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Dr Simon Peplow

I am a researcher of modern British race, ethnicity, and migration history, having a particular interest in Black British political participation and engagement through official mechanisms and collective violence. My research combines aspects of social, political, and cultural history, and I have broader research interests in these fields – particularly within modern Britain.

My first monograph Race and Riots in Thatcher's BritainLink opens in a new window (Manchester University Press, 2019), based on my PhD research, is the first study to use newly released records regarding the 1980-81 uprisings in England. Case studies of Bristol, Brixton, and Manchester explore the importance of the public inquiry in public and political culture, by demonstrating that governmental inquiries were simultaneously viewed by Black Britons as either a solution or a fraud, as well as being a guarded privilege and later tactical concession from alarmed establishment figures. Locating 1980-81 within a longer history, I also argue that these events should be viewed broadly within the 'collective bargaining by riot' framework (Hobsbawm).

My current research extends my analysis of Black political activism in Britain throughout the 1980s, investigating the changing nature of protest during this period. Other projects explore the policing of migrant communities, the history of the Race Relations Board (1966-77) and Community Relations Commission (1968-77), and the impact of the Macpherson Report into the ineffective police response following the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence.

I have made various contributions to the BBC News website, BBC Radio Bristol, BBC Somerset, BBC Radio Gloucestershire, BBC Wiltshire, and pieces for The Conversation, Bristol Post, Western Morning News, History Workshop Online, The History of Parliament, Politics Home, and other media outlets related to my research and its contemporary significance. I have been involved with the GW4 Modern British Politics and Political History research group, and have presented my research to Home Office civil servants following an invitation by History & Policy.

I am co-convenor of the Black British History Seminar at the Institute of Historical ResearchLink opens in a new window, and History UK's Education OfficerLink opens in a new window.

I have collaborated with the Modern Records Centre to create GCSE teaching resources for use by teachers in the classroom or by students at homeLink opens in a new window. Utilising the Modern Records Centre's wide variety of materials, these include resources on 'People PowerLink opens in a new window' and 'Migration and IdentityLink opens in a new window'.

I also created the ‘History Head StartLink opens in a new window’ course for the Warwick History department. Designed to allow students to get a head start on studying History at University, this 12 week course introduces the skills of academic reading and primary source analysis. Each week explores a new historical topic by looking at an academic journal article or primary sources from the Modern Records Centre’s vast collections. The course is particularly aimed at people aged 16-18 who are studying History (or English, Politics, or any subject really!), or just for anyone who wants to learn more about how historical research is done, published, and used. You can find more information (and the course itself!) here: History Head Start (

Academic Profile

  • 2021 onwards: Associate Professor in 20th Century British History, University of Warwick
  • 2018-2021: Senior Teaching Fellow in 20th Century British History, University of Warwick
  • 2016-2018: Lecturer in History, University of Exeter
  • 2011-2016: Postgraduate Teaching Assistant, University of Exeter
  • 2011-2015: PhD History, University of Exeter
  • 2010-2011: MA Political Culture in Modern Britain, Aberystwyth University
  • 2007-2010: BA History, Aberystwyth University


For 2023/24, you can find me convening or teaching on these modules:

Past modules taught:

Postgraduate Students, current and recently completed PhDs and MRes

William Noble (2020-24), 'Popular Declinism and Racial Politics in the Age of Consensus: The Midlands, c. 1958-81'. AHRC-funded M4C studentship.Link opens in a new window

Sue Lemos (2020-), '"Pioneers of Our Own Future": The Lives and Politics of queer Black people and people of colour in Britain, c. 1950-2000'.Link opens in a new window

Alfie Hancox (2018-19), MRes (Distinction), 'Black radicals and Euromarxists: intersectional socialism and its limits in England during the 1960s-1980s'.Link opens in a new window

Recent Publications



Edited Special Issues:

Book Reviews:

Other Publications: