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Birkbeck antisemitism expert selected as 2019 ‘New Generation Thinker’

Dr Brendan McGeever has been chosen for the BBC/AHRC scheme, which will see him share his research on antisemitism and radical social movements through BBC Radio, TV and the 2019 Being Human Festival.

Dr Brendan McGeever from Birkbeck’s Department of Psychosocial Studies and the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism has been selected as one of ten 2019 New Generation Thinkers. The scheme is run by BBC Radio 3, BBC Arts and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and aims to find research ideas from across the arts and humanities which will capture the public imagination.

He will now have the opportunity to make programmes for Radio 3 and other outlets, as well as contributing to wider media through the AHRC and by taking part in the 2019 Being Human Festival. In addition, the scheme partners with BBC Four, where some of the selected academics will be given the opportunity to present a programme for TV.

The New Generation Thinkers were selected from hundreds of applications from researchers at the start of their careers. They all demonstrated a passion for communicating their work and a skill for making complex areas of study engaging, accessible, and enlightening.

Dr McGeever’s research focuses on the history and contemporary significance of antisemitism. In particular, he is interested in the relationship between antisemitism and other forms of racism.

In his recent work, he has explored how radical social movements have confronted racism and antisemitism. His forthcoming book, Revolution and Antisemitism, takes up this theme by examining the Bolshevik response to antisemitism during the Russian Revolution of 1917. In addition, he is working on the question of antisemitism and the left in the contemporary political context.

He said: “I’m so pleased to have been given this opportunity. In academia — as in pretty much all other lines of work — you get accustomed to the feeling of rejection. So when I saw the word ‘Congratulations’ in the email subject line, I was delighted to find I was included in the group of ten selected academics. I’m really looking forward to learning from producers, broadcasters and the other nine researchers over the coming year. It’s a real opportunity to be given the chance to learn how to communicate research to a wider public. 

“We are living through a real moment of crisis, and I feel a sense of responsibility as an academic to engage in the world; first and foremost, in the classroom here at Birkbeck, which we do every day, but also in the public domain too. This scheme gives us a rare opportunity to learn how to communicate our research to that wider audience, and I can’t wait to get started.”

Alongside Birkbeck, the final ten Thinkers for 2019 hail from Cardiff University, University College London, the Universities of Cambridge, Reading, Huddersfield, St Andrews, and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

Professor Andrew Thompson, Executive Chair of the AHRC, says: “The New Generation Thinkers scheme is all about helping the next generation of researchers to find new and wider audiences for their research by giving them a platform to share their ideas and allowing them to have the space to challenge our thinking.

“The New Generation Thinkers scheme is also one of the major ways the AHRC engages the public with the inspiring research taking place across the UK. More than ever we need the new insights and knowledge that come from arts and humanities researchers to help us navigate through the complexities of our globalised world and address the moral and ethical challenges of today and tomorrow.”

Further Information

Dr McGeever currently teaches on the following modules:

Undergraduate level

  • Power
  • Racism and Antisemitism

Postgraduate level

  • Masterclass in Social Research
  • Independent Research Methods

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