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Durham University

Research & business

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Prof Julie-Marie Strange

Professor (Modern British History) in the Department of History

Contact Prof Julie-Marie Strange (email at julie-marie.strange@durham.ac.uk)

Biography

Prof. Julie-Marie Strange studied for her PhD at the University of Liverpool between 1996 and 2000. After a short stint working at Birkbeck, University of London, she joined the University of Manchester in 2003. She moved to Durham University in October 2019. 

Julie-Marie (shortened to J-M) is a Victorianist with long standing research interests in death and grief. Her first book, Death, Grief and Poverty, 1870-1914 (CUP, 2005), explored the profound emotional lives of ordinary people experiencing bereavement in late-Victorian and Edwardian Britain. She is currently writing about human experiences of pet bereavement and the rise of the public pet cemetery. 

Her second book, Fatherhood and the British Working Class, 1865-1914 (CUP, 2015) asked whether the Victorian labouring dad was as bad as he’s been depicted. Ranging across the symbolic importance of breadwinning (especially when men ‘failed’ at being breadwinners) to the comedy associated with hapless or hopeless (and sometimes cruel) dads to children’s perception of hobbies as the window into their father’s soul, the book demanded that we rethink the negative stereotypes of Victorian dad. This project was funded at different stages by the ESRC and AHRC.

Growing out of her research into poverty and social welfare, Julie-Marie was PI of an ESRC project into the growth of charitable fundraising in the late nineteenth century. The resulting book, The Charity Market and Humanitarianism in Britain, 1870-1912 (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018) was written with Sarah Roddy, the excellent Research Associate for the project and now Senior Lecturer at Manchester University, and Bertrand Taithe. 

In an unexpected but wholly exciting turn of events, Julie-Marie also collaborated on The Invention of the Modern Dog: Blood and Breed in Victorian Britain (Johns Hopkins UP, 2018) with Michael Worboys and Neil Pemberton. This AHRC funded book demonstrated the arbitrary origins of canine ‘pedigree’ within the dog fancy to show the artificiality of dog breeds. It also illustrated that some Victorian dog breeders warned others that the culture of breeding (and showing) dogs to pedigree standards would cause significant health problems within breeds. 

Recently, Julie-Marie has collaborated with Jane Hamlett (Royal Holloway) on Pets and Family Life, 1837-2000 (AHRC). This project is currently working towards producing a book and an exhibition at Geffrye, the Museum of the Home. The project traces how pets became integral to family life over the last two centuries, so much so that the pet industry is worth billions of pounds annually. Julie-Marie has also written and presented on pet bereavement. 

Aside from various articles and essays, Julie-Marie has co-curated museum exhibitions for the People’s History Museum, Manchester Museum and the National Trust. Although she can sometimes be found haunting the hallways of the twentieth century, her natural home is in the nineteenth. 

In October 2020, Julie-Marie will begin a three-year Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship on ‘Love in the Time of Capitalism: Emotion and the Making of the Working Class, 1848-1914’. 

Research Interests

  • Class, Emotion, Material Culture, Gender and Sexuality, Animals/ Dogs
  • Victorians

Publications

Authored book