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Personal profile


I am currently Head of the School of Humanities. My main research areas lie in the area of Victorian literature and culture, with a specific focus on the interrelationship between empire, science and identity formation. My most recent book, Dickens and Race (MUP, 2013) explores how Dickens's views on race were informed by childhood reading, travel narratives and the scientific narratives of development. It was featured on the AHRC website here. I have a forthcoming co-edited collection Rereading Orphanhood: Texts, Inheritance, Kin (EUP 2020)

My first book, Orphan Texts: Victorian Orphans, Culture and Empire (MUP, 2000) examined how orphans came to embody difference in Victorian writing and culture. I have also recently edited the volume, Dickens and Childhood, for the six volume Ashgate Library of Essays on Charles Dickens (2012) brought out in celebration of the bicentenary of his birth.

I also maintain an interest in issues of race in contemporary writing.


PhD (English Literature, University of Kent at Canterbury)

MA (Modern Literature, University of Kent at Canterbury)

BA Hons (Trinity College, University of Toronto)

Professional affiliations

British Association of Victorian Studies (BAVS)

Dickens Fellowship



Throughout my career I have taught a range of modules covering Victorian literature, contemporary literature, Canadian literature, post-colonial writing and women's writing. Most recently I have taught modules on Charles Dickens, Writing by Women of Colour, Literature and Empire, Victorian literature and London in Literature.

PhD supervision:

Daniela Evans, Motherless: Orphans and Attachment in Mid-Victorian Literature (completed 2010, minor corrections)

Judy Bainbridge, 'The Nineteenth-Century School Story'

Tamara Wilson, 'A Requiem for my Father'

I would welcome applications for postgraduate research in any area related to my research.

Research Output 1995 2019

Rereading Orphanhood: Texts, Inheritence, Kin

Peters, L., 1 Sep 2019, (Submitted) Edinburgh : Edinburgh University Press.

Research output: Other contribution

'Savage Stories: Charles Dickens, "The Noble Savage" and the Childhood Imagination'

Peters, L., 2015, Dickens and the Imagined Child. Waters, C. & Merchant, P. (eds.). Ashgate, p. 151-166 15 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Dickens and Benjamin: Moments of Revelation, Fragments of Modernity

Peters, L., 2014, In : DICKENSIAN. 110, 493, p. 155-158

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Dickens and Race

Peters, L., 2013, Manchester University Press. 176 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Activities 2020 2020

  • 1 Types of Public engagement and outreach - Festival/Exhibition

Childhood in Dickensian London

Laura Peters (Organiser)
20 Jan 202020 Jun 2020

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Festival/Exhibition


Storybook Schools: representations of schools and schooling in British children’s fiction 1820-1880

Author: Bainbridge, J., 2015

Supervisor: Lathe, G. (External person) (Supervisor) & Peters, L. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis