Steering Committee Biographies

Maggie Andrews is Professor of Cultural History at the University of Worcester. She has more than thirty years’ experience of working in higher, further and adult education and a strong record of public engagement with archives, museums, the BBC and community groups. She writes, researches broadcasts and teaches on the history of women in twentieth century Britain, and how that history is portrayed in popular culture. She has been an active member of both the regional and national WHN for many years, is on the editorial board of Women’s History Review, a National Teaching Fellow and author with Janis Lomas of A History of Women in 100 Objects (History Press 2018). An interest in the history of domesticity has led to the publication of The Acceptable Face of Feminism: the Women’s Institute Movement 1915-1960, (Lawrence and Wishart 1997 and 2015) and Domesticating the Airwaves: Broadcasting, Domesticity and Femininity, (Continuum 2012 and a future publication with Bloomsbury on Evacuation and Women in the Second World War.  Her research on the Home Fronts of the First and Second World Wars includes the publication of The Home Front: Images, Myths and Forgotten Experiences (Palgrave Macmillan 2014) and roles as a CO-I for the AHRC funded Voices of War and Peace First World War Engagement Centre and as a historical consultant of the Radio 4 drama series Home Front.

Sian Edwards. I am a Lecturer in Modern British History at the University of Winchester, specialising in the social and cultural history of rural Britain in the period from 1918-1989, with a focus on youth and gender. Moving forward, I am becoming increasingly interested in the experiences of rural women and girls in the twentieth century and the distinctiveness of rural femininity in this period. My forthcoming book, Youth Movements, Citizenship and the English Countryside: Creating Good Citizens, 1930-1980 explores the centrality of the English countryside in constructions of good citizenship within mid-century youth organisations and highlights the way in which such understandings of citizenship were gendered in this period. This work has been developed from my PhD, which was awarded by the University of Sussex in 2014. It was during my time at Sussex that I developed my passion for women’s history. Studying women’s experiences challenged what I thought I knew about the past and encouraged me to think more critically about my position in the present. Because undergraduate study was such a transformative experience for me, I am passionate about foregrounding the history of women and girls in my teaching, and am dedicated to exploring new ways to engage my students in the field. Beyond my interest and enthusiasm, I have had significant experience in administrative and organisational roles in a number of research centres and networks, including as the administrator for the Centre for German Jewish Studies and as co-ordinator for Winchester’s Centre for Gender Studies. I have been a member of the Women’s History Network for about seven years and in this time have attended numerous WHN events, which I have found to be most enjoyable, stimulating and worthwhile. I would be delighted to be able to contribute to the Network in a more direct way and, as an early career researcher, a position on the Steering Committee would be an invaluable opportunity to develop my place within the field of Women’s History.

Beth Jenkins. I am a historian of modern Britain, with specific interests in the history of women and the professions. I received a PhD from Cardiff University in November 2016 for my AHRC-funded thesis titled ‘Women’s Professional Employment in Wales 1880-1939’. In 2016-2017 I worked as a lecturer in Modern British History at Cardiff University.

I am passionate about increasing fair access to higher education and public engagement with academic research. During my doctoral studies, I was a coordinator of an outreach project in the School of History, Archaeology and Religion and also worked as a Grants Officer for the Heritage Lottery Fund. I currently work for an education charity, The Brilliant Club, helping to deliver their Scholars Programme in the east of England. I am the Charity Representative on the WHN Steering Committee.

Naomi PullinNaomi Pullin. I am a historian of the early modern British Atlantic, with specific interests in the place of women within dissenting communities. I am currently adapting my PhD thesis (obtained from the University of Warwick in 2014) into a monograph titled: Female Friends and the early Quaker Community: Gender and Identity in the Atlantic Age, 1650-1750. It advances existing knowledge on the experiences and social interactions of Quaker women in England and the colonies between 1650 and 1750 by reconceptualising the relationship between female identity and domesticity. I am currently at the early stages of developing a new postdoctoral project on female enmity and conflict in the seventeenth-century British Atlantic.

I am currently working as a Teaching Fellow in Early Modern British History at the University of Warwick. In 2014-2015 I worked as a programme co-ordinator at the University of Oxford for the interdisciplinary research Centre Women in the Humanities (WiH), led by Dr Selina Todd and Dr Senia Paseta and co-ordinated the History Faculty’s Centre for Gender, Identity and Subjectivity. I also acted as the Senior Editor for the Interdisciplinary Research Journal Exchanges: the Warwick Research Journal at the Institute of Advanced Study at the University of Warwick.

