Rutherford, Emily

Field: Modern Europe; Advisor: Pedersen; Year: 2014

I am a historian of modern Britain and Europe, with interests in gender and sexuality, intellectual history, and the history of education in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. My dissertation, The Politics and Culture of Gender in British Universities, 1860–1935, argues that gender was at the heart of how a variety of actors imagined universities might operate internally and of universities' increasingly significant relationship to government and the public sphere. Though late-nineteenth-century expert opinion coalesced rapidly around the support of large, coeducational research universities, gender segregation within the social and emotional lives of faculty and students remained normative—with consequences for the gender norms that structured the political and social institutions a new university-educated elite would go on to build.


I have also been working for several years on a project about the intellectual history of male homosexuality in modern England: a study of the voluminous manuscript writings on homosexuality of figures such as William Johnson Cory, Symonds, E.P. Warren, G.L. Dickinson, and E.M. Forster. It seeks to distinguish a hierarchical and antidemocratic strand of thinking about masculine intimacy, closely linked with elite education and with the Greek and Latin classics; and to demonstrate that this set of ideas both enjoyed widespread legitimacy within elite single-sex institutions in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and played a significant role in shaping a distinctively English conception of elite male homosexual identity.


My research has been funded by the Columbia Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Heyman Center for the Humanities, and the North American Council for British Studies.


"Arthur Sidgwick's Greek Prose Composition: Gender, Affect, and Sociability in the Late-Victorian University," Journal of British Studies 56, no. 1 (January 2017), 91-116

"Impossible Love and Victorian Values: J.A. Symonds and the Intellectual History of Homosexuality," Journal of the History of Ideas 75, no. 4 (October 2014), 605-627


- M.A. M.Phil., History, Columbia University, 2015, 2017

- M.Phil., Modern British & European History, University of Oxford, 2014

- B.A., History, Princeton University, 2012


At Columbia, I have served as a teaching assistant for lecture courses in modern British history (1783–1900 and 1900–present), modern European history (1789–present), and US intellectual history (1865–present). In 2015 and 2016 I was graduate assistant to the department's fellowship program for undergraduate students conducting senior thesis research in European archives, in which capacity I advised several thesis-writers. I am currently an instructor in Contemporary Civilization, a course in Western moral and political philosophy required of all sophomores as part of Columbia's Core Curriculum. I also work as a writing consultant at the GSAS Writing Studio.


From 2014 to 2017, I was founding editor of the Journal of the History of Ideas' Blog, a prominent online venue for new writing in intellectual history/history of ideas. I have also written widely for the public about my research: you can find out more on my personal website or by following me on Twitter @echomikeromeo.