British Images

Faculty in British Studies at Columbia

The faculty in British Studies at Columbia represents a wide range of interests across the fields of History, English, and Political Science

Faculty Profiles

James Eli Adams

Professor of English and Comparative Literature

PhD Cornell 1987; BA Oxford (Rhodes Scholar) 1979; SB Literature and Mathematics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1977. Author of Dandies and Desert Saints: Styles of Victorian Masculinity (Cornell, 1995), and A History of Victorian Literature (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), each named a Choice Outstanding Academic Book. From 1993-2000 he co-edited Victorian Studies, where he remains a member of the Advisory Board. He is currently at work on a project entitled The Uses of Inheritance: Identity and Agency in Britain, 1789-1895.

Christopher Brown

Professor of History

DPhil Balliol College, Oxford 1994; BA Yale 1990. Author of Moral Capital: Foundations of British Abolitionism. Research Interests include eighteenth-century Britain and the history of the British Empire from 1550-1850, with special attention to the British Atlantic, the history of the imperial state, and the comparative history of slavery and abolition.

Sarah Cole

Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature

Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley (1997); B.A., Williams College (1989). Sarah Cole specializes in British literature of the 19th and 20th centuries, with an emphasis on the modernist period. Areas of interest include war; violence, sexuality and the body; history and memory; imperialism; and Irish literature of the modernist period. She is the author of two books, Modernism, Male Friendship, and the First World War, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2003 and At the Violet Hour: Modernism and Violence in England and Ireland, (Fall 2012, Oxford University Press). She has published articles in ELH, Modern Fiction Studies, Modernism/Modernity, and PMLA, and has written essays for a variety of edited collections.

Nicholas Dames

Theodore Kahan Professor in the Humanities
Professor of English and Comparative Literature

PhD Harvard 1998; BA Washington University 1992. Author of Amnesiac Selves: Nostalgia, Forgetting, and British Fiction, 1810-1870 (Oxford, 2001); The Physiology of the Novel: Reading, Neural Science, and the Form of Victorian Fiction (Oxford, 2007) Research interests include 19th-century British fiction; histories of the book and of reading; nineteenth-century theories of mind.

Jenny Davidson

Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature

A.B., Harvard-Radcliffe (1993); Ph.D., Yale (1999). Jenny Davidson writes about eighteenth-century literature and culture; other interests include British cultural and intellectual history and the contemporary novel in English. She is the author of three novels, Heredity (2003), The Explosionist (2008), and Invisible Things (2010). Her two published academic books are Hypocrisy and the Politics of Politeness: Manners and Morals from Locke to Austen (Cambridge, 2004) and Breeding: A Partial History of the Eighteenth Century (Columbia, 2009). Forthcoming in 2013 are a new novel, The Magic Circle, and a small book on literary style.

William Derringer

Fellow, Columbia University Society of Fellows in the Humanities

William Deringer received his doctorate in the History of Science from Princeton University, where his research focused on the history of economic knowledge. He has been recognized with the Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellowship, Princeton's highest graduate award. His ongoing research project, entitled Calculated Values, explores the political history and historical epistemology of economic calculation in Britain, 1688-1738. His work uses the close reading of historical computations to reconstruct the contextual nature of economic rationality in the past. Dr. Deringer has a particular interest in historical conceptions of financial "value," particularly around financial crises, like Britain's South Sea Bubble of 1720.

Eileen Gillooly

Associate Director of the Heyman Center for the Humanities
Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature

PhD Columbia 1993; BA Scripps College 1977. Author of Smile of Discontent: Humor, Gender, and Nineteenth-Century British Fiction (Univ. of Chicago, 1999); co-editor of Victorian Prism: Refractions of the Crystal Palace (Univ. of Virginia, 2007) and of Contemporary Dickens (Ohio State, 2009). Current projects: a book about parental feeling in 19th-century middle-class Britain and an edition of David Copperfield (Norton Critical Edition). Research interests: England, Scotland, and Ireland in the 19th-century; 19th-century moral psychology; gender, feminist, and psychoanalytic theory.

Erik Gray

Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature

PhD Princeton 2000; BA Cambridge 1994. Author of The Poetry of Indifference: From the Romantics to the Rubáiyát (Massachusetts, 2005) and Milton and the Victorians (Cornell, 2009). Professor Gray is also the editor of Tennyson's In Memoriam (Norton, 2004) and Spenser's The Faerie Queene, Book 2 (Hackett, 2006). His research interests include Romantic and Victorian poetry; poetry and poetics; English literature and the classics.


Natasha Lightfoot

Assistant Professor of History

PhD New York University 2007; BA Yale 1999. Natasha Lightfoot specializes in emancipation, race, and labor studies within the fields of Caribbean, Atlantic World, and African Diaspora History.A She is currently working on a project tracing grassroots resistance and identity formation among emancipated people in Antigua.

