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Biography

I am a product of a liberal arts education – a combined Arts/Law degree from the University of Melbourne in which I pursued a major in Medieval and Renaissance History with minors in English Literature, European politics and the study of Italian. I carried these experiences of interdisciplinarity, critical thinking and flexible learning into careers in law and the Australian civil service, before moving into academia and undertaking my doctorate in Modern British History at Wadham College, Oxford.

Teaching has always been at the heart of my decision to work in the University sector. I taught modern British and European History for over eight years at the University of Oxford before moving to King’s in 2015. In my work within the Department of History, I received a King’s Award for Inclusive Education (2019), a joint King’s Award for Employee Engagement (2017) and was nominated for a Teaching Excellence Award (2016) and Student Support Award (2019). I gained a Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy in 2018 and I am a Fellow and Officer (2018-21) of the Royal Historical Society. I joined the Department of Liberal Arts as its Director in 2020.

My research interests reflect this interdisciplinary background, a cross-periodisation focus and a commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion. They centre on the shifts in social and cultural identities and subjectivities across the nineteenth- and twentieth-centuries through the lens of gender, class, ethnicity, sexuality and religiosity. I am particularly interested in the manifestations of these self-definitions and personal politics through ritual and performance, pilgrimage, material and visual cultures and spatial and narrative practices. Recent publications have explored understandings of ‘modern love’ and romance, contraception and politicised sexualities through the ‘long 1960s’. Evolving research agendas carry these preoccupations into new territory unearthing alternative and unexpected ideological resources for anti-racism activism and the refashioning of medical ethics. I always seek dynamic ways to engage the public with my research – collaborating with artists (Somerset House), musicians (a collaborative composition released on Naxos) and creative practitioners (exhibitions at the London Science Gallery and Ushaw College).

For more information, please see my full research profile.

Research interests and PhD supervision

  • Religious identities, (post) secularisation, religious pluralism and the missionary movement
  • Gender, Sexuality and Feminism
  • Modern History of London
  • Ethnicity, Diasporic Identities and Racism
  • Ritual, Material Cultures and Pilgrimage
  • Film, Visual Sources and Oral History

Teaching

Dr Harris teaches modules encompassing the history of Britain in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with a particular focus on the history of London and modern constructions and experiences of gender identities, ethnicity and sexuality.

She is also interested in the interdisciplinary connections between history and other branches of the humanities and social sciences, particularly anthropology, cultural geography, theology and sociology. These theoretical interests encompass the development of varied historiographical approaches to the study of the past and the diversification of source materials used for this study (especially the use of visual sources, film, material culture and life narratives). 

Expertise and public engagement

Dr Harris is member of the Steering Committee for the Women’s History Network, the Centre for Church Growth Research (St John’s College, University of Durham) and a member of the Executive Board for the AHRC-funded project ‘Pilgrimage and England’s Cathedrals, Past and Present’ (Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture, University of York).

She has provided advice to television and radio production companies in the preparation of programmes on modern Catholicism, pilgrimage, queer London and historical approaches to mission and evangelisation. Her expertise also encompasses areas of contemporary religious pluralism in Britain and the intersections between religion and migration.

Dr Harris is a regular, commissioned contributor to The Tablet (an international Catholic weekly magazine) and a (lay) representative on the English Anglican-Roman Catholic Ecumenical Committee.

Within these areas of expertise, encompassing gender, religion and migration, Dr Harris contributes to the History and Policy network.