Meet the Team: James Farley

Hi, my name is James Farley and I am the Project Manager and a Post-Doc Researcher for the Hamburg team’s part of the ERC project ‘Taming the European Leviathan.’ I received my PhD from the University of Kent in the UK, where I specialised in the history of propaganda, specifically as used within the People’s Republic of China. For my thesis I examined how the state used ‘Model Workers’ (劳动模范) for the purposes of propaganda and public relations campaigns. Propaganda was rigorously employed to promote the Party’s ideal of the Chinese citizen. As part of my research, I undertook detailed analysis of posters, film and translations of related propaganda material to explore the extent of the influence of the ‘Model Worker’ as a concept on both propaganda and national policy. 

I am particularly interested in the intersection between political policy and the way in which this is communicated to populations with the intention of not only attempting to ‘improve’ societies, but also to counter resistance by states or individuals to realise utopian visions. My current research is focused on propaganda related to the prevention of tuberculosis, the ‘social disease’ and the way in which the states of Europe managed and contended with issues of compliance, resistance, and personal liberty as they attempted to ensure the ‘common good’ of society.

For our team, I work as project manager and work closely with Norina and Max on administrative matters. Generally, I spend any free time with my family as we have all recently moved to Hamburg and have a lot of exploring (and language learning) to do! My wife and I enjoy watching football and are looking forward to some day going to the Volksparkstadion to see Hamburger SV play, although I’ll still be watching Chelsea on TV. 

I always find the desert island question difficult because I have many books that I still haven’t got around to reading and I would rather have something new than something I have already read. For this reason, perhaps the desert island would give me a reason to finally get around to reading ‘The Water Margin’ by Shi Nai’an.  I have tried many times before but being marooned might just give me the push I need!