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Faculty Fellow

Josephine McDonagh

George M. Pullman Professor of English University of Chicago


McDonagh's research and teaching focus on 19th-century British literature, especially in the contexts of colonialism, imperial expansion, and the migration of people across the world. McDonagh ranges across authors, genres and print forms, and explores questions about the kinds of knowledge that literature produces. How and when do literary texts intersect with works in, for instance, history, the law or political economy? And to what effect? McDonagh is interested in what happens when literary texts move from one continent to another, or across time, often in fragmented forms; and, on a smaller scale, in the various ways that ideas and motifs in literature jump from one text to another, recombined and refracted in the company of others. She has written books about Thomas De Quincey and George Eliot, and a study of ideas about child murder in eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; and edited volumes on gender politics, 19th-century science and literature, Charles Dickens and the French Revolution, and on 19th-century colonial commodity cultures.

Since 2021, McDonagh has served as Director of the Nicholson Center for British Studies, the University’s focal point for the multidisciplinary study of all things to do with the British Isles and any of Britain’s former colonies.

For more details on her research and publications, please visit her profile page at the University of Chicago.