Simon successfully defended his PhD thesis in Religions and Theology at the University of Manchester in 2012. His AHRC funded PhD project, supervised by Professor Daniel Langton, examined the myths, stereotypes and caricatures of “the Jew” that were present in English Catholic discourses (in newspapers, periodicals, books, pamphlets, sermons and pastoral letters) at the end of the nineteenth century and during the early twentieth century (1896-1929).
Simon’s main research interests relate to the discourses of Anglo-Jews and English Catholics during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the history of antisemitism and anti-Judaism. He is also interested in how other communities have been vilified and diabolized in texts (e.g. myths and stereotypes about Freemasons, the Roma and Sinti, LGBT individuals, and Ahmadiyya Muslims). He is particularly concerned with how stereotypes, caricatures and myths about “the Jew” and “the Freemason” have been constructed and combined in various discourses (such as the stereotypes of “the secretive Jewish usurer” and “the Luciferian Freemason”; the blood libel and host desecration myths; and the myth of a diabolic Jewish-Masonic conspiracy). Simon has published articles, essays and reports in a number of periodicals including Melilah (the open access peer-reviewed journal of the Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Manchester), Kesher (the Tel-Aviv University peer-reviewed journal devoted to research into the history of the Jewish press), the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism, and the Wiener Library News (the official newsletter of the Wiener Library).
Simon recently completed a detailed examination of the stereotypes and caricatures in the literature and journalism of the English author G. K. Chesterton. The results of this study can be found in his book: Chesterton’s Jews. Simon is currently following reports about the on-going fact-finding investigation, initiated by the Bishop of Northampton, into the possibility of starting a cause for the canonisation of G. K. Chesterton (link for more on this). His main project at the moment is an examination of stereotypes of “the Jew” in English Catholic newspapers and periodicals (such as The Tablet, The Month and The Rambler) during the second half of the nineteenth century. This project is supported by a research grant from the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism. Simon is also currently examining theological discourses and controversies about hell and the afterlife in nineteenth century English Catholic periodicals, and doing biographical research into the author and newspaper editor Dudley Wright, an Ahmadiyya Muslim and Freemason in the 1910s and 1920s, who subsequently embraced Roman Catholicism in the 1930s, and then returned to Islam in the 1940s. Simon is a member of the British Association for Jewish Studies (BAJS) and the European Association for Jewish Studies (EAJS).
Simon is always on the look out for new and exciting projects. To contact Simon about the projects that he is currently working on, or to propose a new project that he might be interested in, please use the following link: Contact Simon Mayers.