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Personal profile

Research interests

Rebecca Searle is a historian whose work focuses on the ways in which the study of the past can be used to make critical interventions in the politics of the present. She established and co-ordinates the Housing Forum, an initiative to bring together academics, community organisations and policy makers to develop local solutions to the housing crisis. Her research interests include the history of the housing crisis; the global history of contemporary capitalism; the history of twentieth century Britain; and war and conflict in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. She is the Course leader for BA (Hons) War, Conflict and Modernity degree within the Humanities programme.

Scholarly biography

Dr Rebecca Searle is a contemporary historian with particular research specialisms in the histories of housing, capitalism, twentieth century Britain, terrorism and warfare. She is Course leader for BA (Hons) War, Conflict and Modernity degree within the Humanities programme.  She is committed to interdisciplinary research and is excited by the potential of different disciplinary approaches to enrich historical practice. She is a member of the Centre for Research in Memory, Narrative and Histories, and of the research cluster Understanding Conflict: Forms and Legacies of Violence.

Rebecca completed her BA and MA in Contemporary History at the University of Sussex. In 2006, she was awarded an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award and worked in conjunction with the Imperial War Museum and the University of Sussex in preparation of her DPhil entitled “Art, Propaganda and the Experience of Aerial Warfare in Britain, 1939-1945”. In 2013 she was awarded a Paul Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship with Yale University to develop her thesis into a monograph.

Subsequently Rebecca worked as a postdoctoral researcher in Economic History at the University of Sussex. She was first employed on the ESRC project The Living Standards of Working Households in Britain, 1904-1960She was then part of a team who were awarded a £1.15m ESRC Grant for The Global Income Inequality Project.

In her research Rebecca seeks to reintegrate economic perspectives into social, cultural and political history in order to critically interrogate the contemporary world. She is currently writing a history of the housing crisis with particular focus on the history of the private rented sector.

Education/Academic qualification

Bachelor, University of Sussex

Master, University of Sussex

PhD, University of Sussex


  • D204 Modern History
  • Britain
  • Political history
  • economic history
  • social history
  • housing
  • capitalism
  • D731 World War II
  • D839 Post-war History, 1945 on

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Research Output 2013 2019

  • 3 Article
  • 1 Book - authored
  • 1 Book Review
  • 1 Other contribution

Art, Propaganda and Aerial Warfare in Britain during the Second World War

Searle, R. 31 Jul 2019 (Accepted/In press) (New Directions in Social and Cultural History)

Research output: Book/ReportBook - authored

The poor and the poorest, 50 years on: evidence from British Household Expenditure Surveys of the 1950s and 1960s

Gazeley, I., Gutierrez Rufrancos, H., Newell, A., Reynolds, K. & Searle, R. 9 Apr 2016 180, 2, p. 455-474 20 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Household expenditure
Second World War
Poverty line

Is there anything real about real wages? A history of the official British cost of living index, 1914–62

Searle, R. 13 Jun 2014 68, 1, p. 145-166 22 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Real Wages

The War Artists' Advisory Committee and the Bombing of Germany

Searle, R. 1 Jan 2014 Sri Lanka

Research output: Other contribution

War Artist

Activities 2017 2018

  • 3 Invited talk

The History of the Housing Crisis

Searle, R. (Presenter)
11 Apr 2018

Activity: Invited talk

The History of the Housing Crisis

Searle, R. (Presenter)
25 Jun 2018

Activity: Invited talk

Why are we paying so much rent?

Searle, R. (Presenter)
26 Oct 2017

Activity: Invited talk