My research explores the ways in which racialised knowledge is produced, circulated and mobilised in the modern world. I’m most interested in how such knowledge is used to create hierarchies of value between peoples and the legacies of past discrimination in relationship to contemporary issues of equity and social justice.
My first book, Peoples on Parade, provided the first substantial survey of the commercial exhibition of displayed peoples in nineteenth-century Britain. It explored the importance of such shows for intercultural encounter and notions of racial difference, particularly for should the development of anthropology as a discipline. It was joint winner of the Sonya Rudikoff Prize for the best first book in Victorian Studies published in 2011 awarded by the Northeast Victorian Studies Association.
I am currently working on the history of extinction for my second book, provisionally entitled Vanished: Episodes in the History of Extinction. Drawing on histories of genocide, settler colonial studies and animal studies, my book will explore how the very notion of extinction emerged and shaped our relationship with the natural world in the Anthropocene.
In 2012, my research was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize in Medieval, Early Modern and Modern History by the Leverhulme Trust.