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School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Centre for the Study of the Nineteenth Century and its Legacies

We are an interdisciplinary community aiming to connect the wide range of expertise across the long nineteenth century and foster collaborative connections, both within and beyond Queen Mary University of London.

We are new as a QMUL Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences Research Centre in autumn 2022 (as a Centre: we were The Nineteenth-Century Network, 2020-2022). Please watch this space as the webpage develops...


Lead Director

Dr Rachel Bryant Davies, Lecturer in Comparative Literature, School of Languages, Linguistics, and Film


Dr Matthew Ingleby, Lecturer in Victorian Literature, School of English and Drama

Professor Alastair Owens, Professor of Historical Geography

Dr Clare Stainthorp, Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow

Steering Committee

Dr  Angela Dunstan (Senior Lecturer in SED, English Literature and Visual Culture)

Kimberly Glassman, (PhD candidate, SED (English) and Kew Gardens, PGR Rep)

Professor Astrid Köhler (Professor of German Literature and Comparative Cultural Studies, SLLF)

Dr David Mills (Lecturer in Imaging and Calcified Tissue, School of Dentistry)

Dr Aoife Monks (Reader in Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies)

Dr Hannah-Rose Murray (Lecturer in US History)

Professor Angus Nicholls (Professor of Comparative Literature and German, SLLF)

Dr Merrilees Roberts (Teaching Associate, SED (English), TA/TF Rep)

Dr Robert Saunders (Reader in Modern British History)

Dr Chloe Ward (Senior Lecturer in the History of British Art)


This section is being updated

Founding Members of the Nineteenth-Century Network in 2020

Dr Will Bowers, Lecturer in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Thought, School of English and Drama

Professor David Duff, Professor of Romanticism, School of English and Drama

Chunlin Men, 1st year PhD student, School of English and Drama

Professor Angus Nicholls, Professor of Comparative Literature and German, School of Languages, Linguistics, and Film

Dr Amanda Sciampacone, Lecturer in British and European Art since 1700, School of History

Professor Kiera Vaclavik, Director of the Centre for Childhood Cultures, School of Languages, Linguistics, and Film

Professor Georgios Varouxakis, Professor of the History of Political Thought, School of History

Victorian Carols in Context: Secular and Sacred Carols, with singing, mulled wine, mince pies, and good cheer!

7th December 2022, The Octagon

Carol singing led by a choir plus contextualised short critical commentaries from QMUL colleagues.

poster for the carols event, decorated with holly sprig and with image of Victorian child carrying small christmas tree


Research conversation and book launch for Intersectional Encounters in the Nineteenth Century Archive (ed. Rachel Bryant Davies and Erin Johnson-Williams). Hybrid/Durham Centre for the study of the Nineteenth Century

5th December 2022, hybrid/Durham Castle

Research conversation with Tim Barringer (Yale), Jennifer Tucker (Wesleyan), Efram Sera-Shriar (Copenhagen), Adiva Lawrence (International Slavery Museum), Bennett Zon (Durham) and other essay contributors.

Preceded by PGR training workshop, with presentations by Amanda Sciampacone, Hannah-Rose Murray and Merrilees Roberts.

Rachel Bryant Davies and Erin Johnson-Williams lead a cast of renowned scholars to initiate an interdisciplinary conversation about the mechanisms of power that have shaped the nineteenth-century archive, to ask: What is a nineteenth-century archive, broadly defined?

This landmark collection of essays broaches critical and topical questions about how the complex discourses of power involved in constructions of the nineteenth-century archive have impacted, and continue to impact, constructions of knowledge across disciplinary boundaries, and beyond academic confines. The essays, written from a range of disciplinary perspectives, grapple with urgent problems of how to deal with potentially sensitive nineteenth-century archival items, both within academic scholarship and in present-day public-facing institutions, which often reflect erotic, colonial and imperial, racist, sexist, violent, or elitist ideologies.

poster for intersectional archives event showing book cover of 4 intersecting images of archived files


Professor Rohan McWilliam (ARU), Lecture on ‘Theatrical Celebrity and the Coming of the Picture Postcard, 1890-1914.’

2nd November 2022

Lecture on celebrity theatrical postcards in late 19C London; Respondent: Aoife Monks

This talk examined the way the coming of the picture postcard in the 1890s changed the nature of theatrical celebrity and the relationship between performer and audience. Postcards are an under-used resource for the cultural historian. They were integral to the creation of the image of the star. What we find is the construction of a visual culture that sustained a fan base and predated the cinema. Professor McWilliam’s talk examines images of performers who appeared in straight drama and in musical comedy, contrasting the images of actors and actresses. His talk raised issues about celebrity culture, portraiture, performance and sexuality.

poster for McWilliam lecture on postcards, showing image of Miss Marie Studholme (actress sitting on garden bench)

Research Conversation on Gretchen Gerzina’s Black England: The forgotten history of Georgian England

26th October, 2022

Research Conversation, part of Black History Month student-accessible events, in Collaboration with QMUL’s Postcolonial Seminar

First published in 1995, Gretchen Gerzina's Black England: A Forgotten History quickly became essential reading, shedding new light on the lives of Black Britons in the 18th and 19th century. This event enabled researchers to reflect on the significance of this book, which is republished this year with a new foreword by Zadie Smith.

Rachael Gilmour, Valentina Aparicio, and Amanda Sciampacone reflected upon the reissue of this book and how scholarship changes and is informed by the moment in which it is researched, written and published.

poster for Gretchen Gerzina book tour showing cover of book Black England



Past Activities of the 19thC Network

Discussion Group

 Monthly discussion forum: informal 'show and tell' format (online in 2020) on abstract topics and big themes with interdisciplinary scope (such as, for example, 'anecdotes', decades of the 1800s, melodrama, music, vaccinations...).

*Times and dates for the second half of Semester One coming soon: please fill out the doodle poll (on the Teams channel) and watch this space!*


A mixture of work-in-progress talks, research papers, and lectures from external speakers.

Book launch

9th November 2020, 18:00 to 19:30

The virtual launch of Dr Rachel Bryant Davies and Dr Barbara Gribling’s edited collection Pasts at play: childhood encounters with history in British culture, 1750-1914 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2020)

logo for the 19thC centre, black letters on blue

Contact us

For more information about, or to join the mailing list, please contact: This is a shared mailbox.

There is also a Teams channel (still named Nineteenth-Century Network) available to existing QMUL colleagues, for updates, shared files, and meeting links.

Follow us @C19QMUL

Tweets by Dr Clare Stainthorp

Events in 2023

Guided tour and introduction to the Barts Pathology Museum collection: 4pm on Wednesday 11th January 2023.

There will be a guided tour and introduction to the collection led by Steve Moore from the Barts Pathology Museum team, with informal research discussion for those interested in using the collection for research.

The museum is not open daily (only for special events and by appointment), so this is an exciting opportunity to visit the collection and learn about its history, as well as to discuss future research potential.

Booking essential as numbers are limited (and it is a requirement of the Human Tissue Authority that there is an accurate list of visitors so we will need to check registrations). For this reason, the event is restricted to QM staff and students (and Centre members) in the first instance:

March-June, IHSS network seminar series

Legacies and Liabilities? Decolonial, Interdisciplinary, and Intersectional Approaches to the 19thC Now 

The series is dedicated to addressing the legacies of the nineteenth century and what studying the period involves across disciplines. 

Further planned events will be advertised on Twitter and here as soon as booking becomes available.

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