Professor Peter Paul Catterall
Professor of History and Policy
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After a history degree at Cambridge (1984) I undertook my doctoral thesis on religion and politics in inter-war Britain at Queen Mary, completing in 1989. I then spent a year as a research fellow at the Institute of Contemporary British History, writing an award-winning bibliography of post-war Britain. From 1989 until 1999 I was Director of this Institute. In 1999-2000 I was on a Fulbright as visiting professor of British history at Westminster College, Fulton Missouri. On my return to the UK I taught history and politics at Queen Mary University of London until my appointment as Reader in History at Westminster in October 2012. I have been Professor of History and Policy at Westminster since November 2016. My interests are wide-ranging. I founded the journal National Identities in 1999, and my focus upon the history of the relationship between identities, ideas and political culture is reflected in my research, the PhDs I have supervised and my work with think tanks like the Hansard Society and the Centre for Opposition Studies. I also have an interest in public history, serving as a trustee for two heritage organisations and, since 2011, on the London Historic Environments Forum.
I have taught widely over my career in places as far-flung as America and Iraq. At Queen Mary one of my courses, 'Concepts of Europe' covered the sweep from Herodotus to the EU. When in the US I taught Western Civilization. My history teaching, however, has tended to focus upon Britain and its empire since the eighteenth century. This has included both survey courses and detailed studies on subjects such as the history of the East End, post-war popular culture or the life of Churchill. At masters level courses I have taught range from 'Democracy and Public Policy' for the Hansard Society, through 'Business in Europe' as a visiting lecturer at Cass Business School, to 'Comparative Welfare States' at Queen Mary. At Westminster I currently teach the outline courses 'Reaction and Reform' and 'New Liberals to New Labour' and am developing a new MA. I have supervised PhD students on various subject, including political cartoons in nineteenth century Britain, Britain and the US Civil War, post-war attitudes to finance and the history of natural childbirth. I am currently supervising or co-supervising five PhD students - working on British national identity 1780-1850, East European spy networks 1945-50, counter-terrorism and the Channel programme, Macmillan and Adenauer and the Opposition and Brexit. I would welcome PhD students looking at the relationship between culture and politics from the 18th century onwards.
My current research looks at the intersection between heritage, lieux de memoire and public memory.
In 2014-15 I was a consultant on the Centre for Opposition Studies project on political reform in Kuwait, funded by the Foreign Office.
From 2010-12 I held a British Council DelPHE-Iraq grant to promote inter-disciplinary work the field of conflict studies in the universities of Kurdistan. My most recent commissioned work was on Brexit for the Danish Society for Contemporary Historical Research. I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.