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  • Academic staff

  • Dr Tom Crook

    Senior Lecturer in Modern British History

    School of History, Philosophy and Culture

    Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences


    Phone number: +44 (0)1865 484246

    Email: tcrook@brookes.ac.uk


    I was awarded my doctorate by the University of Manchester in 2005, the same year I began working at Oxford Brookes. Besides teaching and writing on the history of modern Britain, I also act as Postgraduate Research Tutor for the Department of History, Philosophy and Religion.


    • U67881: Evil in European Thought and Culture, c. 1750-1950 (third-year, advanced study module)   
    I currently lead one third-year specialist module, entitled Evil in European Thought and Culture, c. 1750-1950. Offered as an Advanced Study Module in the History of Ideas, the module introduces students to some of the ways key European thinkers (Voltaire, Nietzsche, Arendt) and writers (Dostoyevsky, Conrad) grappled with extremes of human behaviour and suffering during the period c. 1750-c. 1950.


    • P67501: MA in History Core Course: The Theory and Practice of History
    • P67502: MA Elective: Body Politics: Health and Modernity in England, c. 1830-1914

    As well as contributing to the MA in History Core Course, I also run a specialist MA module on the history of public health in Victorian and Edwardian England, entitled Body Politics. The module ranges over various aspects of a remarkably abundant field of governance, from vaccination and disease notification to nuisance inspection and housing reform. The aim is to capture the politics of public health and the profound struggle in which it was forged as a modern system of governance. Though in some respects very different to that of today, Victorian and Edwardian public health still has a profound resonance – not least in ongoing antagonisms regarding taxpayer expense, individual privacy, the accuracy of statistical information, and the role and extent of the ‘central State’.

    Research supervision

    I am very happy to supervise doctoral research on all aspects of Victorian and Edwardian governance, especially those concened with public health and welfare, and logistics and technology (considerations of time, space and speed). I'm also keen to supervise projects that deal with the 'darker side' of modern British society (secrecy, corruption, violence and conspiracy). My current and completed research students—doctoral and post-doctoral—are detailed below.

    Doctoral and post-doctoral supervision
    • Dr Mike Esbester, “Living in Safety: The Culture of ‘Safety’ and Accident Prevention in Everyday Life in Britain, c.1900-2000” (AHRC-funded, Early Career Fellowship, Nov 2010-Aug 2011)
    • Dr Stefan Fisher-Høyrem: “Time Machines: Technology and the Performance of Secular Time in Victorian England” (Norwegian Government scholarship, Sep 2008-Sep 2012)
    • Dr Steven Byrne: “Variation, Classification and Education: The Making and Remaking of the ‘Normal Child’ in England, c. 1880-1914” (AHRC-funded, Sep 2009-Sep 2013)
    • Dr Pete Mills: “Popular Conspiracism in Britain, c. 1880-1914” (AHRC-funded, Sep 2010-Sep 2014)
    • (Co-Director with Dr Jim Cooper) Sarah Slator: “Political Repression in the USA and South Africa in the 1940s to 1960s: A Comparison of Liberal and Illiberal Democracies” (Sep, 2015-Present)

    I am currently completing a book on Victorian and Edwardian public health, entitled Governing Systems: Modernity and the Making of Public Health in England, 1830-1910. The aim is to rethink the contested, contingent development of public health during this period by foregrounding its novel temporal (reflexive) and spatial (trans-local) dynamics, and the way it evolved—to put it crudely—through a dual empowerment of experts and members of the public.

    My next project will be on secrecy and modernity in England, c. 1750 to 1950, and the inclusion within various systems of governance (political, legal, sexual and commercial in particular) of ‘corrupt’ elements, agents and practices – bribery, spying, prostitution and fraud, for instance. Paradoxically, it was elements of this sort, otherwise thought of as evil and pathological, which allowed these systems to function at all – that, at least, is the working hypothesis!


