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Kenefick, Billy


  • 14 Citations
  • 2 h-Index
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Personal profile


My interest in history began when I worked off-shore in the North Sea oil industry during the late 1970s and the 1980s. I wanted to know more about the history of work and workers' responses to the changing nature of industry over time.

I started my degree at the University of Strathclyde in 1987 and from the start I was encouraged to become involved in historical debate and discussion and four years later emerged with a First Class Degree in Economic and Social History. I went onto do postgraduate and while completing this secured a position as lecturer in modern Scottish and British history at the University of Dundee in 1994, and attainted my PhD the following year specialising in maritime labour and social history: a historian of labour who worked on the rigs!

I am now a Senior Lecturer in Modern History and have published widely on Scottish maritime and labour history, the impact of the Great War and the Russian Revolution on the Scottish working class, and Irish and Jewish relations in Scotland from c1870 to present and recent publications include:

  •  Red Scotland! The Rise and Fall of the Radical Left c.1872-1932 (EUP, 2007)
  • “Confronting White Labourism: Socialism, Syndicalism and the role of the Scottish radical left in South Africa before 1914”, International Review of Social History, LV, No 1 (2010)
  • “Labour Politics and the Dundee Working Class, c1895-1936” (co-authored) in James Tomlinson and Christopher A. Whatley (eds) Jute no More. Transforming Dundee (DUP, 2011)
  • ‘An Effervescence of Youth! Female Textile-Workers’ Strike Activity in Dundee 1911 to 1912’, Historical Studies in Industrial Relation (HSIR), 33, 2012, pp. 189-221.
  • ‘The Jews and Irish in Modern Scotland: Anti-Semitism, Sectarianism and Social Mobility’, Immigrants and Minorities. Special Issue: Migrants in Modern Scotland, 31, 2, 2013, pp.189-213.  


I have published widely and maintain a keen research interest in British maritime labour history c.1853-1932; the role of the Irish in emergent national dock unionism in Scotland; the relationship between the Irish and Jewish immigrant communities in Glasgow from the late nineteenth century; and examine the rise of the Independent Labour Party and the growth of the Scottish trade union movement before, during and after the Great War, with a particular focus on labour politics in Dundee between c.1890 and 1936. More recently I have investigated and published on the role of radical Scots in the South African trade union and labour movement before 1914, the activities of female textile workers in Dundee during the ‘Great’ Labour Unrest c.1911-1912, and the impact of the Great War and the Russian Revolution.

The Great War and Russian Revolution has been a major research interest for some time and now and is expanding further – both in terms of teaching and research - in association with the Great War Dundee (GWD) Commemorative Project (also Centenary Partners with Imperial War Museum First World War Centenary Programme).  The GWD group aims to co-ordinate a city-wide approach to the centenary commemoration (2014-2019) of the First World War in Dundee, bringing the community together with the city’s museums, archives, libraries, schools and societies and various programmes from the University of Dundee  through a plan of activities that encourage the broadest possible public participation and collective reminiscence.  This is a unique association and from a history perspective we hope to encourage many of our students here at the University of Dundee to become involved in individual or group research projects, community engagement and if possible work placements with our GWD centenary partners.

I have a keen interests in migration and social history studies which has resulted in two recent successful PhD thesis: 'The English in Scotland, 1945 -2000' - which was published by Edinburgh University Press as Being English in Scotland, (2003) by Murray Watson - and 'Emigration from Scotland to Queensland, 1885 to 1888'. More recently I supervised two PhD theses on 'Scottish Culture and the First World War' and 'The Political History of Women in Scotland c.1918 to the 1960s', and one MLitt thesis 'An Analysis of Scotland's Education Democracy in Higher Education, 1850 to 2000'. I am currently supervising two PhDs on ‘Industrial and political radicalism in Perthshire, c.1870-1929’ and ‘Jewish Identity and Attitudes toward Militarism in Scotland c.1899-1939’, along with one MPhil (by distance learning) on Scottish family history, and one Taught MLitt on ‘The Scottish War Memorial, Buenos Aires: A Re-Affirmation of Scottish Identity in the Argentine Republic?’ I also acted as PhD external examiner for the University of Aberdeen and the University of Strathclyde.  


