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Susan Thorne, Associate Professor, History

Susan Thorne
Contact Info:
Office Location:  336 Classroom Building
Office Phone:  (919) 593-2810
Email Address: send me a message
Web Page:

Teaching (Spring 2023):

  • HISTORY 313.01, CRIME AND THE CITY Synopsis
    Class Bldg 103, MW 03:30 PM-04:45 PM
    (also cross-listed as AAAS 226.01)

Ph.D.University of Michigan, Ann Arbor1990
M.A.University of Michigan, Ann Arbor1984
B.A.University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill1981

Comparative Colonial Studies
Labor and Working Class History
Politics, Public Life and Governance
African Diaspora
Global Transnational History
European and Russia
Research Interests: Imperial Britain 1750-1950, missions and empire, literature and history, poverty and poor relief

My research agenda is broadly informed by my interest in the influence of imperialism on the social and political development of the world's first industrial nation. My first book, Congregational missions and the making of an imperial culture in nineteenth-century England (Stanford, 1999), extended my Ph.D dissertation's exploration of missionary influences on Victorian perceptions of the subject populations of the British empire. My research interests have since taken a more domestic turn, focusing primarily on public policy discussions of the welfare of especially orphaned children from the early eighteenth through the middle of the twentieth century. I am currently working on a book-length study of a south London parish in which the city's most eminent chronicler staged the suffering childhoods in which he specialized. “The Dickensian Affect: Reckonings with Reform in Early Victorian Southwark” measures Dickens' contribution to Victorian perceptions of poverty and kinship by comparing the experiences embodied in parish boys like Oliver Twist with the personalities and events recorded in parish records. I have also begun work on a larger project, a collection of topical essays that illuminate the wide ranging ways in which child welfare, public policy and citizenship intersected across the British Empire from the eighteenth century through the present.

Current Ph.D. Students   (Former Students)

    Postdocs Mentored

    • Robert G Penner (August 25, 2006 - November 13, 2012)  
    Recent Publications   (More Publications)

    1. Thorne, S, Steven S. Maughan. Mighty England Do Good: Culture, Faith, Empire, and World in the Foreign Missions of the Church of England, 1850–1915. Studies in the History of Christian Missions. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 2014. Pp. 527. $45.00 (paper)., Journal of British Studies, vol. 55 no. 1 (January, 2016), pp. 209-210, Cambridge University Press (CUP) [doi]
    2. S. Thorne, “Steven S. Maughan. Mighty England Do Good: Culture, Faith, Empire, and World in the Foreign Missions of the Church of England, 1850-1915 (Grand Rapids, MI / Cambridge UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2014)”, Journal of British Studies (2015) (forthcoming 2016?.)
    3. Thorne, S, Capitalism and Slavery Compensation, Small Axe, vol. 16 no. 1 37 (March, 2012), pp. 154-167, Duke University Press (Book Discussion: Nicholas Draper, The Price of Emancipation: Slave-Ownership, Compensation, and British Society at the End of Slavery.) [154.full.pdf+html], [doi]  [abs]
    4. Thorne, S, Feminism and empire: women activists in imperial Britain, 1790–1865 - By Clare Midgley. London and New York: Routledge, 2007. Pp. x + 206. Hardback £70.00, ISBN 978-0-415-25014-6; paperback £19.99, ISBN 978-0-415-25015-3., Journal of Global History, vol. 6 no. 3 (November, 2011), pp. 541-542, Cambridge University Press (CUP), ISSN 1740-0228 [Gateway.cgi], [doi]
    5. Thorne, S, Colonialism in Question: Theory, Knowledge, History. By Frederick Cooper, The European Legacy, vol. 12 no. 2 (April, 2007), pp. 270-270, Taylor and Francis [repository]

    I have been awarded research fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies (1993-94), the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation (1988-89), and the Social Science Research Council (1985-87).