At the broadest level, I am a cultural and social historian of race, science and empire in the modern world.
BA Hons, M. Phil. and PhD, University of Cambridge
I joined the School of History of Cultures as a Lecturer in Modern History in September 2011. This followed on from a postdoctoral research fellowship with the Cambridge Victorian Studies Group on a five-year Leverhulme funded project entitled ‘Past versus Present: Abandoning the Past in an Age of Progress’ which explored Victorian notions of the past. Before this, I studied as both an undergraduate and postgraduate at Christ’s College, Cambridge.
'The Making of the Contemporary World,(1800-present day)'
'War, Armed Forces and Society'
Practising History 1: ‘Representing Race in Modern Britain: Exhibitions, Empire and Entertainment in Modern Britain, 1886-1936’
Practising History 2: 'Empires in Perspective' on writing the history of British imperialism
'Empire on Display', Group Research Module
Research Methods (Dissertation Preparation)
'Genocide: An Interdisciplinary Perspective', Advanced Option Module
Forthcoming Special Subject relating to my interests in settler colonialism, genocide and interethnic conflict
Dissertations. I'm happy to discuss possible topics with students. Please email me to arrange a meeting or drop by in my office hours.
Global Histories: Comparisons and Connections (Convenor and tutor)
Making Sense of the World: Themes in Global History (Convenor and tutor)
I convene the MA in Global History within the School of History and Cultures. For more information please see the MA Global History coursefinder entry.
Possible supervision topics
I am happy to discuss offering postgraduate supervision in any topic relating to nineteenth-century notions of race, science and empire in world history. I would be especially interested in working with students interested in histories of exhibitions or world fairs, anthropolgy, racial theory, genocide and settler colonialism.
My research explores the ways in which racialized knowledge is produced, circulated and mobilised in the modern world. I’m most interested in how such knowledge is used to inform and transform political policies. I'm also concerned by the ways in which histories of race, science and empire are relevant to contemporary debates on issues as diverse as the handling of human remains and the restitution of land rights to formerly colonised peoples.
My first book, Peoples on Parade, explored the commercial exhibition of displayed peoples in nineteenth-century Britain and the importance of such shows for intercultural encounter and notions of racial difference.
I am currently working on notions of human extinction and interethnic conflict for my second book, provisionally entitled ‘Exterminate all the Brutes’: Modern Settler Colonialism and the Future of Endangered Races.
In 2012, my research was awared a Philip Leverhulme Prize in Medieval, Early Modern and Modern History by the Leverhulme Trust.
Birmingham Heroes: Recovering the Past to Improve Humanity's Future
'George Catlin: American Indian Portraits', National Portrait Gallery, London
Between 2012 and 2013, I was involved in a project with the National Portrait Gallery. A group of my students online content for the NPG's website and gave gallery talks in conjunction with the George Catlin: American Indian Portraits. To find out more about the exhibition see the exhibition's microsite where you can also find the students' films. You can also read blog posts about the project by Sophie Edwards and Shahmima Akhtar.
Articles and Essays
'Dramas of Development: Evolution and Victorian Exhibitions', in Bernard Lightman and Bennett Zon, eds, Evolution and Victorian Culture (Cambridge University Press, in press, due 2014).
'Dying Americans: Race, Extinction and Conservation in the New World', in Astrid Swenson and Peter Mandler, eds, From Plunder to Preservation: Britain and the Heritage of Empire, 1800–1950 (Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 269–288.
'Tipu’s Tiger and Images of India, 1799–2010’, in Sarah Longair and John McAleer, eds, Curating Empire: Museums and the British Imperial Experience, Studies in Imperialism (Manchester University Press, 2013), pp. 207–224.
'Peopling the Landscape: Showmen, Displayed Peoples and Travel Illustration in Victorian Britain', Early Popular Visual Culture, 10 (2012), 23–36.
'Meeting the Zulus: Displayed Peoples, British Imperialism and the Shows of London, 1853–1879', in Joe Kember, John Plunkett, Jill Sullivan, eds, Popular Exhibitions, Science and Showmanship, 1840–1914 (Pickering and Chatto, 2012), pp. 183–198.
'Robert Gordon Latham, Displayed Peoples and the Natural History of Race, 1854–1866', Historical Journal, 54 (2011), 143–166.
'Reading Ephemera', in Rosalind Crone and Shafquat Towheed, eds, The History of Reading, 3 vols (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 135-155.
'Displaying Sara Baartman, the "Hottentot Venus"', History of Science, 42 (2004), 233–257.
'Great Exposition of 1851 (Crystal Palace)' in R. Jon McGee and Richard L. Warms, eds, 'Theory in Social and Cultural Anthropology' (Sage, 2013).
'Ethnological Exhibitions' in Patrick L. Mason, ed., 'Encyclopaedia of Race and Racism', 2nd edn (Macmillan USA, 2013).
Historiographical review of recent themes in the global history of exploration, travel and indigenous knowledge for the Historical Journal
'Looking to Our Ancestors' in Time Travellers: Victorian Perspectives on the Past.