Reader in Contemporary British History
Dr Hugh Pemberton is an expert on the history of of modern Britain, and particularly of British politics, from the Second World War to the very contemporary. Having spent a decade working as a business analyst in the financial services sector he took his PhD in 2001 (in the departments of Politics and History at the University of Bristol), returning to a teaching post at Bristol in 2004 after two years at the LSE as British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow and before that as ESRC Posdoctoral Fellow at Bristol.
His research focuses principally on economic and social policy (the latter in terms of British pensions); public administration and governance; party politics; and the politics of change. His work engages with and seeks empirically to test political science theories of historical institutionalism for he has a particular interest in the means by which radical policy change occurs (and why it sometimes doesn't), in why such change sometimes turns out to be temporary despite intentions to the contrary, and in why it is that changes that might seem apparently superficial sometimes turn out have enduring consequences.
A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Dr Pemberton is also a founder member of the Political Science Association's Politics and History specialist group and the GW4 Modern British Politics and Political History group, and is editor of the Pensions History blog.
He is currently pursuing three parallel research projects:
Office: G32 in 9 Woodland Rd [Map]
Consultation hours: see Consultation Hours booking form
Dr Pemberton welcomes proposals from prospective postgraduate students interested in researching contemporary British history, particularly but not exclusively in the fields of economic/social policy, the process of government, and party politics. Projects relating to the history of Penguin Books would also be welcomed (he was previously an investigator on the AHRC-funded Penguin Archive Project).
Examples of current and recently completed PhD and M.Phil projects supervised by Dr Pemberton include:
Offers the following units in the undergraduate BA in History:
Contributes to teaching contemporary British history on
Students may find useful Dr Pemberton's online guide to research resources for students studying contemporary British history.
Research interests (key words)
Modern and Contemporary British history; British political history; economic policy history; industrial policy and industrial strategy; UK pensions history; pensions policy; Labour party history; the post-war Conservative party; ideas and policy; history of government; history of public administration; governance; historical institutionalism; policy and history; history and politics.