Simon Kitson

King Edward's School, Bath, GB, 1974-1985. (7 O' levels and 3 A' levels) Undergraduate study: University of Ulster at Coleraine, UK, 1985-1989- B.A. 1st Class Honours in West European Studies (history and languages of Europe) Post-graduate: University of Sussex, GB, 1991-1997- D.Phil in History (Subject: 'The Marseille Police in their Context from Popular Front to Liberation'- Supervisor: Roderick KEDWARD (Sussex). Examiners: Mark MAZOWER (Sussex, now Columbia University, New York) & Clive EMSLEY (Open University)


Previous appointments

Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Historical Research, London, GB, 2011-2012.

Director of Research, University of London Institute in Paris, France, 2008-2011.

Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer, University of Birmingham, GB, 1997-2008.

Summer School Tutor (War, Peace and Social Change), Open University, GB, 1996 & 1997.

Lecteur, Université Paris XII, France, 1995-1997.

English language teacher, Quebec, Canada, 1989-1990.

English language teacher, Marseille, France, 1987-1988.

Research | Current

My current research is focused on producing three books related to France during the Second World War. These involve offering a general overview of the period (Experiencing Nazi Occupation- writing near completion), examining the Vichy Police system (Police and Politics in Marseille- completed) and examining the Allied bombing of Occupied France (Death and Liberation- research almost completed).

Death and Liberation, Allied Airforces and Occupied France (Chicago, University of Chicago UP, expected publication 2015).

Experiencing Nazi Occupation, (Manchester, Manchester University Press, manuscript near completion, expected publication 2013).

Police and Politics in Marseille, 1936-1945, (manuscript completed to be published   by Brill Publishers, Netherlands, in 2013).

Teaching | Current

EUROPEAN 212 The History and Culture of War and Violence

EUROPEAN 312 The History and Culture of War and Violence

FRENCH 102 Introductory French Language 2

FRENCH 203 Intermediate French Language 1

FRENCH 305 Advanced French Language 2

Postgraduate supervision

Co-supervisor of PhD thesis in progress

Dr Kitson is currently acting as an external advisor on the PHD thesis of James Herbst at Yale University, USA, which concerns the preparation of the Riom trials in 1941 and 1942.

Main supervisor of completed PHDs

Dr Kitson has supervised PHDs on the Wehrmacht in Occupied France (Eric Place) and the everyday experience of teenage girls under Vichy (Victoria Harrison).

Main supervisor of completed Masters Dissertations

Dr Kitson has supervised Masters dissertations on anti-Semitism in France in the 19th century (Lauren Dolman), the commemoration of the Liberation of Paris (Megan Brown) and the history of Paris St Germain football team (Simon Handy).


Research grants and awards

British Academy, 3 year post-graduate studentship, 1991-1994.

The Society for the Study of French History (GB), Bursary to help with research, 1995.

Soutien à la recherche prize awarded to my completed thesis from the Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Sécurité Intérieure, 1995.

AHRB- £8225 from the Arts & Humanities Research Board (GB) to undertake study leave, February-June 2001.

British Academy- £5210 Small Research Grant to research in Paris during the summer of 2006.

British Academy- £500 Conference Grant to participate at a conference in Houston, Texas, 2007.

Humboldt Fellowship, Germany- £30000 Research Leave for the Academic Year, 2007-8.

Fellowships and membership of professional bodies

Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt foundation, 2007-2008.

Visiting Research Fellow, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany, 2007-8.

Visiting Research Fellow (Chercheur Associé), Institut d’Histoire du Temps Présent, Paris, 2000-2001.

Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, 2005-Present.

British Correspondent of Vingtième Siècle, 1996- Present.

Editorial Board of the Journal of War and Culture Studies, 2006-Present.

Editorial Board of the St Andrews studies in French history and culture, 2009-Present.

Co-Editor of H-France history list-server, 2005-2006.

Member of the book review advisory panel of the H-France history list-server, 2006-Present.

Associate member of the European Centre for Police Studies in Milton Keynes, UK, 1997-Present.

British Correspondent, Varian Fry Foundation, 1997-1999.

