Dr Thomas Ellis’ research interests centre on American perceptions of Russia, technological utopianism and how 20th century Americans have envisaged the future. In 2018 he received a PhD in History from the University of Southampton where his thesis examined American perceptions of the Soviet space programme, focusing particularly on the implications of a communist presence in outer space during the less-studied period after America’s triumphant 1969 Apollo 11 lunar landing.
His doctoral research was funded by the AHRC South West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership and facilitated through a 6-month fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. He is currently adapting his thesis into a monograph exploring how Americans have contended with Soviet/Russian space activity between Yuri Gagarin’s 1961 flight and the privatisation of the Russian aerospace industry in the early 1990s. His first journal article, for the Journal of American Studies, examines the political symbolism of Detente-era US-Soviet space cooperation.
He obtained a BA in History and Politics from the University of York in 2010, an MPhil in historical studies from the University of Cambridge in 2012 and his PhD from the University of Southampton in 2018. He has a strong interest in public history having previously worked as a researcher for the popular History-themed children’s sketch show “Horrible Histories”.
Awards and Scholarships
• PhD fully funded by the AHRC’s South West & Wales Doctoral Training Partnership
• 6 month AHRC International Placement Scheme Fellowship at the Space History Department of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC (October 2015-March 2016)
• Royal Historical Society Conference Travel Grant (2018)
• Gerald R. Ford Foundation Researcher Travel Grant (2015)
• University of Cambridge Sara Norton Fund Research Grant (2012)