Skip to main content
School of History

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).


Research Interests:

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

Single-authored books

Co-authored books

Edited books

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

Reprints and Translations

Web articles


I welcome candidates interested in any of my areas of research.

Public Engagement

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.


Mile End Institute: 

Queen Mary Digital Lecture Series: 


Back to top