I am coordinator, lecture and tutor on the Level 1 History module ‘Age of Revolution, 1750 to 1850' (previously our semester one  ‘Core’ history module), and from 2013 will lecture and tutor on the new Level 2 Core History Module ‘The Great War and History: Debates and Perspectives’. I coordinate a Level 4 module ‘Discontent, War and the Impact of Revolution: Scotlandc.1900 to 1922’. This is the one-semester version of a Level 4 Two-Paper (Two Semester) Special Subject ‘Red Scotland/Radical Scotland’ which examines industrial and political radicalism since the 1870s; the 'New Unionism' c.1889-1897; the rise of the Independent Labour Party (ILP) and the growth of Scottish Trade unionism from c.1900 the cases and impact of the ‘Great’ Labour Unrest, 1910-1914; the impact of the Great War and the Russian Revolution on Scottish society; through to Labour’s political breakthrough in 1922 and the decline of Scottish radical left by the early 1930s. 

I also co-coordinate a Level 3 Honours module 'The Scottish Soldier: Image and Reality, c.1870 to 1922’ with my colleague Dr Derek Patrick. This module will be replaced in 2014-2015 by a new Level 3 module ‘Britain and War: The South African War and the First World War’. The following year a new Level 4 Two-Paper Special Subject module ‘Dundee: A City at War’ examines the impact of the Great War from a micro-history perspective. These modules represent an ongoing research interest and will develop alongside the Great War Dundee Commemorative Project (see under Research).   

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  • 1 Similar Profiles
antisemitism Social Sciences
Social Mobility Social Sciences
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Dundee Arts & Humanities
twentieth century Social Sciences
Scotland Arts & Humanities
World War I Arts & Humanities
ghetto Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2014 2015

Research Output 1996 2019

44 Downloads (Pure)

Great War Dundee: Featuring Ragtime Soldier

Murray, C. (ed.), Vaughan, P. (ed.), Kenefick, B., Austin, H. J., Laird, C., Welsh, G., Mills, P., Morozova, A., Kennedy, I., Keepers, E., Balson, E., Donald, I., Sinclair, F. & Patrick, D., Sep 2019, 1 ed. Dundee. 32 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Open Access
World War I

Scottish war resisters and conscientious objectors, 1914-1919

Kenefick, W., 5 Dec 2018, The Palgrave Handbook of Artistic and Cultural Responses to War since 1914: The British Isles, the United States and Australasia. Springer International Publishing, p. 291-307 17 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Labour Party

BBC World War One at Home

Kenefick, W. & Patrick, D., 2016

Research output: Non-textual formWeb publication/site

Poetry, Protest and "Pukka": World War One at Home in Scotland

Kenefick, W., Patrick, D. & McCleery, A., 23 Oct 2014

Research output: Non-textual formWeb publication/site

World War I
2 Citations (Scopus)
Social Mobility
twentieth century

Activities 2006 2016

Wounded Nation - The Legacy of the Great War

Billy Kenefick (Contributor)
1 Apr 2016

Activity: Other activity typesPublic engagement and outreach - media article or participation

The Fallen Fourth - The Black and the Battle of Loos September 1914

Billy Kenefick (Contributor)
3 Nov 2015

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

Remembering Loos Commemorative Event

Billy Kenefick (Contributor)
25 Sep 201526 Sep 2015

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOther event

Looking Forward - The Great War Dundee Commemorative Project

Billy Kenefick (Contributor)
26 Oct 2015

Activity: Other activity typesOther

International workshop on the history and memory of the Gallipoli campaign

Billy Kenefick (Participant)
6 Jun 2015

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course


Change and Transition in a Professional Scots Family 1650-1900

Author: Cook, D. H., 2013

Supervisor: Kenefick, W. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Philosophy


'Fall in the Children' : a regional study of the mobilisation of the children of the 42nd Regimental Area during the Great War

Author: Brown, N. F., 2015

Supervisor: Kenefick, W. (Supervisor) & Patrick, D. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Jewish Identity and Attitudes toward Militarism in Scotland c.1898 to the 1920s

Author: Hansen, K., 2015

Supervisor: Kenefick, W. (Supervisor) & Morton, G. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


‘There is only one P in Perth - And, it stands for Pullars!': the Labour, Trade-Union, and Co-operative Movements in Perth, c. 1867 to c. 1922

Author: Philippou, P. S., 2015

Supervisor: Kenefick, W. (Supervisor) & Whatley, C. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy