Photo of Julie Murray

Julie Murray

Degrees:B.A. (Queen’s University), M.A. (University of Toronto), Ph.D. (York University)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2315
Office:1818 Dunton Tower

Research Interests

  • Eighteenth-century British literature and culture
  • British Romanticism
  • Literary Theory/Cultural Theory
  • Literature and Human Rights
  • Feminist Theory and Gender Studies
  • Women and Literature

Research Interests

My primary research and teaching interests are in eighteenth-century and Romantic-period literature and culture with a focus on women’s writing, the history of emotion, and theories of modernity.

In recent years, my research has focused on interrogating the logic of progressive modernity that underlies both feminism and feminist historiography. I am currently completing a book entitled “Mary Wollstonecraft, Feminist Historiography, and Modernity.” At its most broad, my book tells a different story about women and modernity than the typically triumphalist ones. Late 18th-century histories of society took the treatment of women as an index of a culture’s modernity or civilization, and so women were symbolically built into the fabric of progressive historiographies of the period. One line of my book’s argument points to the long shadow cast by the centrality of women to the triumphalist modernity of these conjectural histories: the fact, for instance, that the West still tends to see in the refusal to educate women signs of barbarity and an intransigent non-modernity, something that informs current understandings of human rights as an unassailable feature of progressive modernity. A key aim of the book is to explore what happens when we don’t begin from this sanguine premise, and a significant re-thinking of the work of Mary Wollstonecraft is central to this aim. In chapters on the biographical and historiographical work of British women writers such as Elizabeth Hamilton, Mary Hays, Lucy Aikin, and Elizabeth Benger, my book explores the profound discursive linkages between the biographical and the biopolitical in the nineteenth century, and takes seriously the “life” in life-writing in order to examine how literature is intimately bound up with the terrain of life in this period.

Recent Honours and Awards

  • (co-applicant) Insight Development Grant (2016-18)
  • SSHRC 4A Research Grant, 2014, 2015.
  • Nominee, 2013 Faculty Graduate Mentoring Award
  • Carleton University Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Junior Faculty Research Award, 2013
  • Chawton House Library Fellow, May 2012
  • SSHRC Institutional Research Grant, 2005

Recent and Forthcoming Publications

Co-editor. “Romantic Life.” Conference issue of European Romantic Review. Forthcoming.

“1970s Critical Reception.” Mary Wollstonecraft in Context. Eds. Nancy E. Johnson and Paul Keen. Cambridge UP. Forthcoming.

Six entries in The Cambridge Guide to the Eighteenth-Century Novel, 1660-1820. Ed. April London. Forthcoming.

“Sensibility.” The Cambridge Companion to Eighteenth-Century Thought.  Ed. Frans De Bruyn. Forthcoming in 2018.

“Mary Wollstonecraft and Modernity.” Women’s Writing 23.3 (July 2016): 366-77. (Special Issue: Festschrift in honour of Professor Janet Todd: “A Life in Feminist Scholarship”).

“The Country and the City and the Colony in The Woman of Colour.” LUMEN. Vol. 33 (2014): 87-99.

“Mary Hays and the Forms of Life.” Studies in Romanticism.  52 (Spring 2013): 61-84.

“Histories of Female Progress in Memoirs of Modern Philosophers.”  Eighteenth-Century Fiction. 22.4 (Summer 2010): 673-692.

“Joanna Baillie’s Rayner and Romantic Spectacle.”  European Romantic Review.  21.1 (January 2010): 65-76.

“At the Surface of Romantic Interiority: Joanna Baillie’s Orra.” Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net.  No. 56 (November 2009).

“Company Rules: Burke, Hastings, and the Specter of the Modern Liberal State.” Eighteenth-Century Studies 41.1 (2007): 55-69.

“Governing Economic Man: Joanna Baillie’s Theatre of Utility.” ELH (English Literary History) 70.4 (2003): 1043-65.

Recent Presentations

“Mary Wollstonecraft and Progressive Historiography.” Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Toronto, October 2017.

“Royal Biography and Feminist Historiography” North American Society for the Study of Romanticism.” Berkeley, August 2016.

“Bookish Women and Royal Lives: Lucy Aikin and Elizabeth Benger.” Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Vancouver, October 2015.

“Mary Wollstonecraft and Modernity.” North American Society for the Study of Romanticism. Winnipeg, August 2015.

“Remembering Mary Wollstonecraft: Mary Hays’ Late Style.” American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Los Angeles, March 2015.

“Are Rights Modern?” Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Montreal, October 2014.

Recent Graduate Courses

ENGL 5402: “Being Human” in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture

ENGL 5408: Romanticism and Human Rights

ENGL 5402: The Culture of Curiosity in Eighteenth-Century Britain

ENGL 5402: Cultures of Progress and Improvement in the Eighteenth Century

Graduate Supervisions:


Amal El-Mohtar.  “Fairylands Forlorn: Fairies and Romantic Nationhood.”  In Progress.

Emma Peacocke.  “Public Museums and British Romanticism.” (Defended April 2013)


(Co-supervisor) Ingrid Reiche.  “A Digital Edition of A General History of the Pyrates.”  (Defended April 2016)