Dr Catriona Pennell

Senior Lecturer


Extension: 01326 253758

Telephone: 01326 253758

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 and recollections 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. In 2017, I was awarded an AHRC Research Networking Grant which I am leading on the theme of 'Teaching and Learning War: Education and Modern Conflict in an International Comparative Perspective' with my Co-I, Dr Mark Sheehan (Victoria, University of Wellington, New Zealand). In addition I am Co-I on the AHRC-funded 'Reflections on the Centenary: Learning and Legacies for the Future' which is investigating the impact of events marking the centenary of the First World War across UK communities and internationally, led by Dr Lucy Noakes (Essex). 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. 

My research interests currently feed into teaching at all levels on the Penryn Campus. I am module convenor for the second year module British Imperialism in the Middle East, 1882-1956; and the third year module The First World War: Interrogating the Myths.