Alison Conway, PhD


English and Cultural Studies, Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies
Other Titles: Associate Dean, Research, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies - Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Office: LM4 620

Graduate student supervisor

Research Summary

Literary and cultural history of the long eighteenth century in Britain; narrative studies; and gender and sexuality theory.

Courses & Teaching

English; Gender & Women Studies


In 2018, I started teaching at UBCO after twenty-three years at the University of Western Ontario. I am the author Private Interests: Women, Portraiture, and the Visual Culture of the English Novel, 1709-1791 (2001) and The Protestant Whore: Courtesan Narrative and Religious Controversy in England, 1680-1750 (2010). I am co-editor, with Mary Helen McMurran, of Mind, Body, Motion, Matter: Eighteenth-Century British and French Literary Perspectives (2016), and co-editor, with David Alvarez, of Imagining Religious Toleration: a Literary History of an Idea, 1600-1830 (2019). My most recent book, Sacred Engagements: Interfaith Marriage, Religious Toleration, and the British Novel, 1750-1820, was published by the Johns Hopkins University Press in February, 2023. (You can listen to a UBCO Library Frequencies podcast about this book project here.)

When I’m not writing books or teaching classes or helping out around the university, you can find me running, swimming, biking, or reading contemporary fiction. Since 2017, I’ve been writing, as a guest contributor for the blog, Fit is a Feminist Issue, about how my late immersion into the world of sport has shaped my thinking about feminism, politics, and the body.

I’m the partner of a university administrator and we’re parents of a son and a daughter, now adults. My children have taught me a lot and I’ve written about those lessons here.


PhD, University of California, Berkeley, 1994; MA, York University, 1988; BA, UBC, 1987

Research Interests & Projects

Recent essays on religious studies and literature have appeared in LICO, Lumen, Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, and Reflections on Sentiment: Essays in Honour of George Starr.

Selected Grants & Awards

SSHRC Insight Grant, 2015-19

SSHRC Connections Grant, 2016-17

Western’s Faculty Scholar Award (2015)

Western’s Fellowship in Teaching Innovation, with Dr. M. McDayter (2013)

Graham and Gale Wright Distinguished Scholar Award (2012)

Huntington Library Fellowships (1999, 2012)

SSHRC Standard Research Grant (2000-3)

Bank of Nova Scotia, UWO Alumni Association and the University Students’ Council Award of Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (2000)

William Andrews Clark Memorial Library Fellowship (2000)

Marilyn Robinson Award for Excellence in Teaching (1999)


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