Sharon Marcus

Orlando Harriman Professor of English and Comparative Literature

PhD Johns Hopkins 1995; BA Brown University 1986. Author of Apartment Stories: City and Home in Nineteenth-Century Paris and London (University of California Press, 1999); Between Women: Friendship, Desire and Marriage in Victorian England (Princeton University Press, 2007) Research interests include 19th-century British and French fiction; urban and architectural history; feminist and queer theory. Professor Marcus is currently writing a book about Sarah Bernhardt and theatrical celebrity in the nineteenth century; work drawn from this project has appeared in PMLA and is forthcoming in Victorian Studies and Theatre Survey.

Susan Pedersen

James P. Shenton Professor of the Core Curriculum Professor of History

PhD Harvard 1989; BA Harvard 1982. Author of Eleanor Rathbone and the Politics of Conscience (2004); Settler Colonialism in the Twentieth Century (co-ed., 2005); Family, Dependence, and the Origins of the Welfare State: Britain and France , 1914-1945 (1993); and After the Victorians: Private Conscience and Public Duty in Modern Britain (co-ed., 1994). (Web Site)

Nadia Urbinati

Kyriakos Tsakopoulos Professor of Political Theory and Hellenic Studies Science

PhD European University Institute, Florence 1989. Author of: Liberi ed uguali: critica dell'ideologia individualista (Laterza 2011); Representative Democracy: Principles and Genealogy (University of Chicago Press 2006; paperback 2008; Italian translation by Donzelli, 2009 and 2010); Mill on Democracy: from the Athenian Polis to Representative Government (University of Chicago Press, 2002; Italian translation by Laterza 2006), which received the David and Elaine Spitz Prize as the best book in liberal and democratic theory published in 2002; she edited with Steven Lukes, Condorcet's Political Writings (Cambridge University Press, 2011); she edited with Stefano Recchia, A Cosmpolitanism of Nations: Giuseppe Mazzini's writings on Democracy, Nation Building and International Relations (Princeton University Press, 2009); She edited with Alex Zakaras a collection of essays, John Stuart Mill's Political Thought: A Bicentennial Reassessment (Cambridge University Press 2007), has published several books in Italian, and edited with Carlo Rosselli, Liberal Socialism (Princeton University Press, 1994) and with Piero Gobetti, On Liberal Revolution (Yale University Press, 2000) . She co-edited Le socialisme liberal. Une anthologie: Europe-Etats-Unis with Monique Canto-Sperber (Editions Esprit, 2003; Italian translation by Marsilio/Reset 2004). Research interests include democratic theory; anti-democratic thought; theories of representation and sovereignty; ancient and modern political thought; theory of resistance and consent.

Deborah Valenze

Professor of History, Barnard College

PhD Brandeis 1982; BA Harvard 1975. Author of Prophetic Sons and Daughters: Female Preaching and Popular Religion in Industrial England (1985); The First Industrial Woman (1995); The Social Life of Money in the English Past (2006); contributions to A Companion to Gender History (2004) and The Oxford Encyclopedia of Economic History (2003), as well as essays and articles on work, poverty, food history, and eighteenth-century population history. Her latest book, Milk: A Local and Global History , was published by Yale University Press in 2011. She is now at work on a project on relationships between animals and people in early modern Britain.

Carl Wennerlind

Assistant Professor of History, Barnard College

PhD University of Texas 1999. Coeditor of David Hume's Political Economy (Routledge); author of Money, Magic, and Death: Histories of the Financial Revolution (forthcoming, Harvard). Research interests include economic history, history of political economy.

Emma Winter

Assistant Professor of History

PhD Cambridge 2005; MPhil Cambridge 1999; BA Cambridge 1998. Author of "German fresco painting and the new Houses of Parliament at Westminster, 1834-51" The Historical Journal, 47 (2004), pp. 291-329 and "Between Louis and Ludwig: from the culture of French power to the power of German culture, c. 1789-1848" in H. Scott and B. Simms, eds., Cultures of Power in Europe during the Long Eighteenth Century (Cambridge, 2007), pp. 348- 68. Research interests include the cultural and intellectual history of late-eighteenth and nineteenth century Britain and Germany, particularly the concept of taste, processes of taste-making, and the role of tastemakers; cultural change, intercultural transfer, and trans-national exchange; nationalism and the construction of national cultures; state promotion of the arts, aesthetic approaches to governance, and the interaction between art, politics, and religion.

Rebecca Woods

Fellow, Columbia University Society of Fellows in the Humanities

Rebecca Woods received her PhD from MIT's History, Anthropology, Science, Technology, and Society Graduate Program in 2013. Woods's research explores the intersections of science, environment and the economy in the context of the British Empire in the long nineteenth century. During her tenure at the Society of Fellows, Woods will begin work on a new projectNan epistemological and environmental history of cold, provisionally entitled Suspended Animation: Science, Nature and the Economy of Cold. This work will trace ideas of, and engagements with, cold itself through scientific experimentation with low temperatures, arctic exploration, and the commoditization of ice and cold in the nineteenth century. Sometimes a structuring limit to human endeavor, at others an obstacle to be overcome, or a profitable resource upon which to be capitalized, cold served both as a phenomenological reality and increasingly as an object of inquiry and exchange in the imperial world of the nineteenth century. Scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and an avid consuming public each engaged with, and in so doing, reshaped cold as a basic element of the natural world and one that structured much of human existence.