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WHN Early Career Fellows 2021/22

The Women’s History Network is delighted to announce the appointment of four new Early Career Fellows for the coming academic year. The Fellowships provide scholars with a bursary of £1,500 and are designed to support exciting and innovative research into women’s history being undertaken by those not in full time academic employment. The ECR Fellows for 2021/22 are:

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

Emma’s project aims to understand how the lives of professional women working in Britain’s finance industry changed during the period between 1970 and the 2008 financial crisis. It examines the struggles of talented women, working in the City, while also exploring the broader inequalities arising from their employment which, in turn, spawned low paid support jobs for other women, from nannies and cleaners, to coffee pourers and sandwich makers. Emma’s work will seek to address the political economy of women’s participation in financialisation, and how this was experienced in modern Britain.

Natalie Hanley Smith: ‘Assigning blame and expressing shame: an account of sexual harassment in an early nineteenth century letter’

Natalie’s research analyses three letters written by an aristocratic women to her lover, in which she describes being sexually harassed by a member of her extended family. The letters are interesting in what they can tell about how shame was articulated; the woman in question was married, and her letters suggest that the man who assaulted her was surprised when she rebuffed him. Natalie’s project will make an important contribution to the scholarship on nineteenth-century sexuality and gender relations by exploring experiences of sexual harassment as described in correspondence, rather than in court records.

Vicky Holmes: ‘The Domesticated Lodger: Lodging in someone else’s home in England, 1840-1900’.

Vicky’s project aims to provide the first intimate history of lodgers and the households in which they lodged. From the first knock at the door, it will examine the everyday arrangements, interactions, and exchanges in domestic dwellings lodgings. Exploring themes such as domestic violence, family, friendship, gender, money, privacy, and social networks, it will demonstrate the extent to which lodgers became intertwined with the household yet also remained on it fringes. Vicky’s research will examine the “truth” behind cultural depictions of the Victorian landlady, place the female lodger into the history of lodging, and extend our understanding of small scale monetary/non-monetary exchanges and female networks that were crucial in working-class women’s everyday survival.

Rebecca Mason: ‘Women and the Law in Early Modern Scotland: Property, Power and Patriarchy’.

Rebecca’s research brings to life the experiences of thousands of ordinary women as they negotiated their legal status and property rights before burgh (town) and commissary (consistorial) courts in Scotland between 1600 and 1707. Whether demanding their share of inheritance, protecting their land within marriage, or securing their widows’ estates, Rebecca’s work reveals how women regularly used the civil courts in an attempt to secure what was legally theirs, despite the strictures placed upon them in legal handbooks, treatises and statutes, and within a patriarchal society.

Congratulations to all! We look forward to seeing the outcomes of their projects, and will be sharing research in progress from all four of our Fellows through the WHN blog during the course of the year.