Dr Emily Senior, Faculty of English




Biographical Information

I am Associate Professor in the Faculty of English. I arrived in Cambridge in 2023, having previously been Reader in Eighteenth-Century and Romantic Literature at Birkbeck, University of London and having taught at the University of Warwick and the Open University.

I am currently working on an AHRC-funded Fellowship on 'Anecdotal Evidence: Science and Storytelling in the Global Eighteenth-Century' (2022-24) and on a project on 'Colonial Collections and Digital Archiving’ which seeks to uncover details of Black and Indigenous naturalists and collectors.

Research Interests

My research interests are in eighteenth-century and Romantic writing and colonial cultures, with a focus on Caribbean and Atlantic literature, visual culture and the life sciences. My interests are driven by two overarching aims: to forge alternate genealogies and critical frameworks for eighteenth-century literatures by practicing reading in global terms that account for the significance of colonial modernity, and to reformulate debates about the history of disciplinarity by asking how literature shapes other ways of knowing the world. As part of that work I enjoy collaborating with colleagues from history of art, museums and galleries, and the histories of science and medicine.

Areas of Graduate Supervision

I welcome interest from potential students working on eighteenth-century and Romantic literatures; Caribbean and Atlantic literatures; the relationships between literature, science and medicine; environmental humanities; literatures of slavery and the afterlives of empire to the present day; global literary studies, and visual cultures of empire. 

I am currently supervising a collaborative doctoral award student in partnership with the Linnean Society of London funded by the AHRC and a Stuart Hall Foundation student working on a creative-critical project on Jamaican-British literary and cultural grief practices.

Selected Publications


Emily Senior, The Caribbean and the Medical Imagination, 1764-1834: Slavery, Disease and Colonial Modernity (Cambridge University Press, 2018; paperback 2020). Winner of the University English Book Prize 2019.

Edited Special Issues:

Emily Senior and Sarah Thomas (eds), Caribbean Visual Cultures, special issue of Atlantic Studies: Global Currents, Vol. 19, Issue 1 (Spring 2022).

Emily Senior and Sarah Easterby-Smith (eds), The Cultural Production of Eighteenth-Century Natural Knowledge, special issue of the Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Vol. 36, No. 4 (December 2013).