Dr Imogen Peck

Dr Imogen Peck

Department of History
Assistant Professor in British History

Contact details

Address
Department of History
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

I am a historian of memory and communities, with research expertise in local and family history, the social history of archives, and the mental afterlife of conflict. I am especially interested in the ways memory and the representation of the past shapes individual and collective identities, with a particular emphasis on the experiences of non-elite men and women. My first book, Recollection in the Republics: Memories of the British Civil Wars in England, 1649-1659, was published by Oxford University Press in 2021. Other recent publications include articles on the family archives and intergenerational memory in eighteenth century England (Cultural and Social History), early modern almanacs (Historical Research), and several book chapters on memory and post-war reconciliation. My current project, ‘Family Archives and their Afterlives’, explores the construction and curation of family archives from the late sixteenth to the early nineteenth century. My research has been supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Leverhulme Trust. I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and Higher Education Academy.  

I welcome research students interested in any of my research areas, including: memory and the commemoration of conflict; family and local memory; family history; the social history of archives; the social and cultural history of the Midlands, especially during the early modern period. 

Qualifications

  • PhD History (University of Bristol, 2018)
  • MPhil History (University of Bristol, 2015)
  • MSc Political Theory (University of Oxford, 2012)
  • BA History and Politics (University of Oxford, 2011)

Biography

I studied for a BA in History and Politics and an MSc in Political Theory at the University of Oxford. After a brief stint working in various charity and media roles, I returned to academia to study an MPhil and then a PhD at the University of Bristol. On finishing my PhD in 2018 I was appointed as a Teaching Fellow at the University of Warwick. In 2019 I was awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship which I held first at the University of Warwick and later at Coventry University. I joined the University of Birmingham in autumn 2022.

Teaching

I teach across the degree programme here at Birmingham. This year, I am teaching the modules:

  • Practising History
  • Who Do You Think You Are? Families, Histories, and Family History

I also co-ordinate and contribute to teaching on the MA West Midlands History.

Postgraduate supervision

I am happy to supervise doctoral researchers on topics relating to my research specialisms, just get in touch. I would be particularly keen to hear from students who are interested in working on: memory and the commemoration of conflict; family and local memory; family history; the social history of archives; the social and cultural history of the Midlands, especially during the early modern period.


Find out more - our PhD History  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.

Research

My first book, Recollection in the Republics: Memories of the British Civil Wars in England, 1649-1659 (OUP, 2021), provides the first comprehensive study of the ways Britain's Civil Wars were remembered in the decade between the regicide and the restoration. Drawing on a wide-ranging and innovative source base, from memoirs and monuments to objects and ephemera, it places the national authorities' attempts to shape the meaning of the recent past alongside evidence of what the English people - lords and labourers, men and women, veterans and civilians - actually were remembering. It demonstrates that memories of the domestic conflicts were central to the politics and society of England's republican interval, inflecting national and local discourses, complicating and transforming inter-personal relationships, and infusing and forging individual and collective identities. In so doing, it enhances our understanding of the nature of early modern memory and the experience of post-civil war states more broadly. Further, by situating 1650s England in relation to other post-conflict societies, both within and beyond early modernity, it points to a consistency in some of the challenges that have confronted post-civil war states across time and space.

I have also published several articles and book chapters on memory, reconciliation, and the commemoration of conflict, including articles in Historical Research and Northern History (see my publications list below).

In 2019, I was awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship for my work on intergenerational family collections. This has developed into my current research project, Family Archives and their Afterlives, which explores the construction and curation of family archives in England from the late sixteenth to the early nineteenth centuryDrawing on a wide range of collections accumulated by families from across the social scale and across the country, this project explores which items were kept, why, and the multifarious meanings that these materials possessed for their compilers, heirs, and wider social and familial networks. My first article based on this project, ‘Manuscripts, Memory, and the Family Archive in Eighteenth Century England’, is forthcoming with Cultural and Social History. I am also working on an edition for the Camden Record Series - Family, Memory, and Nonconformity: The Writings of George Wansey, 1713-1762 - which explores the writings and intergenerational archive of an eighteenth-century clothier.

You can find out more about my current research project, including recordings of workshops, CFPs, and other resources at www.family-archives.co.uk.

Publications

Recent publications

Book

Peck, I 2021, Recollection in the Republics: Memories of the British Civil Wars in England, 1649-1659. SIPRI/Oxford University Press, United Kingdom.

Article

Peck, I 2022, '“Of no sort of use"? Manuscripts, memory, and the family archive in eighteenth century England', Cultural and Social History. https://doi.org/10.1080/14780038.2022.2144093

Peck, I 2019, '‘A chronology of some memorable accidents': The Representation of the Recent Past in English Almanacs, 1648-1660', Historical Research, vol. 92, no. 255, pp. 97-117. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2281.12256

Peck, I 2016, 'The Great Unknown: The Negotiation and Narration of Death by English Civil War Widows, 1647-1660', Northern History, vol. 53, no. 2, pp. 220-235. https://doi.org/10.1080/0078172X.2016.1195598

Peck, I 2013, 'Collaborators not Cavaliers: Popular Politics in the Northern Counties of England, 1647-59', Northern History, vol. 50, pp. 39-52. https://doi.org/10.1179/0078172X13Z.00000000028

Chapter

Peck, I 2022, Reconciliation and Oblivion in the English Republics. in R Kerr, H Redwood & J Gow (eds), Reconciliation After War. 1 edn, Routledge, United States.

Peck, I 2021, Civilian Memories of the British Civil Wars, 1642-1660. in Remembering the English Civil Wars. pp. (In-Press).

Peck, I 2019, Remembering – and Forgetting – Regicide: The Commemoration of the 30 January, 1649-1660. in E Paranque (ed.), Remembering Queens and Kings in Early Modern England and France: Reputation, Reinterpretation, Reincarnation. Palgrave Macmillan, United Kingdom, pp. 133-153. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-22344-1_8

View all publications in research portal

Expertise

British Civil Wars, memory and commemoration (especially of war and conflict), history of the Midlands, family and local history

Media experience

I have written articles for various media outlets and blogs, including commentary on Boris Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament, ghosts and hauntings, and historical commemorations.