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Professor of History, Birkbeck, University of London

Joanna Bourke is Professor of History in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology at Birkbeck College.

She is currently engaged in a large, Wellcome Trust-funded project investigating the history of pain between the 18th and 21st centuries, and is author of the forthcoming book: The Story of Pain: From Prayer to Painkillers (Oxford University Press, June 2014).

Over the years, her work has ranged from the social and economic history of Ireland in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, to social histories of the British working classes between 1860 and 1960s, to cultural histories of military conflict between the American Civil War and the present, to a history of fear. In recent years, she has been researching the history of sexual violence, which resulted in a book entitled Rape: A History from the 1860s to the Present. In 2011, she published a history of what it means to be human, exploring human-animal relations between 1791 and the present.


  • –present
    Professor of History, Birkbeck, University of London