Dr Nicola Whyte

Senior Lecturer


Extension: 01326 253799

Telephone: 01326 253799


My research lies the interface of early modern social history and post medieval landscape studies and is concerned with two broad, yet interconnected strands of enquiry. The first is concerned with the material and spatial ramifications of the social, economic and cultural developments of the period c.1500-c.1750. I’m interested in contemporary perceptions and experiences of landscape and environmental change, and have carried out extensive archival work on customary law, land use rights, conflict over the management of resources, the extent and nature of enclosure, and contested meanings of improvement.

The second strand of my research focuses on the relationship between landscape, place, memory and identity, and draws upon the expanding body of archaeological scholarship concerned with ‘the uses of the past in the past’ and the ‘life- histories’ of material objects including everyday artefacts, monuments, natural features and entire landscapes. I am particularly interested in the workings of oral memory and knowledge systems reproduced and circulated within households and wider neighbourhood, and mediated through the meanings and experiences embedded in the material world. Of central concern is the development of a cross-disciplinary engagement that brings the fields of landscape studies and early modern social history closer together. 

I teach modules on early modern social history and landscape history c.1500-1800.

I am currently Co-Investigator on a large collaborative project 'The Past in its Place' (see http://pastplace.exeter.ac.uk/) which aims to explore how a range of English and Welsh locales (including cathedrals, ancient habitations, and landscapes) have functioned as sites of memory from the middle ages to the present.

I am also Co-Investigator on Stories of Change: exploring energy and community in the past, present and future. This is a large-scale multidisciplinary research project working in collaboration with community arts organisations, artists and performers.

I am Co-Director of the Centre for Environmental Arts and Humanities. For further information including publications and events see http://www.exeter.ac.uk/esi/research/centreforenvironmentalartsandhumanities/