Penny Summerfield

Penny Summerfield


Personal profile


I took up the post of Professor of Modern History at University of Manchester in September 2000. Previously I worked at Lancaster University (1978-2000) where I was for the last six years Professor of Women's History. Since moving to Manchester I have been Head of the School of History and Classics (2002-3) followed by Head of the School of Arts, Histories and Cultures (2003-6).


Completed research students

  • 2008-  Barry Hazley 'Irish migration in the Twentieth Century' ESRC studentship, full-time
  • 2008-  Spyros Tsoutsoumpis 'Masculinity, Class and Otherness in S.O.E. operations in Greece during World War Two' Self-funded, full-time
  • 2005-  Rachel Ritchie 'Chained to her chores? The contested identity of the 1950s British housewife' AHRC studentship, part-time
  • 2004- Joseph Maslen 'On Being Young and Left Wing in the Thirties: the Memory of a Younger World'  AHRC studentship, full-time
  • 2003- Student working on 'Gender, Genre and Class: socio-cultural change and personal testimony 1880-1920' JRRI Studentship, part-time
  • 2002- Anne-Marie Hughes 'Death, Gender and the Citizen in Britain in the First World War' Self-funded, part-time
  • 2001- Patricia Phillips 'Lives Less Ordinary: Women's Narratives of World War Two' Self-funded, part-time
  • 2002-2006 Sarah Britton 'Imagining the Other, Inventing the Self: Narratives of Nation and Empire in British Inter-War Imperial Exhibitions'. AHRC studentship, full-time
  • 2001- 2005 Victoria Brookes 'Gender, Class and Identity: Cotton Workers in Oldham and Bolton, 1920-1950'  PhD. JRRI studentship, full-time
  • 1999-2003 Yvonne Simm 'Men, women and wartime marital separation, Britain 1939-1945: a study of personal testimony' PhD. ESRC studentship.
  • 1998-2003 Juliette Pattinson 'Passing Performances: The Gendering of Military Identity in the Special Operations Executive in the Second World War' PhD. ESRC studentship. (Lancaster University).
  • 1996-2004 Carol Osborne 'Gender, Class and Nation: British Climbing c.1857-1955' PhD ESRC studentship. (Lancaster University).
  • 1996-2001 Myung-Sook Sung 'The women's movement in Korea: a historical and comparative analysis' PhD Overseas student. (Lancaster University).
  • 1995-99: Jennie Brunton 'Cultural narratives and the historical subject: Annie Garnett, a woman textile artist at the time of the Arts and Crafts Movement' PhD. Self funded, part-time (Lancaster University).
  • 1992-97: Caroline Morrison 'Women's Involvement in the Movements for Peace 1914-1939' PhD. ESRC studentship (Lancaster University).
  • 1992-96: Elizabeth Oliver 'Liberation or Limitation? A study of women's leisure in Bolton 1920-1939' PhD. ESRC studentship (Lancaster University).
  • 1991-97: Josie Dolan 'National Heroines: constructing femininity and representing the past in popular film and literature 1930-1955' PhD. (Lancaster University).

Supervision areas

I am currently supervising and have in the past supervised numerous research students (some listed below).  I am particularly keen to hear from students with interests in the social, cultural and gender history of the twentieth century in general and the Second World War in particular, with a focus on Britain, as well as in oral history and personal testimony.

Further information

My non-academic interests include horse riding, singing, cycling, swimming, and hill walking especially in North West Britain and Southern France. I love a really good cup of tea.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality


  • gender history, oral history, social history
  • twentieth century history
  • history of Second World War


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