Dr Mark Hurst

Lecturer in the History of New Social Movements / Alternative Cultures

Research Overview

Mark read Contemporary History at the University of Leicester before completing his doctoral research at the University of Kent. His research focuses on campaigns conducted by human rights organisations during the Cold War, and on activism more broadly in contemporary history. His recent monograph, British Human Rights Organisations and Soviet Dissent, 1965-1985 (Bloomsbury, 2016) is the first piece to critically assess the campaigns for Soviet dissidents from a number of human rights organisations, including Keston College, the Women's Campaign for Soviet Jewry, the Working Group on the Internment of Dissenters in Mental Hospitals, the Campaign Against Psychiatric Abuse, and Amnesty International. This monograph argues that although activists played an important role in broader awareness of Soviet human rights violations, it was not until conditions in international relations were right in the mid-1970s that they began to obtain recognition.

Mark's current research focuses on the history of Amnesty International, an organisation that has become synonymous with human rights concerns in the twentieth century. Despite this position, the influence of Amnesty International on the wider political process has been relatively understudied, something his research is aiming to address. He is particularly interested in how organisations such as Amnesty International functioned during the Cold War, when human rights issues were often at the forefront of international relations. Alongside this, Mark is interested more broadly in the history of human rights, dissent, and activism.

‘Slowing down the going-away process’ — Tom Stoppard and Soviet Dissent
Hurst, M. 13/06/2016 In: Contemporary British History. 30, 4, p. 484-504. 20 p.
Journal article

British Human Rights Organizations and Soviet Dissent, 1965-1985
Hurst, M. 5/05/2016 London : Bloomsbury. 272 p. ISBN: 9781472527288.
Book