This blog is about academia and me. It’s about academia and you. It’s about sharing my experiences of my profession, and about sharing knowledge and skills which are too often taken for granted. It’s about those academic voices which are either not heard at all, or are not heard enough. It’s about challenging dominant ideas of what academics should look like. It’s about redefining what it takes to be an academic and how academics are expected to present themselves, their lives, and their work. It’s about making ourselves and our profession simultaneously vulnerable and stronger, so that we can help change what makes us feel inadequate, ashamed, or unprofessional. So that we can help make academia more inclusive.
[Publication] Feminism’s Family Drama: Female Genealogies, Feminist Historiography, & Kate Walbert’s A Short History of Women
I’m really pleased that my article about feminist history and mother-daughter relationships is out now in Feminist Theory and available to read for free as an “online first” publication. Below you can find the full reference for the print version of this piece, and the page on which you can access the full-text article.
At a time when we remember the First World War, its victims, and its survivors, it seems apt for me to share some of the research I’ve been doing on the literary and cultural history of the widow in Britain, and particularly on how the state’s support and the economic conditions of widowed women has changed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and reflects both Britain’s development in terms of gender equality as well as the emergence of the welfare state.
Women and Belief is a six-volume collection of primary materials covering a wide range of opinions about women, their self-identity, and the combination of their spiritual and political beliefs.
This AHRC-funded Contemporary Women’s Writing Skills Development Programme (CWWSkills) was a series of six workshops held between August 2013 and July 2014. The programme is designed to enable UK-based postgraduate research students and early-career researchers who work in the field of contemporary women’s writing to develop an entrepreneurial approach to their research.
This book chapter discusses the relationship between pornography and feminist politics in two neb-victorian novels: Sarah Waters’s *Fingersmith* (2002) and Belinda Starling’s *The Journal of Dora Damage* (2006).
[Publication] Not My Mother’s Daughter: Matrilinealism, Third-Wave Feminism, & Neo-Victorian Fiction
The plot of Sarah Waters’ third novel, Fingersmith (2002), is based on a complex web of matrilineal narratives, which eventually are uncovered as fictions. This essay will analyse these matrilineal fictions in terms of their influences on the novel’s protagonists Sue and Maud, as well as considering the novel’s matrilinealism first as a feminist metaphor for third-wave feminism and secondly as a metafictional device commenting on neo-Victorian fiction’s relationship to the past. Finally, it will highlight the genre’s similarities to third- wave feminism in terms of their shared concern for and treatment of the relationship between past and present.
Over the past decade, the detective widow has become a well-established character in the little-explored subgenre of neo–Victorian crime fiction. In Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily series, the author argues, the detective widow investigates the gendered characteristics and complexities of Victorian widowhood while detecting the artistic crimes associated with historical fiction’s imitations and adaptations of the past.
Joel Gwynne and Nadine Muller (eds.), Postfeminism and Hollywood Cinema (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)
This article investigates the possible reasons for and significance of British twenty-first century fiction’s return to periods in which the field of mental health came into being and developed into a splintered discipline, contested by neurologists, alienists, pathologists, psychiatrists and psychoanalysts. Through an analysis of Sebastian Faulks’ Human Traces (2005), Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White (2002) and Maggie O’Farrell’s The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox (2006), this article aims to situate twenty-first century fiction within an interdisciplinary critical framework of questions: if, as Freud feared in his Studies on Hysteria (1895), psychoanalytic case histories can “read like short stories” (231), can novels in turn read like case histories of the societies and cultures of which they are products? If texts such as Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1848), Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White (1860), or Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret (1862) were able to “put the many concerns Victorians had about insanity into dramatic perspective” (Appignanesi 87), then do their twenty-first century counterparts perform the same role with regards to issues surrounding women as practitioners and patients within the field of mental health in Britain at the turn of the new millennium?
From Mary Wollstonecraft’s call for chastity as a universal rather than a female virtue in A vindication of the rights of woman (1792), through nineteenth and early-twentieth century writings on the commodification of women in marriage and prostitution and campaigns for rational dress, to fights for women’s reproductive rights and sexual liberation in the 1960s and 1970s, the female body and female sexuality as sites of oppression and empowerment have long occupied a central place of concern in feminist theory and practice. In the new millennium, as in previous decades, this interest continues to engender productively diverse and conflicting, as well as often conflicted, responses by feminist scholars across disciplines whose work reflects upon and attempts to conceptualise women’s sexual bodies within the cultural and political landscapes of the twenty-first century.
8-9 September 2011, University of Hull