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Staff Profile

Dr Gary Rivett

Lecturer: History

Originally from south London, I received my PhD from the University of Sheffield in 2010. From 2010-2013, I was the Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the Leverhulme Trust-funded International Research Network, The Comparative History of Political Engagement in Western and African Societies, which was based at the University of Sheffield in the Centre for the Study of Democratic Study. I am currently Lecturer in Early Modern History at York St John University. I am also Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of History at the University of Sheffield.

General Research Interests

My research interests centre on the social, intellectual, cultural and political history of early modern Britain, and include an interest in political and print cultures during the English civil wars, revolution and commonwealth; sixteenth- and seventeenth-century historical consciousness, scholarship and writing; the history of institutions, information-gathering and surveillance; and the discourses and practices of peace and peace-making in seventeenth-century Britain. I have longstanding interests in historical, social and memory theory and concepts of time and change.


Current Research

My current research grows out of my doctoral work, titled ‘Make use of both things present and past’: Thomas May’s Histories of Parliament, Printed Public Discourse and the Politics of the Recent Past, 1640-1650’, which will result in a monograph called Conflicted Pasts: Historical Culture in the English Civil Wars.

My future projects will examine practices of information-gathering and surveillance developed by parliament developed during the English Revolution. I am also in the early stages of developing a new research project, titled ‘Peace and Security in the Early Modern Europe, which will explore how ideas of peace were discussed, put into practice and contested. I also intend to produce a one volume comparative history of popular protest in the Early Modern World.

I have given research papers in Sydney, Venice, London, Cambridge, Sheffield, Reading and Berlin.

Public Engagement

Committed to working with members of the public to create stories about their past, I am, with Dr Adrian Bingham, a co-director of ‘Stories of Activism in Sheffield, c. 1960-2012’. Working closely with activists and campaigners from the City of Sheffield, the project which collects and archive campaign materials and oral testimonies from Sheffield’s activists. For more information visit:



Conflicted Pasts: Politics, Parliament and Historical Culture in the English Civil Wars [in preparation]


‘Revivifying and Reconciling the State: Peacemaking and Narrative Hegemony in Post-Civil-War England, 1646-7, in Karine Deslandes, Fabrice Mourlon and Bruno Tribout (eds.), Civil War and Narrative: Testimony, Historiography, Memory (Palgrave, London, 2017) [Forthcoming]


(with Rory Pilossof), ‘Imagining change, imaginary futures: “conditions of possibility” in pre-independence Southern Rhodesia, 1959-1963’, Social Science History [Forthcoming]

(with Laura King), ‘Engaging the Public in Making History: Impact, Public Engagement and the World Beyond the Campus’, History Workshop Journal, 80 (2015), pp. 218-233.

Editorial Introduction: Activism, Mobilisation and Political Engagement in Comparative Historical Perspective’, Journal of Historical Sociology, 28, 1 (2015), pp. 1-10.

‘Peacemaking, Parliament and the Politics of the Recent Past in the English Civil Wars’, Huntington Library Quarterly, 76, 4 (2013), pp. 589-615.

‘English Newsbooks, Storytelling and Political Criticism: Mercurius Aulicus and the Solemn League and Covenant, September-October 1643’, Media History, 19, 1 (2013) pp. 3-16.

Conferences and Seminars

‘Information Regimes and Governance in the English Revolution: Parliament and the Case of the Committee for Plundered Ministers’, Institute of Historical Research, Parliaments, Politics and People Seminar, 2016

‘Cities, Communities and Civil Engagement: Stories of Activism in Sheffield’, University of Sheffield, Urban History Centre launch event, 2015

‘Revivifying and reconciling the state: history and politics in Civil War England, c. 1640-1650’, University of London: ‘Civil War and Narrative’, 2015

‘A Portrait of a Committee: Microhistorical approaches to the history of Parliament in the English Revolution’ , Renaissance Society of America Annual Conference: ‘New Directions in Microhistory’, Berlin, 2015

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