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University Professor to be interviewed on BBC radio

University Professor to be interviewed on BBC radio

The University of Auckland’s Associate Professor Simon Kitson will be interviewed on BBC radio for the 70thAnniversary of D-Day.

He has travelled to the UK to discuss his knowledge of D-Day as a studio guest on the programme Making History podcast on their website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qxrc/broadcasts/2014/01

This is just one event in a busy calendar for the professor from the School of European Languages and Literatures, which also includes publishing his fourth book of French history and speaking at a seminar of world French experts being held in Australia next month.

Associate Professor Kitson has already done several BBC interviews. He first got involved in Making History in 2010 when he interviewed a French pilot who served in the Royal Air Force.

He also featured in a 2009 episode of the BBC TV Primetime celebrity genealogy programme 'Who do you think you are?' which was devoted to retracing the family history of television presenter Davina MacCall, whose great grandfather was head of the French police.

Associate Professor Kitson first developed an interest in French history when he had to take class trips to France as a school boy in his native UK. He went on to study West European Studies including Occupied France at the University of Ulster at Coleraine in Northern Ireland.

“The idea of a foreign occupation of a country interested me because I could see armed British soldiers on the streets of Northern Ireland and I started to see parallels with France under occupation.”

He then continued a PHD study at the University of Sussex.

Now he’s published four volumes of French History, his latest Police and Politics in Marseille, 1936-1945 (Brill, Amsterdam, 2014) explores how ordinary Marseille police officers experienced the period ranging from the Popular Front to the Liberation of France after the Second World War.

Next month he will attend the 19th George Rudé Seminar in French History and Civilisation where he will present a paper France on Berlin Time, Comparing two occupations of France.

The 2014 Seminar is organised with the collaboration of three Melbourne universities: the University of Melbourne, Monash University, and Latrobe University, and hosted by the Alfred Deakin Research Institute at the Geelong Waterfront Campus between 10 and 12 July 2014.

Established in 1978 to honour George Rudé's contributions to the study of French history in Australasia, the George Rudé Seminar is a biennial conference that brings together specialists in French history and culture from Australia, New Zealand and around the world.


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