Until relatively recently the in-depth historical analysis of Scottish women’s lives has been the preserve of dedicated gender historians. Although it is fair to say that Scottish historians have recently begun to include the lives of women in their research, this is by no means extensive.
In Women in Business, 1700–1850, Nicola Phillips has produced a dense and absorbing study of (British) women in business. In line with contemporary usage she employs a capacious definition of ‘business’ to consider the range, nature, and discursive representations of women’s economic activities.
James M. Smith’s book, Ireland’s Magdalen Laundries and the Nation’s Architecture of Containment (2007) fills a significant gap in research about the Magdalen laundries and their impact on Irish society. Frances Finnegan’s Do Penance or Perish (2001) has also tackled the subject, but her study is confined to the Good Shepherd asylums that operated in Ireland.
Professor Abrams has written a profound and illuminating study of a relatively-isolated, but not inward-looking, community which has been perceived by outsiders as a quintessentially masculine society and yet which was, at least until the 1960s, very much ‘a woman’s world’.
Melissa R. Klapper’s Jewish Girls Coming of Age in America, 1860–1920 explores the identity of middle-class Jewish girls through use of a wide range of sources, including letters and diaries. This important contribution to the history of American Jews builds on previous work that has emphasized immigrants and working class families, the east coast, and urban centres.
The interaction between western men's and native women's sexuality makes the human body central to the articulation of colonial/imperial ideologies. Setting her study in eighteenth-century British India, Ghosh emphasises a pan-imperial understanding of body, and the role of race, gender and sexuality in empire-building in the early modern period.
This is a literary study of the servant problem, a problem that endlessly bothered employers and moralists, and has recently emerged in a rather different sense to worry scholars too. Virginia Woolf observed that we would understand great lives far better if we remembered domestic struggles, the scrubbing, carrying and labours of one maid to hold back cold and dirt.
Most historians of sexuality, courtship, marriage and the family in Victorian and early 20th-century Britain will already be familiar with the excellent social and cultural histories produced by Ginger Frost.(1) It will come as no surprise to them to learn that Living in Sin is a wonderful book that draws on a characteristically wide range of sources from the
The history of the Enlightenment can sometimes appear as a male narrative, dominated by canonical male writers, with women appearing only as subjects denied an equality of rationality and relegated to a feminine domesticity.
Work in the 18th century has long been neglected by historians, who have focused instead on other aspects of economic life: notably consumption, but also on the legal structures of inheritance and marriage which shaped working lives over the life cycle. So we can identify the legal differences and similarities between 18th-century Brittany and Britain.