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dr. Jane Tynan

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Humanities, Art and Culture, History, Antiquity

Assistant Professor, CLUE+

Personal information

Jane Tynan is a cultural historian who holds degrees from Ulster University and University College Dublin. Her PhD, from University of the Arts London, explored the significance of military uniform to the cultural legacy of the First World War. She joined Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in 2020 from Central Saint Martins in London where she taught history and theory of design and developed the MA Fashion Critical Studies. Now at VU she leads the MA Design Cultures program and teaches on BA MKDA Design track. She has been visiting lecturer at Goldsmiths University of London, Royal College of Art London, University College Dublin and University of Oxford. Jane has supervised several PhDs to completion and welcomes new students working within her areas of expertise. 


My research lies at the intersection of history, fashion and politics. For me, clothing practices and technologies are critical to the formation of individual and collective identities. I am interested in the body (and its histories) as a way of understanding the limits of power, citizenship, governance and public trust. In the past ten years my research revolved around the political significance of uniform clothing, an embedded social practice critical to the development of policing, military and public service roles in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I have also researched the distinctive material cultures of political conflict and imprisonment. In my latest book Trench Coat (Object Lessons series) a modern industrialised product became the catalyst for my exploration of various struggles and preoccupations concerning time, trust, survival, security, gender, conflict, and technology. This inspired my new project on the twentieth century origins and development of clothing technologies devised to protect bodies against risk. I am interested in the cultural imaginaries of (dis)comfort and (in)security that enabled technology transfer from military to civilian settings and continue to direct energy and material flows in the fashion/apparel industry. This research highlights the complex relationship between politics, materials, fashion and bodies.

My research has reached wider audiences through blogs (The Conversation, RTÉ Brainstorm), TV and radio interviews (BBC UK, ABC Australia) podcast interviews (New Books Podcast), articles (Selvedge Magazine, BBC History Magazine) and media communications (The Independent, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, BBC Mundo, CNN, Middle East Eye). I have served as peer reviewer for various publishers and journals, including Critical Military Studies, Cultural History, Journal of Material Culture, Fashion Theory, Textile, International Journal of Fashion Studies and Technology & Culture. In addition, I co-edit the book series Palgrave Studies in Fashion and the Body and sit on the editorial board of the Journal of Design History.

Ancillary activities
  • Palgrave Studies in Fashion and the Body | London | co-editor | 2020-09-16 - present
  • Journal of Design History | London | Editorial Board Member | 2021-01-28 - present

Ancillary activities are updated daily

dr. Jane Tynan


  • Design History, Trust, Solidarity, Design Cultures, Social Movements, Gender, Po...