Inspiring History

Historians’ motivation for researching the subjects they are passionate about are varied. It’s only in the last few years that we’ve been able to acknowledge the roots of our interests, often so very personal, emotional, and subjective. Everything from family trips to castles, children’s television programmes, and major political events noticed in childhood push usContinue reading “Inspiring History”

Favouritism in Georgian England

Today we see favouring one child over another as a risk to happy family life and psychologically damaging for those who are least favoured. This is by no means new. Moral commentators and writers on parenting have long warned parents against favouritism, while simultaneously expecting it to take place. The author of Moral essays, publishedContinue reading “Favouritism in Georgian England”

Manliness in Britain 1760 – 1900: From Brookes to Book

The story of my book, Manliness in Britain, 1760-1900: bodies, emotion, and material culture, is one that has at its heart my teaching. I think this is significant for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because we often talk about research-led teaching, but less often about the ways research is informed by the teaching process and,Continue reading “Manliness in Britain 1760 – 1900: From Brookes to Book”

‘Simplify me when I’m dead’: emotions and agency, an intersubjective and hauntological approach

Introduction I begin with Keith Douglas’s poem, Simplify me When I’m Dead (1946), whose title I incorporate in my own title. The poet’s imagining of what will be remembered of him after his death touches me as a historian and speaks to me of my professional practice. It opens: Remember me when I am dead/andContinue reading “‘Simplify me when I’m dead’: emotions and agency, an intersubjective and hauntological approach”

Homesickness: emotions, families, and nations

In a brief visit to Manchester Art Gallery – snatched during a gap in the conference my husband was attending – I was stopped in my tracks by Benoit Aubard’s Homesick (2018). Aubard’s spray-painted graffiti style duvet cover is one of the critically-engaged works by young artists intended to respond to historical masterpieces in the gallery. So Homesick isContinue reading “Homesickness: emotions, families, and nations”

Manly beauty: what can boxers tell us about 18th century masculinity? Part III

Boxers The other men in William Hogarth’s March of the Guards to Finchley (1750) that I want to talk about are the boxers. In the painting, so evocatively displayed at London Museum, a bare-knuckle prize-fight takes place in the middle-ground. This was a boxing booth opened by James Figg in 1719 on Tottenham Court Road,Continue reading “Manly beauty: what can boxers tell us about 18th century masculinity? Part III”

Rough and brave: what can soldiers tell us about 18th century masculinity? Part II

Guardsmen Let me begin with the guardsmen at the heart of William Hogarth’s The March of the Guards to Finchley (1750), the subject of a great exhibition at the Foundling Museum. They are an evocative depiction of the troubling charms of the soldier. In the eighteenth century, officers might be considered examples of idealised masculinity:Continue reading “Rough and brave: what can soldiers tell us about 18th century masculinity? Part II”

Pugnacious and patriotic: what can soldiers and boxers tell us about 18th century masculinity? Part I

Recently, I had the privilege of talking about William Hogarth’s The March of the Guards to Finchley (1750) in one of the talks accompanying the Foundling Museum’s 2019 Exhibition Hogarth & The Art of Noise. This is a jewel of an exhibition – small and perfectly formed – which explores Hogarth’s abilities to conjure theContinue reading “Pugnacious and patriotic: what can soldiers and boxers tell us about 18th century masculinity? Part I”

Making links: revisiting my research on men, emotions, and identities

Introduction In early June 2016 I gave my professorial inaugural lecture (yes, three years ago, just before we heard the results of the Brexit referendum, when the world seemed very different). I have not had a chance to work on my blog since then, subjected to a relentless series of publication deadlines. Now I’ve gotContinue reading “Making links: revisiting my research on men, emotions, and identities”