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20th July Seminar: ECR Fellows Roundtable

Don’t miss the second of two seminars celebrating the Women’s History Network’s Academic Fellows! Our WHN Early Career Research Fellows 2021/2022 will be speaking about their seminal work and research, giving us a taster of what they have been working on

Wednesday, 20th July 2022, 4pm BST/GMT +1

Sign up on Zoom here.

Academic Fellowship Celebration – Early Career Research Fellows’ Roundtable


Dr Rebecca Mason, ‘Litigating Women in Early Modern Scotland’

Map showing the Court of Session, Scotland’s highest civil court, in Parliament House, in 1647.

Map showing the Court of Session, Scotland’s highest civil court, in Parliament House, in 1647.

Despite the strictures placed on them in legal treatises and parliamentary statutes, ordinary women appeared before town courts in Scotland between 1600 and 1707 when asserting their rights to use, own or dispose of property received through inheritance, marriage and widowhood. Whether demanding their share of inheritance, protecting their land within marriage, or securing their widows’ estates, this paper reveals how often women used the civil courts in an attempt to secure what was legally theirs, showing in their arguments that they were indeed quite familiar with the law.

About Rebecca

Rebecca is an early modern historian, with expertise in Scottish gender, legal and social history. She holds an AHRC-funded PhD in History from the University of Glasgow (awarded 2020), and has held funded postdoctoral positions at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London (funded by the Economic History Society) and the University of Glasgow (funded by the Economic and Social Research Council). She is currently an Editorial Fellow at History Workshop Online and a Women’s History Network Early Career Fellow.


Dr Vicky Holmes 

During my WHN ECR fellowship, I have been traversing the Victorian working-class homes accommodating lodgers. In this talk, I will share some of the findings of my research — from the necessity for a lodger to the complex relationships occurring in such a domestic arrangement — that broadens, and  indeed challenges, our current understandings of everyday life, household economy, and social relations in working-class Victorian England

About VickyDr Vicky Holmes, profile picture

Dr Vicky Holmes is a Visiting Research Fellow at QMUL. Her research — using coroner’s inquests — examines the material and domestic lives of the Victorian working-class behind closed doors. Holmes’ publications include In Bed with the Victorians: The Life-Cycle of Working-Class Marriage (Palgrave, 2017) and the recent edited collection The Working Class at Home, 1790–1940 (Palgrave, 2022), in which her chapter pulls back the covers on working-class beds.


Dr Natalie Hanley-Smith, ‘“She imagin’d some great misconduct of hers could alone have occasion’d” it: conceptualising culpability after a sexual assault’

In January 1805, Harriet Ponsonby, Countess Bessborough, wrote a letter to her lover, Granville Leveson Gower, in which she revealed that she had been sexually assaulted by a member of her extended family. The man in question was also a friend of Leveson Gower’s and knew of their extra-marital relationship. This paper will examine how the countess conceptualised and assessed her own culpability in the assault and will reveal that she drew connections between her perceived failure to conform to contemporary conceptions of sexual morality and the man’s conduct

Content warning: this paper contains non-graphic discussions of sexual assault.

About Natalie

Natalie Hanley-Smith is a Women’s History Network Early Career Fellow, 2021-22. She completed her doctoral thesis on 18th and 19th-century marital non-conformity at the University of Warwick in 2020. Her research interests include emotion, political culture, sexuality, and sociability. She is currently co-editing a special issue of Parliamentary History with Professor Sarah Richardson on the theme of ‘Passion, Politics, and Parliament’, which is forthcoming in 2023. She is also working on a monograph, tentatively titled: Controversial Intimacies: Marriage, Gossip, and Scandal in British Society, 1780-1840.


Dr Emma Barrett, ‘Sex and the City: Gender and the City of London’

During my WHN fellowship I have been exploring women’s employment in Britain’s financial sector in the later twentieth century. Through oral histories and archival research, I analyse the experiences of professional women and locate them in the broader inequalities of late twentieth-century Britain, including their relationships with paid domestic workers such as nannies and cleaners. In the context of financial deregulation and ‘opportunity culture’, which supposedly dissolved class distinctions and created a more diverse City, I examine the complexities of women’s employment, workplace hierarchies, and the emergence of new global elites, to help us understand how financialisation impacted social and economic life. This paper will focus on the trajectories of professional women into Britain’s financial sector.

About Emma

Dr Emma Barrett is a Teaching Fellow in Arts and Law and Honorary Research Fellow in History at the University of Birmingham. She is a Visiting Research Fellow at QMUL and in 2021 was the John Antcliffe By-Fellow at Churchill College Cambridge. Her publications include ‘King Caz: Cazenove, Thatcherism and the 1980s financial revolution’ (TCBH, 2018) and she is currently working on a monograph of the 1980s financial revolution, forthcoming with MUP.

Sign up now for a place in our Zoom webinar.

The seminar will also be livestreamed on Facebook and available for 24 hours.

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