Zoe Thomas is a Lecturer in 19th century Britain and the Wider World at the University of Birmingham. She finished her AHRC-funded PhD in History at Royal Holloway, University of London in 2016. She published her first article on women’s fin-de-siècle art studios in Women’s History Review and her second article on historical pageants and women’s history before second-wave feminism for Twentieth Century British History (which won the 2016 Duncan Tanner Prize). She is currently writing her first book Women Art Workers and the Arts and Crafts Movement, 1870-1939 which opens a window onto the public and private lives of the women who fashioned new professional roles as ‘art workers’ in the British Arts and Crafts movement, focusing in particular on the Women’s Guild of Arts. Although now little-known, it was the most prestigious guild for women in the fine and applied arts in Edwardian Britain, established by textile designer May Morris. Zoe is also co-editing two edited collections. The first, titled Suffrage and the Arts, co-edited with Miranda Garrett, is forthcoming with Bloomsbury in 2018. The second, titled Precarious Professionals: Gender, Identity, and Social Change in Modern British History, is being co-edited with Heidi Egginton. She has received funding and fellowships from the Paul Mellon Centre, the John Ryland’s Library, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing, Wolfson College, Harvard University, Vassar College, the Huntington Library, and the Fran Trust Foundation.

Katharina Rowold is Senior Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Roehampton. She previously held posts at London Metropolitan University, London Guildhall University and University College London. Her research focuses on women’s and gender history, the history of childhood, and the history of medicine and science. She has published The Educated Woman: Minds, Bodies, and Women’s Higher Education in Britain, Germany and Spain, 1865-1914 (Routledge, 2010), a comparative study of the ideas on female nature that informed debates on women’s entry to higher education in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. She has also edited Gender and Science: Late-Nineteenth-Century Debates on the Female Mind and Body (1996) and (with Lucy Bland), Reconsidering Women’s History (2015). More recently, her research has focused on the history of motherhood and early infant care, on which she has published a number of articles. She is currently working on a book project that explores the history infant feeding in Britain from the 1860s to the 1970s in a series of case studies.

Lyndsey Jenkins is completing her doctorate, ‘The Kenney Sisters, Women’s Suffrage and Social Reform, 1890 – 1970’ at Wolfson College, Oxford, where she was AHRC funded and based at the Oxford Centre for Life Writing. Her research interests centre around women’s conceptions and usage of power and politics in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and how this relates to changing notions of gender and the self, and methodologically, she seeks to analyse this using women’s lives and networks to illuminate broader themes in British social and political history. She was the 2017 recipient of the Caroline Spurgeon Award from the British Federation of Women Graduates, and was also awarded a Bryce Reed Studentship from the Faculty of History at the University of Oxford. Her 2015 publication, Lady Constance Lytton: Aristocrat, Suffragette, Martyr, was a Sunday Times Biography of the Year and shortlisted for the Slightly Foxed/Biographer’s Club Best First Biography Prize. Her next research project will analyse Labour women MPs in the post-Second World War era, and she will also be making a study of Catherine Marshall’s interwar international activism.

Kate Law is a feminist historian of the British Empire whose research focuses on women’s activism in Southern Africa. Her first book, Gendering the Settler State: White Women, Race, Liberalism and Empire in Rhodesia, 1950-1980, was published in 2016. She spent four years working at the University of the Free State, South Africa, and would be keen to encourage more scholars from the region to consider publishing in WHR. She currently works at the University of Chichester as a Senior Lecturer in Modern History, but will be moving to the University of Nottingham in October to take up an Assistant Professorship/Nottingham Research Fellowship. At Nottingham, she will continue to research and write her new book which is tentatively entitled, Fighting Fertility: The British Anti-Apartheid Movement and Depo Provera, c.1980-1994.

Jane O’Neill Jane is a social historian with research interests spanning gender, sexualities and courtship in the modern period, and is particularly interested in oral history methodology and history ‘from below’. Her ESRC-funded PhD ‘Youth, sexuality and courtship in Scotland, 1945-80’, was awarded by the University of Edinburgh in 2016, and uses personal testimony to examine the formation of young people’s sexual ideas and identities and changing conceptions of social and sexual respectability in Scotland, questioning notions of ‘sexual revolution’.  She is currently working as a Research Associate on the AHRC-funded project ‘The Abortion Act (1967): a Biography’. This interdisciplinary study between History and Law traces the Act’s changing interpretation and implementation in each of the countries of the UK across the 50 years it has now been in force, and will culminate in a book to be published by Cambridge University Press in 2019.

