Dr. Susan D. Pennybacker
Specialization: Modern British/ Empire History
Home institution in US: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Host Institution in India: University of Delhi, Delhi  
Start date/Month in India: July 2012
Duration of grant: 9 months

Brief Bio:
Dr. Susan D. Pennybacker has a B.A. from Columbia University, New York, an M.A. from University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. from University of Cambridge, U.K. She is a modern British historian who specializes in the history of London and the histories of anti-colonialism and the former empire. She is the author of A Vision for London, 1889-1914 (Routledge 1994) and From Scottsboro to Munich; race and political culture in 1930s Britain (Princeton 2009). From 1983 until 2010, Dr. Pennybacker taught at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. Since 2005, she has worked intermittently in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa, where she taught at the University of the Western Cape. In 2010, she assumed the Chalmers W. Poston Chair in modern European history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is researching a book entitled Fire by Night, Cloud by Day: exile, refuge and dissent in postwar London about South Asians, Trinidadians, South Africans and Europeans who led activist lives in postwar London.

Thousands of Indian anti-colonial activists passed through London after 1945 making critical contributions to Cold War metropolitan political culture. In 2012-13, Dr. Pennybacker will undertake archival work in India and conduct interviews with persons who moved between India and the U.K. London was a central point on networks spanning India, Pakistan, Colombo, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam and the Caribbean. Her work re-positions the former imperial capital in this fluid sea of movement. Anti-colonial activism inspired its British-based allies. A transnational research methodology will result in the path-breaking study, Fire By Night, Cloud By Day: exile, refuge and dissent in postwar London.