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Biography I am a cultural and intellectual historian of the British Empire in the 'long' eighteenth century (c. 1730-1830). My work addresses questions of belonging and identity in the eighteenth-century British empire, with a particular interest in the development of ideas of race and gender.

I have taught History and Gender Studies at University College London, the London School of Economics, Amherst College, Smith College, the University of Massachusetts, and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign where I was a Mellon post-doctoral fellow at the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities. I hold a PhD from University College London and a MA in Asian and African History from the School of Oriental and African Studies.

In addition to academic teaching and researching, I have worked with artists, school teachers, and youth groups to think creatively about the relationship between history and identity. Between 2017 and 2018 I worked with Dr Michael McMillan, who looked at the relationship between trauma and belonging as Leverhulme Artist in Residence. I blog on the history of colonialism and sexuality at Notches: (re)marks on the history of sexuality. and History Workshop Online and have written on pedagogy in Higher Education, including for the Guardian Higher Education Network.
Research Interests My current research examines the discourse of 'home' and 'exile' in Enlightenment thought, and its role in British imperial expansion during the 'long' eighteenth century. European imperial expansion radically increased population mobility, as new trade routes, war, disease, and the expropriation of land and labour displaced people across the world. By the eighteenth century, millions of people were on the move, from enslaved Africans trafficked across the Atlantic, to Europeans of all ranks looking for new economic opportunities in Empire. In this context of mass movement, intellectual ideas of what it meant to feel emotional attachment to people and places - referred to here as 'belonging' - informed imperial debates and the construction of difference.

My book project, Unhomely Empire: Whiteness and Belonging from the Scottish Enlightenment to Liberal Imperialism (London: Bloomsbury, forthcoming) maps the consolidation of an elite discourse of 'home' and 'exile' through three inter-related case studies: the debate over slavery and abolition in the Caribbean; the debate over Scottish Highland emigration to North America; and, discussions over how to raise white girls in colonial India. These debates took place across different genres, including philosophy, poetry, political pamphlets, travel writing, letters and diaries. By focusing on the movement of these ideas across the published and unpublished work of a British-imperial literary network, Unhomely Empire argues that the configuration of belonging in the 'long' eighteenth century played a key role in determining who could belong to nation, civilization, and humanity.

Future Research

I am developing a new research project looking at the relationship between colonialism and the hardening of binary sex categorization in social, cultural and legal life, as part of a wider impetus towards certainty and authenticity during this period.

My project begins with the case of a Angolan person, displayed in London as a 'hermaphrodite' in the 1740s, whose presence provided the catalyst for a number of 'scientific' investigations into what we would today call 'differences of sex development.' Starting with newspaper reports, essays in the Philosophical Transactions and medical treatises, my aim is partly to trace the life history and origins of this person back to their African context.

I am also interested in situating this discussion over sex differentiation in the context of related discussions over authenticity and human capacities that were taking place during the same period. To do so, I focus on two further case studies: the parrot, as a symbol of mimicry; and, the forger, as sign of inauthenticity.
Teaching and Learning I teach a third-year option, 'Travel writing and British imperial expansion', a second-year option, 'Rule and Resistance in Colonial India' (in collaboration with Manuscripts and Special Collections). My special subject, "Imperial Eyes: Race, Gender and Empire in Enlightenment Thought" explores the role of empire and ideas of race and gender in the eighteenth-century enlightenment, challenging the traditional idea of "the Enlightenment" as a solely European phenomenon that was orchestrated exclusively by white, male elites for the benefit of "civilization."

I teach on the following BA team-taught courses:

Learning History
Roads to Modernity
Contemporary World
Doing History
Dissertation Module (convenor)
I also teach on the following MA courses:

Englishness and Identity
(Mis)perceptions of the Other (convenor)
Empire and Imperialisms
National Memory and Social Change in Europe.