Photo of Julie Murray

Julie Murray

Associate Professor

Degrees:B.A. (Queen’s University), M.A. (University of Toronto), Ph.D. (York University)
Office:1803 Dunton Tower

Research Interests

  • Eighteenth-century British literature and culture
  • British Romanticism
  • Literary Theory/Cultural Theory
  • Theories of Modernity
  • Biopolitics
  • Literature and Humanitarianism
  • Feminist Theory and Gender Studies
  • Women and Literature

Research Interests

My current research interests are in eighteenth-century and early nineteenth-century British literature and culture with a focus on women’s writing, intellectual history, feminism, and histories and theories of modernity. I am currently completing a book entitled “Feminism, A Biography: Mary Wollstonecraft, Modernity, Life Narrative.” At its most broad, my book tells a different story about women and modernity than the still overwhelmingly triumphalist ones. Late 18th-century histories of society took the treatment of women as an index of a culture’s modernity or civilization, 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 celebratory 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 (and her place in the narratives and historiography of Western feminism) is central to this aim. Wollstonecraft’s bracing critique of late eighteenth-century conjectural history (the genre of historical writing that invents at once both “tradition” and “modernity”) for its chivalric paternalism, and her impatience with the biographical genre known as “women worthies” (still the dominant genre of popular feminism to this day) for its exceptionalism, is key to understanding everything from the legacy of early anthropology in current human rights regimes to the ways in which life narrative is called upon to manage the painful contradictions of feminism and modernity.

In 2017 I co-organized with Lauren Gillingham (University of Ottawa) the 25th meeting of the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism (NASSR) on the topic of “Romantic Life.”  Papers from the conference were published in the conference volume of European Romantic Review in June 2018.

Recent Honours and Awards

  • 2019-20 Faculty Graduate Mentoring Award
  • (co-applicant) SSHRC Insight Development Grant (2016-19)
  • 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

Recent and Forthcoming Publications

Six entries in The Cambridge Guide to the Eighteenth-Century Novel, 1660-1820. Ed. April London.  “Memoirs of Female Philosophers…By a Modern Philosopher of the Other Sex (1808); The Empire of the Nairs: Or, Rights of Women. An Utopian Romance (1811); Marian (1812); The Heart and the Fancy, Or, Valsinore. A Tale (1813); Gulzara, Princess of Persia; Or, The Virgin Queen (1816); The Royal Wanderer, Or The Exile of England (1815).” Forthcoming.

“Sensibility: passion, emotion, affect.” The Cambridge Companion to Eighteenth-Century Thought.  Ed. Frans De Bruyn. Cambridge UP. In press.

“Mary Wollstonecraft, Feminist Killjoy.” Romantic Circles, Praxis Series. “Mary Wollstonecraft Even Now.” Ed. Sonia Hofkosh. October 2019.

“1970s Critical Reception.” Mary Wollstonecraft in Context. Eds. Nancy E. Johnson and Paul Keen. Cambridge UP, 2020. 57-63.

“Romantic Life.” NASSR conference issue co-edited with Lauren Gillingham. European Romantic Review. 29.3 (June 2018): 271-430.

Introduction to “Romantic Life.” Co-authored with Lauren Gillingham. NASSR conference issue of European Romantic Review. 29.3 (2018): 271-274.

“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

“Feminist Historiography’s Stadialism.” International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Edinburgh, July 2019.

“Mary Wollstonecraft and Presentism.” North American Society for the Study of Romanticism. Chicago, August 2019.

 “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)