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Catriona Pennell

Associate Professor of History, University of Exeter

I am a historian of 19th and 20th century British and Irish history with a particular focus on the social and cultural history of the First World War and British imperial activity in the Middle East since the 1880s. I am intrigued by the experiences of ordinary people and communities in global war, as well as the on-going (and often bloody) relationship between current conflict and imperial pasts, particularly in Ireland, Lebanon, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

I am particularly interested in the relationship between war, experience, and memory. Two recent research projects, funded by the British Academy (BA) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), both examined these issues from the perspectives of two Irish divisions on the Somme in 1916 and 1918 (BA) as well as the ways the First World War is taught in secondary schools in England via the subjects of History and English Literature (AHRC). I am currently the Lead Academic on a collaborative project with the Institute of Education, investigating pupil responses to the UK government-funded FWW Battlefield Centenary Tours Programme. I am a member of Exeter's Centre for the Study of War, State and Society, the Centre for Environmental Arts and Humanities and the Centre for Imperial and Global History.


  • 2018–present
    Associate Professor of History, University of Exeter
  • 2013–2018
    Senior Lecturer in History, University of Exeter
  • 2009–2013
    Lecturer in History, University of Exeter


  • 2008 
    Trinity College Dublin, PhD in Modern British and Irish History
  • 2003 
    London School of Economics and Political Science, MSc in International Relations