War. For a related blog, see:

https://socialhistory.org.uk/shs_exchange/welshness-and-britishness-the-case-of-richard-llewellyn/

My latest article, “The Band of Brothers”: The Mobilization of English Welsh Dual Identities in Second World War Britain, has been published in the Journal of British Studies as FirstView:

https://www.doi.org/10.1017/jbr.2021.64

You can watch a short video about my research interests here: Media Hopper

Current research activities

Overall, I am interested in the functioning of dual identities in wartime, especially within the British Army, and how they inform notions of pluralistic Britishness during the Second World War.

In August 2023 I was awarded, as Principal Investigator, an Arts and Humanities Research Council Research Grant for the three-year project, ‘Beyond Borders: The Second World War, National Identities and Empire in the UK’ with Professor Martin Johnes of Swansea University and Nadine Wright of the Imperial War Museum as Co-Investigators. 

During the war, millions of UK adult citizens were on the move, crossing both its internal and external borders and mixing across local, national and racial boundaries. This movement included ethnically diverse and Black British military service personnel, transatlantic cable workers, land girls, conscientious objectors, medics, directed war-workers and civil servants. Our project seeks to recover how people conceptualised their national identity in wartime, whether as imperial, multinational or singular and the extent to which this shifted as people moved across the Empire at war. It examines military and civilian migration within the UK, then moves in concentric circles outwards to address imperial encounters, amongst service personnel and civilian workforces, in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. It then traces the post-war migratory movement of colonial and Commonwealth veterans into the UK. The project will not just interrogate how these encounters were experienced but also how they were remembered and commemorated. For more detailed information, see: https://gtr.ukri.org/projects?ref=AH%2FY002636%2F1

I am also the co-founder of the RSE-funded Second World War Studies Network (Scotland) which formally launched in April 2021 (see Research Projects below). In 2019, with Professor Toby Kelly, I organised the workshop, ‘New Directions in Second World War Studies’, the first in a rolling programme of events which intends to explore, scrutinise and analyse the ways in which we discuss and commemorate the lived experience of the Second World War. From 2021, we hosted a series of online panels, Second World War Conversations, addressing a wide range of themes and geographic areas: East Asia, the Mediterranean Theatre, the Global Serviceman and the Visual Arts in Britain. We also hosted two Expert Round Tables, one on New Texts/New Themes and the other on the British Empire and the Second World War.

We aim to bring together researchers in the field to discuss their work and to flag up themes which will be of importance during the 80th anniversary commemorations of the conflict (2019-2025). In June 2022, we hosted our first PGR virtual coffee morning to bring together early career researchers.

https://www.ed.ac.uk/history-classics-archaeology/history/news-events/events/new-directions-in-second-world-war-studies

With Juliette Pattinson (Kent), I co-edited Fighting for Britain? Negotiating Identities in Britain during the Second World War which has been published by Peter Lang as part of their British Identities Since 1707 series.

My wider interest in war and society is reflected in my recent co-editing of two special issues of the Journal of War & Culture Studies. With Corinna Peniston-Bird (Lancaster) I co-edited a special issue on 'Silenced Mourning' (2015). With Juliette Pattinson (Kent) and Lucy Noakes (Brighton) I co-edited a special issue on 'Incarceration in the Second World War' (2014).

Affiliated research centres

  • Centre for the Study of Modern and Contemporary History, Edinburgh Centre for Global History

Project activity

In August 2023, I was awarded a major AHRC Research Grant, as Principal Investigator, for the three-year project, ‘Beyond Borders: The Second World War, National Identities and Empire in the UK’. The project, to be undertaken with Co-Investigators, Professor Martin Johnes of Swansea University and Nadine Wright of the Imperial War Museum, started in January 2024. More detailed information can be found here: https://gtr.ukri.org/projects?ref=AH%2FY002636%2F1

In partnership with Professor Tobias Kelly, of Social and Political Science, I was awarded an Arts & Humanities Research Network Award by the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) to run a Second World War Studies Network (Scotland). The Network - which launched in April 2021 - facilitates the discussion and exchange of ideas on the theme of the Second World War, at a local, national and global level. It has established a platform from which higher education institutions, museums and cultural institutions in Scotland and the rest of the UK can identify and develop potential new partnerships addressing the Second World War. It fosters a community of academics with research interests in the Second World War, incorporating both those who are well-established in the field as well as Early Career Researchers and PGR students. For more information go to:

https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/swwnetworkscotland/

As part of the award, we working in partnership with National Museums Scotland and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

https://www.ed.ac.uk/history-classics-archaeology/research/research-groups/second-world-war-network

The Network published a Second World War Edinburgh walking tour available to download here:

http://curiousedinburgh.org/second-world-war-edinburgh/

In an earlier RSE-funded partnership with National Museums Scotland (NMS), we undertook a joint project on Scottish diasporic military identities from 1880 to the present day, working with colleagues in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

http://www.nms.ac.uk/collections-research/our-research/highlights-of-previous-projects/wha-bears-a-blade-for-scotland/

This collaboration culminated with the publication of an edited collection, A Global Force: War, Identities and Scotland's Diaspora (EUP, 2016), which forms part of the National Museum of Scotland's First World War Centenary Programme:

http://www.nms.ac.uk/connections/our-national-work/first-world-war-centenary/

The list below is a subset of the information held on the University of Edinburgh PURE system, and includes Books, Chapters, Articles and Conference contributions. For a full list, including details of other publication types (e.g. reviews), please see the Edinburgh Research Explorer page for Dr Wendy Ugolini.

