Beyond the Park Pale
This interdisciplinary project led to the publication of a monograph, Elite Women and the Agricultural Landscape, 1700-1830 (Routledge, 2017)
Drawing on examples from across Georgian England, Elite Women offers a detailed study of women’s relationships with landed property specifically as they were mediated through the lens of their estate management and improvement. This highly original book provides an explicitly feminist historical geography, offering compelling evidence for women’s involvement in a variety of practices – including enclosure, agricultural modernisation and landscape improvement – which fundamentally remade the eighteenth-century rural landscape. It addresses important questions about propertied women’s role in rural communities and in Georgian society, whilst contributing to wider cultural debates about women’s place in the environmental, social and economic history of Britain.
Gendering the Early Modern Commons
Supported by a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship (2019-2020), this agenda-setting project critically re-examines how gender shaped access to the commons and reassesses poor and middling women's contributions to landscape change. In doing so, it challenges existing gender-blind theory to write new critical historical geographies of the commons, enclosure and the making of the British landscape.
Going to Chancery: Family, Law and Society in England, 1550-1750
Supported by a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship (2019-2020), this interdisciplinary, collaborative project uses rich archival sources at The National Archives to offer a critical revision of histories of gender and family life. By focusing on the normality of equity litigation as a feature of social relations, it will challenge understandings of the connections between state and private life, raise new questions about the role of institutions in gender formation, and examine the emotional journeys made by litigants seeking justice over property.
The project uses digital catalogue data to analyse the social profile of litigants over time and place, combining this with pleadings and depositions, law reports, lawyers’ records and private correspondence to investigate social authority and its construction vis-à-vis legal languages of equity, truth and justice.
Gender, Debt and Family Relations: The Temples of Stowe
Supported by a Huntington Library Research Fellowship (2017), this project focuses on the extensive Temple family. Deploying the concept of matriarchy to explain how gender could locate a woman at the centre of a family lending hub, it offers significant revision of the familial economies of debt, honour, obligation and emotion.
The project critically engages with the role of debt as the creator of networks of people bound to one another financially, so structurally framing family as a unit and defining the boundaries of social (and litigious) interaction with kin, friends and servants.