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Chalmers W. Poston Distinguished Professor of European History
507 Pauli Murray Hall
Curriculum Vitae


BA Columbia University, 1976
MA University of Pennsylvania, 1977
PhD University of Cambridge, 1984

Research Interests

Susan Dabney Pennybacker’s research centers upon the political culture of modern Britain and the former British Empire. Her book-in-progress, entitled Fire By Night, Cloud by Day: refuge and exile in postwar London (Cambridge), concerns the movement of individuals between South Africa, Trinidad, India, and metropolitan London between 1945 and 1994. It is based in both archival and ethnographic research conducted in London, New Delhi, Port of Spain, Cape Town, and Johannesburg. She has a keen interest in visual media sources, especially in documentary photography and film. Pennybacker is a founding member and co-convener of the Triangle Global British History Seminar and the Transnational and Global Modern History seminar; she is a member of the convening board of the Triangle Intellectual History Seminar. Pennybacker serves as an associate editor of the Journal of British Studies; a member of the editorial board of the series, Critical Connected Histories (Leiden University Press); and, an advisory board member of the American Friends of the Institute for Historical Research (University of London).

Some Notable Publications

  • "Fire By Night, Cloud By Day: refuge and exile in postwar London," Presidential address, North American Conference on British Studies, Journal of British Studies, Vol. 50, 1, January 2020.
  • “A Cold War Geography: South African Anti-Apartheid Refuge and Exile in London, 1945-1994, in, Nathan Riley Carpenter and Benjamin N. Lawrence, eds., Africans in Exile: mobility, law and identity (Indiana University Press, 2018), 185-99.
  • “Anti-apartheid testimony: unmaking the histories of South African Jewish communists” in Carol S. Gould, Simone Gigliotti and Jacob Golomb, eds., Ethics, Art, and Representations of the Holocaust: Essays in Honor of Berel Lang (Lexington Books, Rowman and Littlefield, 2013)
  • From Scottsboro to Munich: Race and Political Culture in 1930s Britain (Princeton University Press, 2009)
  • A Vision for London, 1889–1914: Labour, Everyday Life and the London County Council Experiment (Routledge, 1995, paperback edition, 2013)

Graduate Students

  • This faculty member is not accepting applicants for the 2024-2025 application cycle
  • Katie Laird
  • Morgan Wilson (Co-Advised with Morgan Pitelka)

Courses Taught (as schedule allows)

For current information about course offerings, click here.

  • HIST 164—The History of Britain in the 19th Century
  • HIST 165—The History of Britain in the 20th Century
  • HIST 398—Modern London: The Imperial Metropolis
  • HIST 490 (Honors)—Topics in British Imperial History, 1715–Present
  • HIST 722—Contemporary Global History
  • HIST 771—Topics in Modern European History
  • HIST 775—Studies in Modern English History