Headshot of Dr.Chris  Bischof

Dr. Chris Bischof

Associate Professor of History
  • Profile

    I teach on the history of modern Britain in a way that emphasizes the links between British, imperial, and global history.  I do so in a survey course on "Britain and the World" as well as courses on more focused topics like "Crime and Punishment in British Cities," "Brexit: A History," "The Business of Imperialism," "A Tale of Two Cities: Glasgow and Edinburgh," and "Social Reformers in the Modern British World." 

    As a researcher, my work tends to focus on the histories of education and emancipation.  My current book project, Easy Fixes: Race, Capitalism, and Social Engineering Schemes in the British West Indies, 1823-1865, explores the enthusiasm for light-handed, low-cost interventions that could supposedly make the transition from slavery to freedom both humane and profitable for everyone.  Easy Fixes examines the implications of this approach to emancipation both for freedpeople and for the way that Britons thought about race, capitalism, and imperial governance. 

    I'm also in the early stages of a biography of William Campbell, a teacher in a scattered crofting community in the Scottish Highlands in the early twentieth century.  Rather than a traditional biography, the focus of this project is on the institutions and cultural currents that facilitated the dense web of connections between the local, national, imperial, and global which so profoundly shaped Campbell’s life and work.  This interest in Campbell emerged out of my first book, Teaching Britain: Elementary Teachers and the State of Everyday, 1846-1906 (Oxford University Press, 2019).  Teaching Britain challenged the insularity of many histories of education by exploring elementary teachers’ work as crucial social and cultural brokers who helped to reshape the state and its relationship to society.

    Expand All
    • Grants and Fellowships

      2024-2025 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship 

      2017-2018: Spencer Foundation/National Academy of Education Postdoctoral Fellowship


  • Publications

    Teaching Britain: Elementary Teachers and the State of the Everyday, 1846-1906 (Oxford University Press, 2019)

    Journal Articles

    "'Crimes of a Heinous Nature’: Schoolmasters and Sexual Assault in Victorian Scotland,” forthcoming in the Scottish Historical Review.  

    "Progress and the People: Histories of Popular Education and Conceptions of Britishness, 1870-1914” in History of Education, 49, 2 (2020), 160-183.

    "Liberal Subjects: Elementary Education and Native Agency in the British West Indies, c. 1834–1860," Slavery & Abolition, 40, 4 (2019), 750-773.

    “A ‘Rich Crop of Nervousness’: Childhood, Expertise, and Elementary Education in the 1884 British Over-Pressure Controversy,” The English Historical Review 131, 553 (2016), 1415-1444.

    Chinese Laborers, Free Blacks, and Social Engineering in the Post-Emancipation British West Indies, Past & Present 231 (2016), 129-168.

    Awarded the 2017 Walter D. Love Prize for the best article in British history by the North American Conference on British Studies.

    “‘A Home For Poets’: The Emergence of a Liberal Curriculum for Elementary Teachers in Victorian Britain,” History of Education Quarterly, 54, 1 (Spring, 2014), 42-69

    “Masculinity, Social Mobility, and the Plan to End Pauperism in Mid-Victorian England: Kneller Hall Teachers’ Training College,” The Journal of Social History 46, 4 (Summer, 2013), 1039-1059.

    Book Chapters

    Schoolteachers and Professionalism, 1696-1906,” in Robert Anderson, Mark Freeman and Lindsey Patterson eds., The Edinburgh History of Education in Scotland (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015), 208-225

  • In the News