Alexandra Owen Professor Emeritus
Alexandra Owen (Ph.D., University of Sussex, 1987) is Professor of History and Gender Studies and a social and cultural historian specializing in nineteenth and twentieth century Britain. Her research interests include interdisciplinary approaches to questions of gender and sexuality, the history of medicine, psychology, and psychoanalysis, and religion and modern heterodox spiritualities. She is currently working on a new book with the working title Culture, Psyche and the Soul in Early Twentieth Century Britain, which investigates the post-World War 1 attempt to reconcile different forms of spirituality with a new (often Freudian) dynamic model of the mind. She is the author of The Darkened Room: Women, Power and Spiritualism in Late Victorian England, 1989, 1990, reissued 2004, and The Place of Enchantment: British Occultism and the Culture of the Modern published by the University of Chicago Press in 2004; paperback edition, 2007.
The recipient of Rockefeller, Fulbright, and National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships, she has been a research fellow at Harvard University and the National Humanities Center. She has recently given talks at Columbia University, Princeton University, and U.C.L.A. and is a keynote speaker at a May 2007 conference on "Magical Thinking" at the University of London. She was appointed the Board of Lady Managers Professor from 2004-06 in recognition of her scholarship, teaching, and mentoring of students.
In addition to British history, Alex Owen regularly teaches a large undergraduate class on the history of feminist thought and a 405 seminar introducing graduate students to theoretical and methodological issues in women's and gender history. Her graduate students work across the spectrum of social, cultural, and imperial history, and dissertation topics include Victorian emigration and the idea of "race," women missionaries in Africa, and colonial medicine in the British West Indies. One of her recent graduate students (2006 Ph.D.) is an Assistant Professor at Grinnell College, and a current fourth-year graduate student holds a prestigious Mellon research fellowship at the Institute of Historical Research in London and has been named a 2007-08 Northwestern Presidential Fellow.