Professor Barbara Taylor
Professor of Humanities
I came to Queen Mary in 2012 to take up a joint professorship in the Schools of History, and English & Drama. My previous post, which I had held since 1993, was in History at the University of East London. I have also held visiting professors at the universities of Amsterdam, Indiana, Notre Dame, and the École des hautes études en sciences sociales. I am the QMUL Director of the Raphael Samuel History Centre (a partnership between Queen Mary UL, Birkbeck College UL, the University of East London, and Bishopsgate Institute).
I am an intellectual and cultural historian with a special interest in the subjective dimension of historical change. My early research focused on feminist theory and history: I have published two well-known books on early British feminism, and in the late 1990s I ran a Leverhulme-funded international research project on feminism and Enlightenment. I am the co-convenor of a long-standing seminar at the Institute of Historical Research (link is external) on ‘Psychoanalysis and History’, and have written a personal history of mental health care in the late twentieth century.
- Theories, Histories and Representations of Subjectivity
- Enlightenment Studies
- Psychoanalytic Studies
- Histories of Solitude
- Feminist Theory and History Radical Writing in Britain, 1790-1850
Recent and On-Going Research:
My current research focuses on selfhood and subjectivity from the mid 17th century to the present. In 2012 I published an edited collection of essays on psychoanalysis and history (History and Psyche: Culture, Psychoanalysis and the Past, co-edited with Sally Alexander), and my most recent book is a memoir-cum-history of the transition from institutional to community-based psychiatric care in late 20th century Britain (The Last Asylum, 2014). At present, I am directing a major research project, ‘Pathologies of Solitude, 18th – 21st C’, and writing a book about solitude in Britain during the long 18th century.
Publications since 2003
- Mary Wollstonecraft and the Feminist Imagination (link is external) (Cambridge University Press, 2003)
- The Last Asylum (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin (link is external), 2014).
- On Kindness (link is external) (with Adam Phillips). Penguin, 2009; Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2009.
- Women, Gender and Enlightenment, 1650-1850 (link is external) co-edited with Sarah Knott, Palgrave Press, 2005 (pbk 2007).
- History & Psyche: Culture, Psychoanalysis and the Past (link is external), co-edited with Sally Alexander (Palgrave, 2012)
Journal Articles and Book Chapters
- ‘Mary Wollstonecraft. Sobre mujer y vida pública’ [‘Mary Wollstonecraft on Women and Public Life’], in Rosa Capel (ed) Mujeres para la Historia. Figuras destacadas del primer feminismo (link is external) (Madrid, Abada editors, 2004)
- ‘Feminists Versus Gallants: Sexual Manners and Morals in Enlightenment Britain’: in Sarah Knott and Barbara Taylor, eds, Women, Gender and Enlightenment, 1650-1850 (link is external) (Palgrave,2005)
- ‘Separations of Soul: Solitude, Biography, History’, American Historical Review (link is external), 114.3, 2009.
- ‘Marian Engel’s Bear’, Women: a Cultural Review (link is external), 21.2, 2010.
- ‘The Demise of the Asylum in Late Twentieth Century Britain’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society (link is external), vol 20, 2011.
- ‘Enlightenment and the Uses of Woman’, History Workshop Journal (link is external), 74, 2012.
- ‘Historical Subjectivity’, in Sally Alexander and Barbara Taylor, eds, History and Psyche: Culture, Psychoanalysis, and the Past (link is external) (Palgrave, 2012).
- 'Mary Wollstonecraft and Modern Philosophy', in S Berges and A Coffee, (eds), The Social and Political Thought of Mary Wollstonecraft, (Oxford University Press, 2016).
- 'Rousseau and Wollstonecraft. Solitary Walkers', in H Roenblatt and P Schweigert, (eds), Thinking with Rousseau: From Machiavelli to Schmidt, (Cambridge University Press, 2017.
- 'Philosophical Solitude: David Hume versus Jean-Jacques Rousseau', History Workshop Journal, 89 (2020).
- 'A Paradoxical Privacy: Solitude and the Inner Voice in the Writings of Denise Riley', Feminist Theory, 21 (3), 2020.
Reprints and Translations
- ‘The Religious Foundations of Mary Wollstonecraft’s Feminism’, in Claudia Johnson, ed, Cambridge Companion to Mary Wollstonecraft (link is external) (Cambridge University Press). Reprinted in Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (link is external), Norton Critical Edition (Deidre Lynch, ed), 2009.
- ‘Mary Wollstonecraft and the Wild Wish of Early Feminism’, History Workshop Journal (link is external), no 33, 1992; and ‘For the Love of God: Religion and the Erotic Imagination in Wollstonecraft’s Feminism’ in E Yeo (ed) Mary Wollstonecraft and 200 Years of Feminisms (link is external) (London, Rivers Oram, 1997), both reprinted in Jane Moore (ed), Mary Wollstonecraft (link is external) (London, Ashgate, 2012).
- On Kindness (Penguin, 2009): Italian, French, Spanish, German and Brazilian editions (2009-2012).
- ‘History Workshop Journal’ (2009): http://www.history.ac.uk/makinghistory/resources/articles/HWJ.html (link is external)
- ‘History, the Nation and the Schools’ (2011): http://www.historyworkshop.org.uk/history-the-nation-and-the-schools/ (link is external)
I welcome candidates interested in any of my areas of research.
Selected Media appearances:
- BBC Radio 4. Woman’s Hour. Feb 2014.
- BBC World Service. Newshour. Feb 2014.
- BBC Radio 4. Today Programme. Feb 2014.
- BBC Radio 5 Live. Stephen Nolan Programme. Feb 2014.
- The Last Asylum is BBC Radio 4 ‘Book of the Week’. Feb 2014.
- Irish Radio. Sean Moncrieff Show on Newstalk. Feb 2014.
- BBC Radio Scotland. April 2014.
- Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: ‘Sunday Edition’. Interview. Feb 2015.
- Canada TV AM. Interview. Feb 2015.
- Late Night Live’ Interview, Australian Broadcasting Corporation. April 2015.
- Guardian Books Podcast. May 2015.
- ‘Talking History’, Newstalk Radio (Ireland) November 2017.
- ‘Anatomy of Loneliness’, BBC Radio 4.
- 3CR Radio Australia. November 2019.
- ‘A Short History of Solitude’, BBC Radio 4.
- Review of Sheila Rowbotham, Rebel Crossings, Guardian 25.02.17.
- Review of Margaret Willes, The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn, Guardian, 30 .12.17.
- Review of Josh Cohen, Not Working, Guardian, 12.1.19.
- Review of Tessa McWatt, Shame on Me, Guardian, 23.12.19.
- Review of Sylvana Tomaselli, Wollstonecraft. Philosophy, Passion and Politics. Guardian. 16.12.20.
- ‘Solitary Citizens: The Politics of Loneliness’, Guardian, 27.06.20.
- ‘Are We More Lonely Than Our Ancestors?’
- ‘Robinson Crusoe and the Morality of Solitude’, Wellcome Collection.
- ‘The Art of Solitude’
- ‘Solitude and Covid 19’ (with David Vincent).
- 'On Wanting to be Andrew Scott's Mother'.
Mile End Institute:
Queen Mary Digital Lecture Series: