Early Modern Exchanges


Prof Jason Peacey

Professor of Early Modern British History

Dept of History

Faculty of S&HS

Joined UCL
1st Sep 2006

Research summary

My research focuses on the politics and political culture of early modern Britain, and I am particularly interested in the relationship between print culture and the practices of political life. I am interested, therefore, in the censorship and exploitation of the press by the political elite, in the mechanisms that were devised for the production and deployment of propaganda, and in the issue of ‘news management’ following the emergence of early newspapers. I am also interested in enhancing our understanding of the ways in which contemporaries experienced the early modern ‘information revolution’. This involves assessing how members of the public from all walks of life reacted to propaganda and newspapers as readers and consumers, and how they appropriated a variety of print genres in order to participate in national political life. Beyond this, I am also interested in exploring the European dimension print culture and public opinion in the early modern period, and in the impact of the ways in which texts and ideas – as well as news – could traverse political boundaries. This means examining the emergence of what might be called a European public sphere, new ways of mobilising opinion beyond national borders, and a growing sense among political elites of the need to manipulate news and political debate on a much larger scale, and in different geographical locations, not least through diplomatic channels.

Teaching summary

My teaching involves a range of courses relating to Early Modern British History. At undergraduate level, I run a broad course entitled ‘Tudor and Stuart Britain, 1500-1700’, which introduces students to the period’s turbulent political and religious history, as well as broader developments in society, economy and culture. I also teach a course entitled ‘The Political City: London in the Seventeenth Century’, a thematic course entitled ‘Popular Politics in Early Modern Britain’, and a final year ‘special subject’ course on ‘The British Civil Wars and Interregnum, 1637-1660’. In addition, I teach an MA module entitled ‘The Public Sphere in Britain, 1476-1776’. I have also devised a compulsory second-year course entitled ‘Evolving History’, which introduces students to the history of History since ancient times. In terms of research supervision, I am interested in overseeing topics relating to the early modern period of British History, especially those concerning political history and political culture. I have a particular interest in parliamentary history, popular politics, print culture, and the history of communication, including the history of journalism, reading and the ‘reception’ of texts.


University of Cambridge
PhD, History | 1994


I studied at the universities of Lancaster, York and Cambridge (where I completed my PhD in 1994), before moving to London to become a research fellow at the History of Parliament Trust. I joined UCL as a lecturer in 2006, and became a senior lecturer in 2009, and I am also a fellow of the Royal Historical Society. My publications include two monographs: Politicians and Pamphleteers: Propaganda during the English Civil Wars and Interregnum (2004), and Print and Public Politics in the English Revolution (2013). I have also edited (or co-edited) the following collections: The Regicides and the Execution of Charles I (2001), Parliament at Work (with Chris R. Kyle, 2002), and The Print Culture of Parliament, 1600-1800 (2007). Beyond this, I serve on the editorial boards of History Compass, Media History, and Parliamentary History, for the latter of which I also serve as a book reviews editor. I am also one of the editors of a monograph series for Manchester University Press, entitled ‘Politics, Culture and Society in Early Modern Britain’.