Mark Hurst is an Associate Lecturer in the School of History, University of Kent. His research considers the British response to the Soviet dissident movement in the Cold War, demonstrating the centrality of human rights organisations to the recognition of the dissidents in the West. He is particularly interested in the shifting role of human rights in the Cold War, and how activists, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), and other public figures responded to reports of human rights violations in an ideologically tense period.
His monograph British Human Rights Organisations and Soviet Dissent, 1965-1985 argues that NGOs and individual activists played an essential role in broader British response to reports of Soviet human rights violations. This was a particularly important role in the wake of the human rights revolution of the 1970s, and one that was directly linked to Cold War tensions.
He is currently conducting research into the activism of the playwright Tom Stoppard, who was particularly active in support of dissidents in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in the 1980s.
British Human Rights Organisations and Soviet Dissent, 1965-1985 (Bloomsbury, forthcoming)