Department of History

Department of History
Department of History

Sandra den Otter

Britain and the World, 18th-20th centuries; intellectual, legal and cultural histories, colonial history

Phone: 613-533-6000, ext: 74369
Fax: 613-533-6298
Office: Watson Hall 232


Post-Doctoral Fellow.  Center for European Studies. Harvard University. 1990-1991
Post-Doctoral Fellow. Department of History.  Queen’s University. 1990-1993
D. Phil., University of Oxford, 1990
Departments of History and Political Science.  McMaster University.
BA (Hons). 1982-1986


Sandra den Otter researches and teaches in the area of late 18th, 19th and 20th century British history. She has a particular expertise in the history of colonial legal cultures, intellectual history, ideas of social welfare and humanitarianism, and the history of the social sciences. With Dr. Jeffrey Collins (Queen’s University), Sandra den Otter co-edits The Journal of British Studies (Cambridge University Press). The Journal of British Studies publishes new research from the medieval to 20th century in many aspects of British history, including transdisciplinary perspectives.  

Sandra den Otter will also be serving a three year term as Associate Vice Principal Research at Queen’s University beginning in August 2018.

Prospective graduate students in the broad fields of 19th and 20th century Britain and Britain and the world are warmly welcomed and encouraged to contact by telephone or email.


HIST 289: Britain since 1851 (lecture)
HIST 328: Modern Britain (core seminar)
HIST 459: British Culture and Society, 1780-1914
HIST 400: Topics in History: The History of Human Rights and International Law


HIST 859: British Culture and Society, 1780-1914


Benjamin Disraeli Letters, 1868. Edited by Michel Pharand, Ellen H. Hawman, Mary S. Millar, Sandra den Otter, and M.G. Wiebe (University of Toronto, 2015). Awarded the Robert Lowry Patten Award by the Society of English Letters in 2016.

“Shifting Ideas of Individual and Social Responsibility in 19th and 20th century British Legal Cultures”, European Legal Developments: Social and Political Philosophy (Cambridge University Press, 2012)

Benjamin Disraeli Letters, 1865-1867. Edited by Michel Pharand, Ellen H. Hawman, Mary S. Millar, Sandra den Otter, and M.G. Wiebe (University of Toronto, 2013)

“The Law, Authority and Colonial Rule” in The Oxford History of the British Empire in India (Oxford University Press, 2012; paperback, 2016)

"A legislating empire’: Victorian political theorists, codes of law, and empire", Victorian Visions of Global Order: Empire and International Relations in Nineteenth Century British Political Thought (Cambridge University Press, 2007)

 “Historicizing the Political: The Origins of a Historical Political Science in Britain, 1900-1914”, in Historicizing the Political, edited S. Stimson (Princeton University Press, 2006).

 “’The Restoration of the Citizen Mind’”: Bernard Bosanquet and the Charity Organisation Society” in Bernard Bosanquet, edited W. Sweet (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006). 

 “Freedom of Contract, Commercial Civilization and Colonial Law in British India”, ed. Martin Daunton, Worlds of Political Economy (London: Palgrave/Macmillan, 2004), 69-94.

“Freedom of Contract, the Market, and Imperial Law-Making” in Critiques of Capital in Modern Britain and America: Transatlantic Exchanges 1800-Present Day, edited M. Bevir and F. Trentmann (London: Palgrave/Macmillan, October 2002).

“Rewriting the Utilitarian Market”, European Legacy VI (2001), 281-293.

 “Thinking in Communities”: Late Nineteenth-Century Liberals, Idealists and the Retrieval of Community”, Parliamentary History (1997) 16, 67-84.

The British Idealists and Social Explanation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996; reissued 2010)

Current Work

Colonial Legal Empires and Nineteenth Century Political Thought

James Fitzjames Stephen, Writings on Empire and History