Dr Zoe Laidlaw

Personal profile

Zoë Laidlaw has taught in the History Department at Royal Holloway since 2005, and became Reader in British Imperial and Colonial History in 2012. Between 2001 and 2005, she was Lecturer in International History at the University of Sheffield. She has undergraduate honours degrees in History and Mathematics from the University of Melbourne, and a DPhil in Modern History from the University of Oxford, where her studies were supported by a Commonwealth Scholarship.

Dr Laidlaw’s research covers Britain's empire and colonies in the nineteenth century, with particular focuses on imperial networks, humanitarianism, governance and colonial knowledge. Her Colonial Connections: Patronage, the Information Revolution and Colonial Government, was published in the Studies in Imperialism series by Manchester University Press in 2005; a paperback edition appeared in May 2012. She is currently completing the manuscript for Protecting Humanity: British Colonialism, Imperial Humanitarianism and the Aborigines' Protection Society, c. 1830-1870, which centres on the Aborigines Protection Society and its founder, Dr Thomas Hodgkin, in the mid-nineteenth century. She co-edited, with Alan Lester, the collection, Indigenous Communities and Settler Colonialism: Land Holding, Loss and Survival in an Interconnected World (Palgrave Macmillan: Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series, 2015). She was a partner investigator on the Australian Research Council project, ‘Minutes of Evidence: promoting new and collaborative ways of understanding Australia’s past and engaging with structural justice’, and is currently an international partner on the ARC Future Fellowship, ‘Reform in the Antipodes: Quaker humanitarians, imperial journeys and early histories of human rights’.

Dr Laidlaw currently supervises doctoral students working on the material culture of anti-slavery; on indigenous kingdoms in Southern Africa; on the Royal Navy and colonial collecting in early nineteenth-century Australia; on female emigration to Australia; and on British gardens and imperial botany. In the past she has supervised or co-supervised PhD projects on Indigenous education in Natal and Western Australia; on missionaries in South Africa and India; and on benevolent institutions in Birmingham and Sydney. She welcomes inquiries from prospective research students on any aspect of the social, political and cultural histories of the nineteenth-century British Empire. She also offers courses across the undergraduate and MA programmes in history.

Dr Laidlaw is a co-convener of the seminar series 'Reconfiguring the British: Nation, Empire, World' at the Institute of Historical Research in London.

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