Dr. Esme Cleall


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Esme’s research and teaching relates to the social and cultural history of the British Empire; the politics of difference; and race and disability in nineteenth-century Britain.

After studying at Sheffield for her BA and MA degrees, Esme undertook her PhD at UCL. Her thesis, ‘Thinking with Missionaries: discourses of difference in India and southern Africa, c. 1840-1895’, used missionary writings as a prism through which to analyse the articulation of race and gender prejudice in the British Empire.She received an additional year of funding from UCL Graduate School to pursue cross-disciplinary training in Medical and Social Anthropology. Esme’s doctoral work formed the basis of her first book: Missionary Discourses of Difference: negotiating otherness in the British Empire, 1840-1900. After completing her PhD in 2009, she worked as a teaching fellow and research assistant at UCL and then as a Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Liverpool. She returned to the History Department at Sheffield in September 2012. Esme is currently working on a project about the relationship between ‘race’ and ‘disability’ in colonial thought, particularly focussing on changing constructions of deafness.

Full profile and publications.