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Dr. Chris Bischof
Assistant Professor of History
I am a historian of modern Britain and the world. My first book, Teaching Britain: Elementary Education and the State of the Everyday, 1846-1902 (under contract with Oxford University Press), explores the social, cultural, and political work that elementary teachers in Victorian Britain did – especially outside school hours and beyond the walls of the classroom.

My next project, Easy Fixes: Race, Capitalism, and Social Engineering Schemes in the British West Indies, c. 1830-1865 explores a series of relatively cheap, targeted interventions which missionaries, imperial policymakers, and plantation owners – three groups otherwise almost perpetually at odds with one another – believed could usher in a new era of humanitarian capitalism in the aftermath of emancipation in the British West Indies.

Articles relating to these projects have appeared in journals such as Past & Present, the English Historical Review, Journal of Social History, and History of Education Quarterly. This work has also been supported with several grants and fellowships, including a Spencer Foundation/National Academy of Education Postdoctoral Fellowship, which is supporting a research leave for the 2018 calendar year.

Grants and Fellowships

2017-2018: Spencer Foundation/National Academy of Education Postdoctoral Fellowship

2014: Summer Research Grant, Franklin & Marshall College

2013-2014: Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, Rutgers University

2011-2012: Spencer Foundation/National Academy of Education Dissertation

2010, 2011: Mellon Summer Research Grants, Rutgers University

2009-2010: Graduate Associate, Rutgers Center for European Studies

2009: Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences Research Grant


2014: Honorable Mention for History of Education Society Biannual Article Prize, for “Masculinity, Social Mobility, and the Plan to End Pauperism in Mid-Victorian England”


2014: “Seeing the World: Proto-Ethnography and Cultural Play in British Elementary Teachers’ Imperial and European Travel Narratives,” at the UK History of Education Society Annual Conference, Dublin, Ireland

2014: “Making the Malleable Child: Emancipation, Elementary Education, and the Missionary Articulation of Childhood in Jamaica, 1838-1865,” American Historical Association Annual Conference, Washington D.C.

2013: “Narrating Value: Elementary Teachers’ Work and the Use of Logbooks, 1862-1902,” at the Princeton-Rutgers Graduate Student Interdisciplinary Conference on Use/Value, Princeton, NJ

2013: “Elementary Teachers’ Narration of Work in Victorian London and Glasgow,” Mid-Atlantic Conference on British Studies Conference, New York, NY

2013: “’Fine specimens of English peasantry’: Pastoralism in Victorian Teachers’ Travel Narratives,” at the Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Conference, Charlottesville, VA

2012: “Elementary Education and the Limits of Slums and Slumming in Victorian London and Glasgow,” at the University of Warwick “Unplanned Wildernesses: Narrating the British Slum, 1844-1951,” Conference, Coventry, England

2012: “The Harvest Must Go On: Laissez-Faire Capitalism, Liberal Humanitarianism, and the Problem of Labor in the Post- Emancipation British West Indies,” at the NYU Atlantic History Seminar’s “Legends of Empire” Conference, New York, NY

2012: “Chinese Laborers and the Remaking of Creole Blackness in the Post- Emancipation British West Indies,” at the Mid-Atlantic World History Association Conference, New Brunswick, NJ

2011 “Pay, Prestige, and Lifestyle: The Hiring of Elementary Teachers in Glasgow and the Highlands and Islands, 1846-1902,” at the “Historical Perspectives on Scottish Education” Conference of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland

2011: “The Case for ‘Scholarly Activism’: Communication and Community Empowerment,” opening remarks at the Activism and Scholarship Graduate Student Roundtable, New Brunswick, NJ

2011: “Teachers Behaving Badly: Narrative, Scandal, and the Paradigmatic Pedagogue in Victorian Britain,” at the “Victorian Voices and Visions” Graduate Conference, Princeton, NJ

2011: “The Nation in a College: Britishness and Cosmopolitanism in Victorian Teachers’ Training Colleges,” at the Mid-Atlantic Conference on British Studies, Abington, PA

2011: “Resisting the 'Peculiar Seductions' of Urban Environments: Sexuality, Criminality, and the Culture of Space in Victorian Britain,” at Yale’s “Healthy Environments in Historical Perspective”
Conference, New Haven, CT

2010: "Corporal Punishment as an Incitement to Discourse: Teachers, Caning, and Community in Nineteenth-Century England," at the Susman Graduate Conference, New Brunswick, NJ

2010: "Farming as Education in Modern Britain," at the “City and the Country Across Disciplines” Interdisciplinary Roundtable of the Rutgers British Studies Center, New Brunswick, NJ

2010: "Cultivating the Country: Pastoralism and Juvenile Reclamation in Britain, 1848-1870," at the Childhood Studies Graduate Conference, Camden, NJ

2010: "Demands of the Present, Hopes for the Future: Representing Truancy in England's Elementary Schools, 1870-1914," at the Rutgers British Studies Project Graduate Student Conference, New Brunswick, NJ

2010: “Negotiating Discipline: A Comparative Study of Corporal Punishment in Victorian London and Shropshire’s Elementary Schools," at the “Poetics of Pain” CUNY Graduate Conference, New York, NY

2009: "The Nature of Class: Education, Class Mobility, and Charity at Kneller Hall Training College, 1848-1854," at the Mid-Atlantic Conference on British Studies, Richmond, VA

2009 "Matronly Men and Breadwinning Boys: Class, Gender, and Domesticity in English Pauper Education, 1838-1860," at the Susman Graduate Conference, New Brunswick, NJ


“A ‘Rich Crop of Nervousness’: Childhood, Expertise, and Elementary Education in the 1884 British Over-Pressure Controversy,” The English Historical Review 131, 553 (2016), 1415-1444.

Chinese Laborers, Free Blacks, and Social Engineering in the Post-Emancipation British West Indies, Past & Present 231 (2016), 129-168.

Awarded the 2017 Walter D. Love Prize for the best article in British history by the North American Conference on British Studies.

“‘A Home For Poets’: The Emergence of a Liberal Curriculum for Elementary Teachers in Victorian Britain,” History of Education Quarterly, 54, 1 (Spring, 2014), 42-69

“Masculinity, Social Mobility, and the Plan to End Pauperism in Mid-Victorian England: Kneller Hall Teachers’ Training College,” The Journal of Social History 46, 4 (Summer, 2013), 1039-1059.


Schoolteachers and Professionalism, 1696-1906,” in Robert Anderson, Mark Freeman and Lindsey Patterson eds., The Edinburgh History of Education in Scotland (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015), 208-225

Ph.D., Rutgers University 2014
B.A., University of Arizona 2008
Contact Information
219 Ryland Hall
(804) 289-8335
Areas of Expertise
Modern Britain and the World
History of Education
British Emancipation