Areas of expertise

I am a specialist on French history on which I have published widely. I have a special interest in France during the Second World War, the history of policing and espionage. I am happy to supervise research students on these areas as well as more broadly on 19th and 20th century French history.


Committees/Professional groups/Services

Recent conferences and invited papers

‘The Other Side of D-Day’, Institute of Historical Research Annual Fellows’ Lecture, IHR, London, GB, 7 June 2012.

‘The Nazi Occupation of France as transnational history’, IHR, London, 27 February 2012.

‘No dog or cat is left....only the submarine pens remain’: French opinion and reaction to the Allied destruction of Lorient, 1943’, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, USA, 12 November 2011.

‘Resistance and the Parisians, 1940-44’, Conference Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of de Gaulle’s speech calling for Resistance, London, 17 June 2010.

‘Everyday Life and Allied Bombing in France: A Shared Experience?’, University of Reno, Nevada, USA, 15 April 2010.

‘Ambivalent Allies? French Public Opinion and the Allied Bombing of France, 1940- 44', Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, 18 February 2010.

‘Criminals or Liberators? Public Opinion and the Allied bombing of France’ Exeter University, September 2009.

'Forgotten Victims? Memory and the Allied Bombing of France', University of Bristol, 23 March 2009.

'Death and liberation: Allied bombing of occupied France' St Hugh's College, Oxford, 16 February 2009.

‘Allied Bombing of Occupied France’, University of St Andrews: French History Centre Special Guest, 5 November 2008.

‘Friend or Foe? The Allied Bombing of neutral France’, University of Freiburg, Germany, July 2008.

‘Falling leaves: Royal Air Force Propaganda from the Skies’, Society of French Historical Studies, Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA, March 2008.

‘Death and Liberation: the Allied bombing of France’, History Department, University of Exeter, May 2007.

‘Death from the skies: the Allied bombing of Occupied France’, Society of French Historical Studies, University of Houston, Texas, USA, March 2007.

‘The sovereignty of collaborators’, Anti-German counter-espionage in Vichy France, University of Aberystwyth, 9 November 2006.

‘Creating a nation of Resisters, 1944-46’, History department, University of Galway, Ireland, 27 March 2006.

‘Arresting German spies in Vichy France: juggling sovereignty and collaboration’, University of Edinburgh, 15 February 2006.

‘Arresting Nazi spies in Vichy France: the paradoxes of government policy’, University of Sheffield, History department, December 2005.

‘Juggling sovereignty and collaboration: arresting German spies in Vichy France’, University of Wales, Swansea, research seminar Languages Department, 6 October 2005.

‘Reconstructing French identity, 1944-1946’, University of Portsmouth, 25 June 2005.

‘The French Police and the arrest of German Spies’, Faculty of History, University of Oxford, 25 January 2005.

‘Sovereignty despite collaboration? The arrest of German spies by the Vichy authorities’, Society of French Historical Studies, Bibliothèque Nationale de France,  Paris, France, June, 2004.

‘Arresting German spies in Vichy France: juggling sovereignty and collaboration’,  University of Birmingham, research seminar History Department, October 2003.

‘Vichy et la chasse aux espions nazis’, Institut d'Histoire du Temps Présent, Paris, France, June 2001.

‘Vichy counter-espionage against the Axis, 1940-42’, Maison Française, Oxford, June ?2001.

‘The Policeman as worker: the case of Marseille, 1918-1940’, European Social ?Science and History Conference, Amsterdam, Netherlands, April 15, 2000.

‘The Nazi Terror: the role of the Gestapo in Nazi Germany’, European Social Science ?and History Conference, Amsterdam, Netherlands, April 14, 2000.

‘The Policing of France during World War Two’, European Social Science and ?History Conference, Amsterdam, Netherlands, April 13, 2000.

‘Police and Public in France, 1944-1995’, History department, the Open University, ?Milton Keynes, 15 October 1999.

‘German troops, French Police and the deportations from Marseille in January 1943’, ?History department research seminar, University of Wales, Swansea, 3 March 1999.

‘Representations of the Police in Simenon's Maigret novels’, French department, ?University of Birmingham, 16 January 1999.

‘La police marseillaise à la fin des années trente’, Institut d'Histoire du Temps Présent, Paris, France, 1 December 1998.

