Julia Laite

Lecturer in Modern History at Birkbeck

Julia is Lecturer in Modern History at Birkbeck. She is an editor of History Workshop Journal and a Director of the Raphael Samuel History Centre, as well as a fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Her research interests are in the area of women’s history, the history of sexuality, and the history of migration in Britain and the British world. Her first book, Common Prostitutes and Ordinary Citizens: Commercial Sex in London, 1885-1930 (Palgrave, 2012) examined the criminalization of prostitution in the metropolis in a period that witnessed the codification of laws and development of policies that helped to shape the control of prostitution and the experiences of women who sold sex in the twentieth century.

Julia is currently Principal Investigator of a three-year AHRC-funded project, shared with co-investigator Philippa Hetherington (SEESS, UCL), entitled ‘Trafficking, Smuggling and Illicit Migration in Gendered and Historical Perspective’. The project seeks to bring together global, national and local historical perspectives, and to place trafficking in the context of migration, labour, and gender. It explores how certain people’s movement across borders came to be defined as illicit; how states responded to trafficking at national, imperial, and international levels; and how trafficking was connected both to women’s work and to sexual violence in this period. It brings to light the global and international history of trafficking in the modern period, at a time when historical perspective is critically needed to improve understanding of the phenomenon in the present day. One of the outcomes of the project will be a digital resource.