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Murphy Temple

Murphy Temple

Field: 
Britain
M.Phil., Modern European History, University of Cambridge
B.A., History, Yale University

My dissertation focuses on spiritualism in WWI-era Britain.  Broadly, I'm interested in themes of war, memory, and commemoration, as well as the intersections of gender, technology, superstition, and belief.

In my dissertation, I hope to tell a story about wartime bereavement and redemption: families in mourning used tools like séances and Ouija boards to defy death and imaginatively reconnect with their loved ones.  Spiritualism also helped create new communities of the living, and it was a means of female empowerment.  While the British state was sending men to die in the trenches and dictating how and where they would be buried, bereaved women worked to develop their own clairvoyant powers and reclaim dominion over their dead.