    Journal articles

    • Crook M, Crook T, 'Ballot papers and the practice of elections: Britain, France and the United States of America, c. 1500–2000'
      Historical Research 88 (241) (2015) pp.530-561
      ISSN: 0950-3471 eISSN: 0950-3471
      Abstract Website
    • Crook T, 'Habit as switchpoint'
      Body and Society 19 (2013) pp.275-281
      ISSN: 1357-034X eISSN: 1357-034X
      Abstract Website
    • Crook M, Crook T, 'Reforming voting practices in a global age: the making and remaking of the modern secret ballot in Britain, France and the United States, c.1600-c.1950'
      Past and Present 212 (1) (2011) pp.199-237
      ISSN: 0031-2746 eISSN: 0031-2746
    • Crook T, 'Civil Religion and the History of Democratic Modernity: Probing the Limits of the Sacred and the Secular'
      Religion Compass 4 (6) (2010) pp.376-387
      ISSN: 1749-8171 eISSN: 1749-8171
      Abstract Website
    • Crook T, 'Craft and the Dialogics of Modernity: The Arts and Crafts Movement in Late-Victorian and Edwardian England'
      Journal of Modern Craft 2 (1) (2009) pp.17-32
      ISSN: 1749-6772 eISSN: 1749-6772
      Abstract Website
    • Crook T, 'Putting matter in its right place: dirt, time and regeneration in mid-Victorian Britain'
      Journal of Victorian Culture 13 (2) (2008) pp.200-222
      ISSN: 1355-5502 eISSN: 1355-5502
    • Crook T, 'Norms, Forms and Beds: Spatializing Sleep in Victorian Britain'
      Body and Society 14 (4) (2008) pp.15-35
      ISSN: 1357-034X eISSN: 1357-034X
      Abstract Website
    • Crook T, 'Accommodating the outcast: common lodging houses and the limits of urban governance in Victorian and Edwardian London'
      Urban History 35 (3) (2008) pp.414-436
      ISSN: 0963-9268 eISSN: 0963-9268
      Abstract Website
    • Crook M, Crook T, 'The Advent of the Secret Ballot in Britain and France, 1789-1914: From Public Assembly to Private Compartment'
      History 92 (2007) pp.449-471
      ISSN: 0018-2648 eISSN: 0018-2648

    Book chapters

    • Crook T, 'Evil in Question: The Victorian Social and the Politics of Prostitution, 1830-1900' in Evil, Barbarism and Empire Britain and Abroad, c.1830 - 2000, Palgrave Macmillan (2011)
      ISBN: 9780230241275



    Conference papers and talks given since 2014

    • (29/8/2015) “Continuity, change and the Victorians: Reposing the question.” Presented to the annual BAVS conference, “Victorian Age(s)”, 27-29 August 2015, Leeds Trinity University, as part of the BAVS President’s Concluding Roundtable on Periodization.  
    • (27/6/2015) “Secrecy, privacy and publicity: trajectories of ‘corruption’, c. 1830–1910”. Presented to “Privacy, Literacy and the Self: A Conference in Honour of David Vincent”, the Open University, Camden, London.
    • (13/3/2015) (with Malcolm Crook) “Contesting ‘corruption’: Electoral morality and practice in Britain and France, c. 1830–1914”. Presented to the conference “Elections and Electoral Corruption in the Early Modern Period”, Haus der Universität, Bern.
    • (19/6/2014) “Theologies, discourses and materialities of power: a brief word on some new (and divergent) directions” and “Thinking-doing-voting: the ballot paper and the political”. Presented to the workshop “Rethinking ‘the state’ and ‘the political’: new histories and directions”, Oxford Brookes University. 
    • (28/5/2014) “The (non-)politics of statistics in Victorian England: Public health and public numeracy”. Presented to the “Writing about Numeracy and Numbers Workshop Series: The Final Countdown”, University of Bristol.