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Mr Leonard Baker

Doctor of Philosophy Student, Member Student

Leonard Baker

Mr Leonard Baker

Doctor of Philosophy Student, Member Student

Member of

Postgraduate research supervised by

Research interests

Thesis Title: 'Popular Protest in the English South West: Political Landscapes, Elite Interaction and Everyday Disorder, c. 1783-1867'

My current research seeks to investigate the protest movements of Somerset and Dorset through the study of the use of space and the landscape. Whilst engaging with the recent ‘spatial turn’ it also examines how the landscape intersected with custom, tradition and folklore in nineteenth-century protest. Developing from this my research also demonstrates how the practice of protest in this region was critically shaped by local cultural and customary tradition. It will argue that such elements did not curtail the ability for the rural population to engage with national political and economic changes and developments. It will thus study how the practice of protest in Somerset and Dorset developed due to socio-economic changes and how national issues and politics were refracted through local issues and spaces. In doing so, my work will attempt to contextualise major protests, such as the Captain Swing Riots or the Tolpuddle Martyrs, which have often been treated solely within a vacuum. Overall, my work examines how rural protest was shaped by the local environment and how it, in turn, changed the landscape.

I am currently funded by a University of Bristol Graduate School of Arts and Humanities Scholarship. 

Conference Papers

‘Defending and Reconstructing Environments: The Power of Trespass in Nineteenth Century Somerset and Dorset’, Paper to be Presented at ‘Environmental History Workshop 2018: Intersections’, Institute of Historical Research, London, September 2018

‘“West Country Scum”: Nineteenth Century National Politics, Local Ritual and Space in the English South West’, Paper to be presented at ‘Regionalism Across the World in the Long Nineteenth Century’, University of Southampton, September 2018.

'A "Castle of Corruption": Sites of Political Knowledge in Nineteenth Century Rural England and the Role of Space, Place and Ritual', Paper presented at 'Ways of Knowing in (and about) Modern Britain', Centre for Modern British Studies PGR/ECR Conference, University of Birmingham, July 2018.

'Constructing and Contesting Environments: The Power of Trespass in Nineteenth Century Somerset and Dorset', Paper presetned at Landscape By Design, Figures in the Landscape Postgraduate Symposium, University of Cardiff, June 2018

‘An Ecology from Below? Protest, Memory and Landscape in Nineteenth Century Dorset’, Paper presented at ‘Rethinking History from Below, Origins, Trajectories, Prospects’ Workshop, University of Bristol, June 2017.

‘“The Handley Torches Have Not Forgot”: Protest, Memory and Landscape Change in a North Dorset Village, 1818-1832’, Paper presented at the Royal Historical Society Symposium 2017 – ‘Putting History in its Place: Historic Landscapes and Environments’, University of Chester, April 2017.

‘Landscape Change, Vernacular Ecology and the Politics of Rural Space in Nineteenth-Century Somerset and Dorset’, Paper presented at the Economic History Society Residential Training Course, University of Manchester, November 2016.

‘Popular Protest in the English South West: Political Landscapes, Elite Interaction and Everyday Disorder, c. 1783-1867’, Paper presented at the Institute of Historical Research’s British History in the Long 18th Century Seminar “Lightning Talks” Session, November 2015.

Conference and Academic Event Organisation

Conference Convenor: ‘Entertainment, Politics and Culture: Perspective on a Historical Relationship’, History Lab Annual Conference, Institute of Historical Research, London. (February 2018 – June 2018)

Postgraduate Strand Conference Convenor: ‘Rethinking History from Below: Origins, Trajectories, Prospects’, University of Bristol. (April 2017 – June 2017)

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Postal address:
United Kingdom