Susan Cohen was awarded her ​PhD  ​by the University of Southampton ​in ​20​05 for a thesis on  Eleanor Rathbone and her work for Refugees.   ​The monograph from this was published by Vallentine Mitchell in 2010.   She has written numerous books on social and nursing history for Shire, ​and has a new book out for ​Pen and Sword​. In 2015 she ​co-founded the Remembering Eleanor Rathbone group, which organised a range of events from talks to conferences and art displays, in London and Liverpool during 2016, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Eleanor Rathbone’s death in 1946. She undertook oral history interviews for the Holocaust Survivor Centre in London.  She is currently writing a history of nurses and nursing for Amberley.

Alexandra Hughes-Johnson is a historian of nineteenth and twentieth-century Britain with a particular interest in women and political activism. She is a Knowledge Exchange Research Fellow at the University of Oxford and the Research Coordinator for the Women in the Humanities Research Programme. Alexandra’s PhD, ‘Rose Lamartine Yates and the Wimbledon WSPU: Reconfiguring Suffragette History from the Local to the National’, was awarded by Royal Holloway University in 2018. Alexandra has been a member of WHN since 2013 and presented her research at a number of WHN conferences. She is currently working on a book chapter that explores the establishment of new suffrage organisations during the First World War and an article that focuses on the establishment of the Women’s Record House and the memorialisation of the suffrage campaign during the interwar period. Her next research project will build on her interest in women’s politics at a local level, and analyse womens’ election to local county councils after 1918.

Anna Muggeridge is a social and cultural historian of twentieth century Britain. She is currently completing a PhD at the University of Worcester, which examines the ways in which women in the Black Country were politicised through the ordinary and the everyday in the first half of the twentieth century. Her main research interests are in histories of women’s politics after suffrage, and histories of the domestic. She has a strong commitment to public engagement and had worked with the Black Country History Museum and History West Midlands to share women’s histories from the region with a wider audience. Anna has a longstanding interest in women’s history and has been a member of the Women’s History Network since 2014, when she studied for an MA at the University of Warwick. She has presented papers at a number of WHN conferences and looks forward to attending the 2019 Annual WHN Conference later this year.

Nancy Highcock is a social historian and archaeologist interested in social identities and intercultural contact the ancient Near East. As a postdoctoral researcher at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge, she is part of the project “Memories for Life: Materiality and Memory of Ancient Near Eastern Inscribed Private Objects.” One integral aspect this research project (with Dr Christina Tsouparopoulou) is the analysis of inscribed objects commissioned and dedicated by people living in ancient Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) over the course of three millennia (c. 2700-100 BCE) through the lens of gender identity with a particular focus on the material religion of female worshippers and female deities. In addition to this project, she is engaged in research on the relationship between dress items, craft production, and women’s economic agency in early second millennium Anatolia, having recently published an initial article on the subject: “To Toggle Back and Forth: Clothing Pins and Portable Identities in the Old Assyrian Period” (Fashioned Selves, ed. Megan Cifarelli, Oxbow 2019). She is the director of the lower town excavations at the site of Kınık Höyük-Niğde in southern Cappadocia, Turkey where she is focusing on domestic spaces and their associated craft industries and food pathways from Early Bronze Age (c 2700 BCE) through the Late Hellenistic period (1st century BCE). Nancy is currently writing her first monograph, Community Across Distance: the Forging of Assyrian Identity Between Assur and Anatolia. This work, based on her dissertation completed at New York University in 2018, explores the ways in which high levels of mobility shaped socio-political institutions and collective identities in an ancient Near Eastern Bronze Age mercantile community.

