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Prof Margot Finn
26 Gordon Square
UCL History Department
Tel: 020 7679 3628
Prof Margot Finn profile picture
  • Chair in Modern British Hiostory
  • Dept of History
  • Faculty of S&HS

I completed my PhD in Modern European (including British) History at Columbia University in New York in 1987 and then taught on the core Social Science curriculum for two years at the University of Chicago as a William Rainer Harper Fellow.  Prior to taking up my appointment at UCL in July 2012, I held appointments in the History departments at Emory University (1989-2000) and Warwick University (2000-2012). In the latter institution I served as Head of Department, History (2006-2009), founding Director of the Institute of Advanced Study (2007-2009) and Pro Vice Chancellor (2011-2012). My professional responsibilities have included serving as editor, Journal of British Studies (July 1997-2001) and a founding co-editor of Cambridge Modern British Histories; Council Member (2002-2005), Vice President (2009-2012) and President (2016-2020) of the Royal Historical Society; AHRC Peer Review College member (2004-2008); History Sub-panel Member, REF2014 and REF2021 (deputy chair); Trustee, Victoria & Albert Museum (2012-2018) and Migration Museum (2021-present).

Research Summary

I am an historian of Britain and the British colonial world in the 'very long 19th century', c. 1750-1914.  I have published monographs on British radicalism (After Chartism: Class & Nation in English Radical Politics, 1848-1884, Cambridge University Press, 1993) and on English consumer culture (The Character of Credit: Debt and Credit in English Culture, 1740-1914, Cambridge University Press, 2003), as well as a co-edited volume on bastards in 19th-century British culture (Legitimacy and Illegitimacy in Nineteenth-Century Law, Literature and History, Palgrave/Macmillan, 2010). Working collaboratively with a Leverhulme Trust funded team of UCL historians and a host of public history researchers, my project on material imperial histories resulted in two coedited volumes: New Paths to Public Histories (Palgrave Pivot, 2015) and The East India Company at Home, 1757-1857 (open access, UCL Press, 2018). I am currently completing a monograph on the family (both British and Indian) in the making of British imperialism on the Indian subcontinent, c. 1757-1857.   

Teaching Summary
At Undergraduate level, I teach the core 1st-year Making History: Group Project course as well as two upper-level courses on British colonialism and imperial culture: Law's Empire: Legal Cultures in the British Colonial World and Antipodean Encounters: Aborigines, Convicts & Settlers in New South Wales, 1770-1850.  My MA-level teaching focuses on material culture and the histories of place and space.  At doctoral level, I have supervised PhD students in a wide range of topics in 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century history, with an emphaisis on colonial, cultural, legal and social histories of modern Britain.
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