I specialise in the study of modern war and conflict, the history of medicine, and the spaces in which those worlds overlap.
I am a Research Fellow at Oxford’s new Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities, a senior associate at Pembroke College and a research associate at the Centre for the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology. I am also a member of Council of the British School at Athens, a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a research associate at the Imperial War Museum. Away from academia, I have worked extensively in post-conflict countries as an official observer of international elections for the European Union and OSCE, and in Afghanistan with the British Army.
My current research looks at international responses to outbreaks of epidemic disease in Italy in 1943-44, Germany in 1945, Palestine in 1948 and Korea in 1951, with a particular focus on vector control and the movement and management of human populations. With support from Oxford’s Fell Fund, I am also researching international practices of cultural heritage protection in Greece and the eastern Mediterranean during and immediately after the Second World War. My books include studies of the wartime work of Britain’s Special Operations Executive in the Balkans and Italy, and I am currently preparing for publication a further monograph examining SOE’s efforts to address the psychological pressures to which its personnel were exposed across the globe.
Target: Italy: The Secret War Against Mussolini 1940-1943 (Faber & Faber 2014)
Target: Italy is an in-depth study of the covert war waged on Benito Mussolini's Fascist Italy by Britain's Special Operations Executive. An official commission in the UK Government’s official history series, it is the first full account of SOE's clandestine efforts to strike at Italy and sever its alliance with Nazi Germany. It illuminates episodes as varied as plots to assassinate Mussolini, plans to arm the Mafia, and the delicate negotiations that led to Italy's surrender in 1943, and draws particular attention to the difficulties and dangers of fomenting resistance to well-entrenched authoritarian regimes.
Special Operations: A Hidden Chapter in the Histories of Facial Surgery and Human Enhancement
During the Second World War, Britain’s Special Operations Executive, a secret service established to encourage resistance and carry out sabotage, employed various techniques of enhancing the ability of its personnel to operate undetected in enemy territory. One of these methods was surgery. Drawing on recently declassified records, this article illuminates SOE’s reasons for commissioning this procedure, the needs and wants of those who received it, and the surgeons employed to carry it out. It also aims to underline the role of context in shaping perceptions of facial surgery, and the potential for surgery for wartime disguise to resonate with current debates about human enhancement.
Written Evidence to the UK Government Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy (‘UK Biological Security Strategy’)
Narrowed Minds and Destroyed Communities: Anglo-American Perceptions of Jewish Heritage in Thessaloniki, 1943–46
Migrants: Art, Artists, Materials and Ideas Crossing Borders
War and conflict can endanger humanity and its heritage in a multitude of different ways. This paper examines the fate of the property and past of one persecuted community, the Jewish population of the Greek city of Thessaloniki, during the Second World War, and the heritage threatened and lost through its forced movement and murder. The vulnerability and destruction of that community has increasingly attracted the attention of modern scholars, but this paper adopts a new lens. Illustrating implications of considering cultural heritage as something to be measured and ranked, as well as how perceptions of value depend on the observer, it shows how the city’s rich Jewish culture fell outside official Anglo- American assessments of which forms of heritage in wartime Greece should be prioritised for preservation.
Toward Control? The Prospects and Challenges of Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine Introduction.
Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America
With a newly World Health Organization (WHO)-prequalified typhoid conjugate vaccine (TCV), Gavi funding for eligible countries, and a WHO policy recommendation for TCV use, now is the time for countries to introduce TCVs as part of an integrated typhoid control program, particularly in light of the increasing burden of antimicrobial resistance. Continued vaccine development efforts will lead to secure supply of low-cost vaccines, and ongoing vaccine studies will provide critical vaccine performance data and inform optimal deployment strategies, in both routine use and in outbreak settings. TCV programs should include thoughtful communication planning and community engagement to counter vaccine hesitancy.
vaccine acceptance, typhoid conjugate vaccine, typhoid control, public awareness, water and sanitation
Review of J Peakman, Hitler's Island War: The Men Who Fought For Leros