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Elizabeth Rawlinson-Mills


University Associate Professor in Education

Fellow in English and Education, Director of Studies in Education, and Admissions Tutor for Widening Participation, Robinson College

E-mail Address


+ 44 (0)1223 767525


  • MA English, Clare College (University of Cambridge)
  • PGCE Secondary English (University of Cambridge)
  • MEd Researching Practice (University of Cambridge)
  • MA English Literature (University of Bristol)
  • PhD English (University College London)

Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations

  • NATE
  • UKLA
  • Chartered College of Teaching

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My current research draws on extensive international archive research into popular poetry of the South African War, with a particular focus on poems published in British newspapers. I present a wealth of new material which disrupts the traditional picture of literary endeavour at the turn of the century, making a case for the range and value of a form of poetry which one newspaper commentator at the time called ‘dismal twaddle’ – an assessment which has been too readily accepted by literary historians. Meanwhile, the poems I have amassed constitute a rich and democratic historical source for complicating accounts of British responses to the South African War, to debates about imperial and military masculinities and British national character, and to imperial politics more generally. My doctoral thesis (currently being developed into a book) was awarded an honourable mention in the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals Sally Mitchell Dissertation Prize 2022

This research is part of my wider interest in the place of poetry in society and popular culture. I am motivated by a conviction that poetry can and should be accessible and available to everyone, as a way of finding and building communities of understanding, and of articulating complex responses to the world around us.

I am also undertaking a small-scale piece of research with my Secondary English PGCE students, seeking to understand the experiences of beginning teachers with respect to reading, listening to, writing, performing, and teaching poetry, in Faculty, in schools, and in their lives in general.

I am the Faculty of Education's representative on the University Steering Group responsible for a partnership with the BBC on the National Short Story Award, Young Writers' Award and Student Critics programmes

You can read more about my role as Admissions Tutor for Widening Participation at Robinson College here

Academic Area/Links

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Research Topics

  • Poetry and education
  • Literature, society and popular culture
  • Victorian literature
  • Nineteenth century studies
  • War literature

Current Research Project(s)

  • Bards, priests and prophets: imperial masculinities and the newspaper poets of the South African War (1899-1902) 
  • Reading, writing and teaching poetry: tracing journeys taken by beginning English teachers during the PGCE year
  • Maternity and parenthood in contemporary poetry

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  • Education Tripos - Education, English, Drama and the Arts strand
    • Part 1B International Literatures and Cultures
    • Part 2 Shakespeare
  • English Tripos
    • College seminars in Practical Criticism and Critical Practice and Shakespeare
    • Supervision of Part 1 and Part 2 dissertations


  • PGCE Secondary English
  • PGCE Secondary Professional Studies
  • MEd Researching Practice
  • PhD / EdD supervision

Prospective doctoral applications

I welcome enquiries from prospective doctoral students in the following areas:

  • Aspects of secondary English education
  • Poetry (in teaching and learning, and in the world)
  • Literature, society and popular cultures

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Principal and Recent Publications

Rawlinson-Mills, E. (2022). Written with their blood: Contemplating death in the newspaper poems of 1899-1902. Review of English Studies, 73 (311), pp. 762-781. DOI:10.1093/res/hgab105 This essay was runner up in the Review of English Studies postgraduate essay prize 2021.

Rawlinson-Mills, E. (2018) Soldiers of the Queen: Reading newspaper fiction of the South African War (1899-1902). Journal of Victorian Culture, 23 (3), pp. 381-404.

Rawlinson-Mills, E. (2018). “That far-off Southern tomb”: visions and versions of South Africa in British newspaper poetry of the South African War (1899-1902). In Franchi, B. and Mutlu, E. (Eds.). Crossing Borders in Victorian Travel: spaces, nations and empires. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars.


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