Visibility and Materiality in the Eighteenth Century

Wednesday 4 November  4pm (London)

Join us for a double bill of papers exploring visibility and materiality in the eighteenth century.


The ‘Black Woman’ of London: A comparative study of the black female migrant assimilation in London, 1700-1850’

Montaz Marché, PhD Candidate, University of Birmingham

Black women in 18th century mainland Britain, unrestricted by legal or political segregations possessed a provisional freedom in Britain and gained access to a spectrum of experiences that the ‘enlightened’ British society offered. Yet this freedom attest to wider ‘rule’ of social assimilation that subsumed black women into the mass of British society, to the point of near indivisibility. As an introduction to my research, this presentation will focus on the black female migrant, assessing her experiences of assimilation in its various forms across the environs of 18th century London.

You can read more about Montaz’s research here.



I will hope to see your hand again”: Materiality and Letter-Writing in the Correspondence of Hannah Greg (1766-1832)

Katie Crowther, PhD Candidate, University of York 

Understanding letters as part of a material interaction between pen and paper and sender and recipient, adds new layers of meaning to the sentiments they convey. As an active letter-writer and diarist, Hannah Greg (1766-1834) used the practice as well as the process of writing to navigate various aspects of her life. Greg’s correspondences demonstrate a careful negotiation between paper and ink and her understanding of the material page’s role in the records, sentences and letters that she set to paper. An analysis of the materiality of these writings provides insights into not only the letter-writing practices, but also the means by which paper traces can enliven the current narrative of women such as Hannah Greg.

Image Credit: British Museum (© The Trustees of the British Museum)



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