Elizabeth Lutgendorff

Elizabeth Lutgendorff


Email: elizabeth.lutgendorff-2012@brookes.ac.uk

Thesis title: Investigating the idea of decline in the UK secular movement from 1890–1920

Start year: 2012


Research topic

The historiography of the UK secular period post 1890 is often described as a coda on the history of radicalism in the nineteenth century but is not supported with any significant detail. My topic will investigate the idea of decline to determine one of two things: if there was a decline, a greater investigation to trace the mechanism of decline; if there was not a decline – what shape did secularist activities take and what institutions supported their efforts. The rise of alternative institutions and collaborations with other groups interested in secular aims in society is also largely missing from the discussion of the secular movement. Collaboration with pacifists, Quakers and non-conformists within the peace movement are also areas that need to be explored.


Secularism, rationalism, peace movement, radical politics

General research interests

Atheism, secularism, working class radicalism, women in secularist history, ethical societies, rationalist societies, evolution, science, republicanism, reproductive rights

Academic and professional training

  • University of Western Ontario, BA (hons), history
  • Dissertation Financing the Thirty Years War
  • Birkbeck College, University of London, MA European History
  • Secularist scaffolding: Frederick James Gould and his contribution to the secular movement

Scholarships and prizes

  • The Grant and Peggy Reuber Merit Scholarship, University of Western Ontario, 2003–2004

Other experience and professional activities

  • Researcher and curator of Darwin’s Detractors for the South Place Ethical Society
  • Researcher and collaborator for Humanist History
  • Committee member for Women’s History Month campaign
  • Deputy editor of the Pod Delusion podcast, an award winning weekly news/magazine podcast about interesting things from a rationalist, secularist, pro-science point of view