Books - Authored

Ugolini, W. and Pattinson, J. (2015) Fighting for Britain?: Negotiating Identities in Britain During the Second World War. New York: Peter LangDOI: https://doi.org/10.3726/978-3-0353-0704-7

Ugolini, W. (2011) Experiencing War as the 'enemy other': Italian Scottish Experience in World War II. Manchester University Press

Books - Edited

Forsyth, D. and Ugolini, W. (eds.) (2016) A Global Force: War, Identities and Scotland's Diaspora. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press

Articles

Ugolini, W. (2021) “The Band of Brothers”: The mobilization of English Welsh dual identities in Second World War Britain. Journal of British Studies, 60(4)DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/jbr.2021.64

Ugolini, W. (2019) The ‘Welsh’ Pimpernel: Richard Llewellyn and the search for authenticity in Second World War Britain. Cultural and Social History, 16(2), pp. 185-203DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14780038.2019.1585315

Ugolini, W. (2015) Untold stories of loss: Mourning the ‘enemy’ in Second World War Britain. Journal of War and Culture Studies, 8(1), pp. 86-102DOI: https://doi.org/10.1179/1752628014Y.0000000019

Ugolini, W. (2014) Italian Scottish women on the Home Front in World War Two. History Scotland Magazine, Expert History Forum

Pattinson, J., Noakes, L. and Ugolini, W. (2014) Incarcerated masculinities: Male POWs and the Second World War. Journal of War and Culture Studies, 7(3), pp. 179-190DOI: https://doi.org/10.1179/1752627214Z.00000000042

Ugolini, W. (2013) 'The Sins of the Fathers': The Contested Recruitment of Second-Generation Italians in the British Forces 1936-43. Twentieth Century British History, 24(3), pp. 376-397DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/tcbh/hws026

Ugolini, W. (2013) ‘Spaghetti Lengths in a Bowl’? Recovering Narratives of Not ‘Belonging’ Amongst the Italian Scots. Immigrants and Minorities, 31(2), pp. 214-234DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02619288.2013.781749

Ugolini, W. (2012) The embodiment of British Italian war memory? The curious marginalization of Dennis Donnini, VC. Patterns of Prejudice, 46(3-4), pp. 397-415DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0031322X.2012.701814

Ugolini, W. (2008) “The space in between”: Exploring the challenges of working with archives and personal testimonies. Scottish Archives, 14, pp. 1-9

Ugolini, W. (2006) Memory, war and the Italians in Edinburgh: The role of communal myth. National Identities, 8(4), pp. 421-436DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14608940601053600

Ugolini, W. (2004) The internal enemy 'other': Recovering the World War Two narratives of Italian Scottish women. Journal of Scottish Historical Studies, 24(2), pp. 137-158DOI: https://doi.org/10.3366/jshs.2004.24.2.137

Ugolini, W. (1998) Reinforcing otherness? Edinburgh’s Italian community and the impact of the Second World War. Family & Community History, 1(1), pp. 57–69DOI: https://doi.org/10.1179/fch.1998.1.1.005

Chapters

Ugolini, W. and Forsyth, D. (2016) Introduction: A Global Force: War, Identities and Scotland’s Diaspora. In: A Global Force: War, Identities and Scotland's Diaspora. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 1-9

Forsyth, D. and Ugolini, W. (2016) Introduction: A Global Force: War, Identities and Scotland’s Diaspora. In: Forsyth, D. and Ugolini, W. (eds.) A Global Force: War, Identities and Scotland's Diaspora. Edinburgh University Press

Ugolini, W. and Pattinson, J. (2015) Negotiating Identities in multinational Britain during the Second World War. In: Ugolini, W. and Pattinson, J. (eds.) Fighting for Britain?: Negotiating Identities in Britain during the Second World War. Oxford: Peter Lang, pp. 1-24

Ugolini, W. (2013) Ethnological Fieldwork. In: Mackay, M. and Fenton, A. (eds.) Scottish Life and Society: Compendium of Scottish Ethnology 1: An Introduction to Scottish Ethnology. Edinburgh: John Donald, pp. 71-92

Ugolini, W. (2013) "When are you going back?": Memory, ethnicity and the British home front. In: Noakes, L. and Pattinson, J. (eds.) British Cultural Memory and the Second World War. London: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Ugolini, W. (2012) Scottish Commonwealth Regiments. In: Spiers, E., Crang, J. and Strickland, M. (eds.) A Military History of Scotland. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press

Ugolini, W. (2008) Victims or Enemies? Italians and refugee Jews and the re-working of internment narratives in post-war Britain. In: Riera, M. and Schaffer, G. (eds.) The Lasting War: Society and Identity in Britain, France and Germany after 1945. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 207-225

Ugolini, W. (2005) The Italian community in Scotland. In: Beech, J., Hand, O., Mulhern, M. and Weston, J. (eds.) Scottish Life and Society: A Compendium of Scottish Life: The Individual and Community Life. Edinburgh: John Donald, pp. 535-54

Ugolini, W. (2004) Communal myth and silenced memories: The unremembered experience of Italians in Scotland during the Second World War. In: Kidd, W. and Murdoch, B. (eds.) Memory and Memorials: The Commemorative Century. Ashgate Publishing, pp. 151-166