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Dr William Tullett

Tullett_WilliamTeaching Fellow in Early Modern History


Address Department of History
King's College London
4E, Chesham Building 
London WC2R 2LS

Twitter @WillTullett




Will Tullett joined the Department as Teaching Fellow in September 2016.

After attending his local state school in East Sussex, Will gained a first class honours degree in History from the University of Oxford. He then came to Kings for his MA in Eighteenth-Century Studies (gained with Distinction) and stayed for his PhD, which he completed in August 2016.

His doctoral research, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, was a study of smells, smelling, and the senses in England between 1660 and 1830, and he is currently preparing this for publication as his first book.

Will has published papers on early modern perfumery, odor and pleasure gardens, and race and smell. He is currently working on articles on the relationship between smell and disinfection and eighteenth-century understandings of skin. 

Research interests and PhD supervision
  • British society and culture 1600-1860
  • Sensory history and the history of the senses
  • History of the body and medical history
  • Urban history and materiality
  • Histories of embodiment and experience
  • Interdisciplinary social and cultural history

Will’s research focuses on sensory history, the history of the body, and urban society and culture in Britain. He is especially interested in using sensory approaches and understandings of materiality to trace the lived experience of the past.

His PhD thesis examined how changing cultures of consumption, sociability, and the body were mutually entwined with changing experiences of smelling between 1660 and 1830, giving birth to new notions of personal space, privacy in public, and sensory selfhood. His PhD research encompassed a range of themes including tobacco and the coffee house, sanitation on the streets, and perfumes on pacific voyages.

His research is firmly interdisciplinary and draws on anthropology, literary criticism, neurohistory, cultural geography, and material culture studies. His two current research projects are a comparative history of the soundscapes of urban England between 1660 and 1830 and the early modern pre-history of occupational health. 

Selected publications

‘Grease and Sweat: Race and Smell in Eighteenth-Century English Culture’, Cultural and Social History, (Published online in open access 4th July 2016, in print October 2016)

‘The Macaroni’s ‘Ambrosial essences’. Perfume, Identity and Public Space in Eighteenth-Century England’, Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 38:2, (2015), pp. 163-180

'The Success of Sweet Smells', History Today, 65:8, (2015), pp.28-35

Will teaches early modern history at undergraduate and masters level including history of London, the body, crime, war, and historical methology and theory.
Expertise and public engagement

I have written for History Today and also been interviewed about my research for the popular podcast Life in Scents.

I competed for and won funding for an adult study day at the Victoria and Albert Museum, as part of their learning programme, on the history of perfumery scheduled. This tookplace on March 19th 2016. I have also given two talks and taken part in an evening of discussion and workshops for a separate Victoria and Albert Museum event coinciding with the launch of the redesigned Europe 1600-1800 galleries during February 2016. I have given a response talk at the Arts Council England funded exhibition ‘Middens’ at Kingsgate Workshops in Hampstead, London, in January 2016.

I am interested in thinking about how sensory history, particularly smell and sound, can be better integrated into museums and welcomes discussions with cultural institutions who want to re-odorize their interpretations of the past.









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