Professor Keith Snell

Professor of Rural and Cultural History

Keith SnellContact Details

  • Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2763
  • Email:
  • Office: Room 20, Marc Fitch House, Salisbury Road
  • Office Hours: Study Leave Semester 1
  • Dissertation Office Hour: Call to check availibility 


Cambridge Historical Tripos, Trinity Hall Cambridge.
Ph.D. (SSRC studentship) at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. 
Research Fellow in the Humanities, King's College, Cambridge.
Lectureship in the Department of Economics and Related Studies, University of York.
`New Blood' Lectureship in Regional Popular Cultures in the Department of English Local History, University of Leicester.
Promoted to a Readership, and then to a Personal Chair at the University of Leicester, as Professor of Rural and Cultural History.

Elected Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland (1991).


PhD Supervision

The poor law and the history of welfare, 1600-1948; the oral history of 'Belonging in Modern Britain'; English and Welsh rural history, 1600-1945; the history of 'Community'; Victorian religion; Churchyards and cemeteries; the history of the family and historical demography; the regional novel in the British Isles; Thomas Hardy.

Past and present PhD students' research topics


My teaching covers many subjects in English and Welsh local, regional and rural history, 1650-2015. These include (1) themes in community and socio-economic history, such as the history of ‘community’, social and economic change in the countryside, the history of welfare and the poor laws, historical demography and the history of the family; and (2) themes in cultural history, including English and Welsh regional cultures, belonging and identity, the history of religion, occupational cultures, gender and work, regional novels, landscape art, churchyard interpretation, photographic representations, oral history, anthropological approaches, and the gypsies.  I also teach Midland field courses, on estate villages, midlands industrialisation and the Gothic Revival.

Most Recent Publications

  1. 'Modern loneliness in historical perspective', in Ami Rokach (ed.), The Correlates of Loneliness (Bentham Science, 2016), pp. 3-33
  2. Spirits of Community: English Senses of Belonging and Loss, 1750-2000 (Bloomsbury, 2016)
  3. 'Agendas for the historical study of loneliness and lone living', The Open Psychology Journal, 2015, 8 (Suppl. 2-M2).
  4. 'In or out of their place: the migrant poor in English art, 1740-1900', Rural History, 24:1 (2013).
  5. 'Re-politicising local history', International Journal of Regional and Local Studies, 9 (2013), (with R. Jones).

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