I am a historian of modern Britain and a PhD candidate at Columbia University. I am interested in the history of gender and sexuality, the history of education, and the intellectual/cultural history of modern Britain and Europe more broadly. My dissertation is an account of the politics and culture of gender relations in British universities between 1860 and 1935. During these 75 years, gender norms fundamentally shaped the creation of a national higher education system in Britain, and that higher education system in turn shaped the social norms that a new liberal elite encountered in a formative period in young adulthood (and in which some spent the rest of their lives as professional academics). Through extensive research in the archives of ten universities across England and Scotland, I delve deeply into individual stories, recovering lost causes, unlikely alliances, and forgotten modes of behavior—all of which demonstrate the importance of a thorough understanding of universities to wider accounts of the culture of elites in modern Europe.
I have also been working for several years on a project about the intellectual history of male homosexuality in modern Britain. Originally stemming from undergraduate research on the early theorist of homosexuality John Addington Symonds, the project is a study of the voluminous manuscript writings on homosexuality of figures such as William Johnson Cory, Symonds, E.P. Warren, G.L. Dickinson, and E.M. Forster. It seeks to distinguish a conservative, elitist strand of thinking about masculine intimacy, closely linked with elite education and with the Greek and Latin classics, and to demonstrate that this set of ideas both enjoyed widespread legitimacy within elite single-sex institutions in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and played a significant role in how modern homosexual identity has been conceptualized in Britain.
As a teaching assistant, I have taught widely in British and European history and US intellectual history, and have mentored students writing senior theses. I am currently a lead instructor for Contemporary Civilization, a course focused on primary texts in Western moral and political philosophy that is part of Columbia’s mandatory Core Curriculum.
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