‘German troops, French Police and the deportations from Marseille in January 1943’, History department research seminar, University of Birmingham, 7 October 1998.

‘Arresting Nazi spies in Vichy France, 1940-1942’, Society for French Historical Studies, Annual Conference, Ottawa, Canada, 27 March 1998.

‘The Police and the Clichy massacre, March 1937’, colloquium European Policing, organised by the Open University, Milton Keynes, 3 October 1997.

‘Policiers en Résistance à Marseille’, colloquium La Résistance et les Européens du sud, organised by the Institut d'Histoire du Temps Présent, Aix-en-Provence, France, March 1997.

‘The Marseille police at the Liberation’, colloquium After the war is over, organised by University of Sussex, Brighton, July 1996.

‘The police and the public in France’, conference organised by the Association for the study of Modern and Contemporary France, The Public in France, Newcastle, July 1995.

‘La police marseillaise sous le Front Populaire’ at the Institut d'Histoire du Temps Présent, Police & Justice Seminar, Paris, France, March 1995.

‘La police et la Libération de Marseille’ in the colloquium La Libération du midi, une révolution? organised by the Université de Provence & the Institut d'Histoire du Temps Présent, Aix-en-Provence, France, November 1994.

‘The Police in the Liberation of Paris’, in the colloquium The Liberation. Image and Event organised by University of Sussex, Brighton, April 1994.

Conference panels chaired

‘Collective and Individual Identities under the Occupation’, Society of French Historical Studies, Washington University St Louis Missouri, USA, April 2009.

‘Confronting the occupation: An international perspective’, Society for the Study of French History, University of Aberystwyth, 4 July 2008.

‘Sport and national identity’, Society of French Historical Studies, Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA, March 2008.

‘New perspectives on war-time France’, Society of French Historical Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign, USA, 21 April 2006.

‘Dilemmas of Diplomacy in the Public Sphere’, Society for the Study of French History, Southampton University, 4 July 2005.

‘The French economy and Empire in the Twentieth Century’, Society of French Historical Studies, Stanford University, California, USA, March 2005.

Conferences organised

Organisation of a day conference, ‘The French Detective in fact and fiction‘, University of Birmingham, 16 January 1999.

Member of the Organising Committee of a conference entitled 'Vichy et après: l'écriture occupée’ held in Paris in May 2012 with colleagues from the University of Paris, Durham, Leeds and Cardiff.

Seminar series organized

International Post-Graduate Seminar, ULIP, Paris, 2008-2011.

Co-organiser of the Institute of Historical Research Modern French History Seminar, 2011-12.


Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Kitson, S. (2014). Police and Politics in Marseille, 1936-1945. Netherlands: Brill. Pages: 326.
  • Kitson, S. (2011). Criminals or Liberators? French public opinion and the Allied bombing of France, 1940-1945. In C. Baldoli, A. Knapp, R. Overy (Eds.) Bombing, States and Peoples in Western Europe 1940-1945, (pp. 279-297). London and New York: Continuum.
  • Kitson, S. (2009). The Marseille Police and the German Forced Labour Draft (1943-1944). French History, 23 (2), 241-260. 10.1093/fh/crp006
  • Kitson, S. (2008). Creating a ‘nation of Resisters’? Improving French self-image, 1944-1946. In M. Riera, G. Schaffer (Eds.) The Lasting War: Society and Identity in Britain, France and Germany after 1945. New York, USA: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Kitson, S. (2007). Police and politics in Marseille, 1936-8. European History Quarterly, 37 (1), 81-108. 10.1177/0265691407071803
  • Jackson, P., & Kitson, S. (2007). The paradoxes of Vichy foreign policy, 1940-1943. In J. R. Adelman (Ed.) Hitler and his allies in World War II. London, UK: Routledge. Related URL.
  • Kitson, S. (2007). The hunt for Nazi spies: Fighting espionage in Vichy France. Chicago, USA: University of Chicago Press. Pages: 218.
  • Kitson, S. (2006). Spying for Germany in Vichy France. History Today, 56 (1), 38-45. Related URL.

Contact details

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Correct location:

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Auckland 1010
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Office hours

Semester Two 2013: Monday 2-4pm

Primary office location

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