Emily Cockayne

Emily Cockayne


  • 3.28 Arts

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Early Modern (and eighteenth-century) social and cultural English history, especially interpersonal relationships, streets and nuisances.

Personal profile


I came to the UEA in 2009, after lecturing at Oxford University, and for the Open University. I am a cultural historian, focusing on interpersonal relationships, material culture, nuisances and domestic and street environments in England. Unusually, I am not focused on a specific time period, but have written about historical experiences from the late-medieval period, until modern times. I have four published books: Hubbub. Filth, Noise & Stench in England (2007), Cheek by Jowl. A History of Neighbours (2012), and Rummage: a History of the Things we have Reused, Recycled and Refused to let go (2020). I have also worked on the history of deafness, the human senses, early civic planning, and dogs in the late medieval and early modern period. My fourth monograph, Penning Poison (OUP, 2023) is about anonymous letter writing and poison pen letters, 1760-1939.

I have a website: https://www.rummage.work/

Areas of Expertise

  • Cultural history
  • Neighbouring
  • Material culture
  • Recycling, history of
  • material reuse, history of
  • Neighbourhoods, history of
  • Interpersonal relationships, history of
  • Libel, history of
  • Obscenity, history of
  • Genealogical research
  • Letter writing, anonymously, history of
  • Animals in cities, history of
  • Senses and sensations, history of
  • Sounds and noise, history of
  • Deafness, history of
  • Victorian plastics

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Cambridge

Award Date: 1 Sep 2000

Master of Philosophy, University of Cambridge

Award Date: 1 Sep 1996

Bachelor of Arts, University of Cambridge

Award Date: 1 Jun 1994

External positions

External Examiner , University of Oxford


  • Modern History
  • Interpersonal relations
  • Correspondence
  • Recycling
  • Experiences
  • Neighbouring
  • Materials
  • Social History
  • Nuisances
  • Urban environments
  • Streets
  • Libel
  • Neighbourhoods
  • Housing
  • Pollution