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Dr Karl Bell

Reader in Cultural and Social History

Karl Bell


I joined the University of Portsmouth in 2007, having previously studied and taught at the University of East Anglia. My research interests fall under the umbrella heading of ‘the fantastical imagination’. I take this to include magical beliefs and practices, witchcraft, the supernatural, superstition, prophecy, millenarianism, legends, myths, urban folklore and (proto-) science-fiction tropes in the modern period (anything post-1700). I am particularly interested in the way these ideas and mentalities were used to navigate the experience of modernisation, especially as a means of resistance and adaptation. At the same time I use these rather offbeat areas of historical research to explore the nature of different types of nineteenth-century cultures and the concept of modernity. I am happy to supervise PhDs on any of these weird and wonderful topics. 

Research Interests

  • Social and Cultural History

Discipline Areas

  • History
  • Cultural Studies

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