Allison Abra


Dr. Allison Abra is the 14th Warden and Vice-Chancellor of St John’s College. Before being appointed in 2021, she was previously an undergraduate student and junior fellow at SJC, and is a fourth-generation Johnian.

Dr. Abra is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of History at the University of Manitoba. Her research focuses on women and gender, popular culture, and war and society in modern Britain, and her current book project is an emotional history of British secret agents during World War II. Prior to returning to SJC, Dr. Abra was Associate Professor of History and a Fellow in the Dale Center for the Study of War & Society at the University of Southern Mississippi, where from 2019-21 she held the General Buford Blount Professorship in Military History. She was also selected as Teacher of the Year by the Mississippi Humanities Council for 2018-19.


  • PhD, History, University of Michigan, 2009
  • MA, History, Queen’s University, 2001
  • BA (Hons.), History, St John’s College/University of Manitoba, 1999

Course List

  • HIST 2110: Topics in History: Britain Between Victoria and Elizabeth, 1901-1952 (Fall 2023)
  • HIST 2210: History of Britain, 1485-Present (Fall-Winter, 2022-3)



Dancing in the English Style: Consumption, Americanisation, and National Identity in Britain, 1918-50. Series: Studies in Popular Culture. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2017.

Other Publications

“The Performing Arts and their Audiences.” A Cultural History of Leisure in the Modern Age. Brett Bebber, ed. London: Bloomsbury Academic. Forthcoming 2024.

“‘Her Heroine Mother:’ Maternity and British Secret Agents during World War II,” Nursing Clio, Online, 2022.

“Popular Culture and Modern War.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Military History. Ed. Kaushik Roy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2021.

“Dancing in the English Style: Professionalisation, Public Preference, and the Evolution of Popular Dance in 1920s Britain.” Brett Bebber, ed. Leisure and Cultural Conflict in Twentieth-Century Britain Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2012. 41-62.

 “Doing the Lambeth Walk: Novelty Dances and the British Nation.” 20th Century British History 20:3 (2009): 346-369. Winner of the Duncan Tanner Essay Prize.