Sarah Frank is an Associate Lecturer in Modern History at the University of St. Andrews specializing in the French Empire during the twentieth century. Before joining St. Andrews, I held a three-year postdoctoral research fellowship with the International Studies Group at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa. I am particularly interested in the everyday experiences of soldiers, and their families, under colonialism. My first monograph, Hostages of Empire, Colonial Prisoners of War and Vichy France is under contract with University of Nebraska Press for publication in its France Overseas series. It explores the experiences of war captivity of the 85,000 colonial prisoners of war who were captured by the German army in May and June 1940. Rather than being sent to Germany with the rest of the 1.5 million white French prisoners, the colonial prisoners of war are kept in Occupied France. Hostages of Empire seeks to reconcile two previously rather distinct histories, that of metropolitan France and that of the French colonies during the Second World War. Bringing them together is one way to overcome a split history over two dimensions that contemporaries saw as intimately linked. As a social and political history, Hostages of Empire examines questions of race and gender among a group of racialized colonial subjects (and some citizens!) in exile in the colonial metropole. It is based on my doctoral research, funded by the Irish Research Council, completed at Trinity College, Dublin in 2015.

My next research project examines the impact of the end of the Second World War on families. Repatriation and reintegration were crucial times for soldiers and their families. The transition from life as a soldier, or prisoner of war, back to civilian life is particularly challenging. The distance, both physical and emotional, between soldiers’ experiences of war, and their families at home, make homecoming a crucial, and difficult time. Soldiers carried their personal experiences of war, suffering and captivity home with them, shaping their future relations with their families, and their governments. The return of the soldiers from the Second World War is a story about families as much as it is about shifts in the world order. It challenges the idea that post-war repatriation and reintegration were purely masculine events by examining the familial context to which these men returned and how homecoming affected local women. As such, this project examines questions of gender, movement, violence, growing nationalism and nascent ideas of independence in French West Africa.

Laurel Forster is Reader in Cultural History at University of Portsmouth. Her specialism lies in women’s cultural history of the twentieth century, with particular interests in the subjects of media, women’s writing and the Women’s Liberation Movement of the 1970s. Her publications focus upon ways in which women’s cultures are represented in magazines, film and television, in creative practices such as writing, cookery and domestic crafts, and in the female literary canon. Her monograph Magazine Movements: Women’s Culture, Magazines and Media Form (Bloomsbury 2015) discusses women’s magazines (print and broadcast) across the twentieth century. She is currently co-editing The Edinburgh History of Women’s Periodical Culture in Britain: The Postwar Period for Edinburgh University Press

Laurel is co-lead of a Heritage Lottery Fund project ‘The Hidden Heritage of a Naval Town: Women’s Activism in Portsmouth since 1960’ (£73,000). This grant arose out of a conference ‘Historicising the Women’s Liberation Movement’, and a resulting special issue of Women’s History Review (Vol 25 (5) 2016). This project has gathered women’s testimonies of local activism, over fifty in number, and made this unknown history available through a website, published records, a pop-up exhibition, and a permanent archive. It is a wide-ranging and ambitious work of oral history and feminist recovery and involves external partners including museums, libraries and schools.

Recently (March 2019), Laurel organised an international symposium and public lecture at Portsmouth University on ‘Cookbooks: Past, Present and Future’, drawing on her expertise from The Recipe Reader (2003). Laurel is a member of the Southern Broadcast History Group and regularly hosts their seminars. She gives regular seminar papers and reviews for publishers and academic journals. She has an editorial role with The London Magazine, London’s oldest literary periodical. She is a member of the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships Peer Review College, to review funding bids and allocate monies nationally. She has given keynotes to general and academic audiences, at the V&A, Women’s Library and Balliol college, Oxford.   Last year (2018), Laurel co-organised the centenary WHN Annual conference ‘The Campaign for Women’s Suffrage: National and International Perspectives’, helping June Purvis to host this at University of Portsmouth. Laurel is also on the editorial team for the WHN Journal.

Becki HinesBecki Hines is currently a PhD student at the University of Worcester and her thesis is titled ‘Navigating stretching boundaries: The perils of conducting relationships in Worcestershire and surrounding areas, 1939-1948’. Her research interests centre around the effects of war on gender structures and women’s lives and she also recently completed a masters at the University of Birmingham on the punishment of transgressive female behaviour in France at the end of the Second World War. When she is not holed up in an archive or library she spends her days lecturing in accountancy as she is also a qualified accountant and tax advisor.

Kate Murphy is a Principal Academic at Bournemouth University, where she has worked since 2012. Prior to her academic career, she worked at the BBC for 24 years, primarily as a producer of Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, which has heavily informed her research. While  at the BBC, she completed a part-time PhD which looked into BBC women’s experiences of employment in the interwar years. This formed the basis for her monograph Behind the Wireless: An Early History of Women at the BBC which was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2016.  She established the BA (Hons) History degree at Bournemouth and was Programme Leader for several years.