WSG Bursary 2018 now open

In 2016 the Women’s Studies Group 1558-1837 established its bursaries for PhD students, early career researchers or independent scholars who are members of the Group to support their research “in any aspect of women’s studies in the period 1558-1837”.  This year we are pleased to be able to offer two awards again, the first of £500 and the second of £250.  Awards may be made for new or continuing, single-discipline or interdisciplinary projects. Money will be paid on presentation of receipts and the winners will be expected to give a paper at a WSG seminar the following year, or, if based abroad, write a report for the WSG website.

For further information about the bursary, and to apply, please download the application form.  The deadline for applications is November 30th 2018.  Applicants will be notified of the outcome by January 2019. For further information on membership, see here.

 

Female service in Early Modern England

Dr Charmian Mansell | Research Associate, Women’s Work in Rural England, 1500-1700 | University of Exeter

A woman hard at work distilling. Illustration from J. S., The accomplished ladies rich closet of rarities: or, the ingenius gentlewoman and servant-maids delightful companion (1691).
Image courtesy Wellcome Library, London.

As an Early Career Researcher, it is often difficult to access bursaries and grants for research. Visiting archives and undertaking other forms of research for the completion of articles, monographs and other publications that are so necessary to secure postdoctoral employment can therefore be extremely difficult. In December 2016, I was delighted to be awarded the Women’s Studies Group 30th anniversary bursary for my research on female servants in early modern England. This was the first year that this £500 bursary had been awarded and I am pleased to hear that the group have been able to award two more grants this year.

The award was granted for me to undertake archival research for the preparation of my monograph, Female Service in Early Modern England, which is based on my doctoral thesis. This thesis explored the experiences of around 500 female servants recorded in the church court depositions of the dioceses of Exeter and Gloucester (covering today’s counties of Devon, Cornwall and Gloucestershire). These diocesan courts were charged with enforcing morality and discipline in early modern society. Witnesses from across the social spectrum were asked to provide evidence of what they had seen or heard in relation to illicit behaviour such as adultery and inter-party disputes including defamation and broken marriage promises. Their depositions are almost unrivalled in the detail they provide of both the everyday and the extraordinary. Few other sources allow the study of female servants’ experiences, nor can they offer such rich detail of their lives. Through a female servant’s account of the events she had witnessed, we learn details of her employment, her age and residence history as well as the type of work she performed, the spaces in which her life played out and the interactions she had with her employers, neighbours and friends.

Church court deposition, Somerset Archives, SHC D\D/cd/64. Image taken by Charmian Mansell and used courtesy Somerset Archives.

Over the course of 2017, I made trips to the London Metropolitan Archive and Somerset Archives to gather additional source material from their collections of ecclesiastical court depositions (covering London and Somerset respectively). I am still analysing this new data but it appears that these two archives will provide snapshot information of approximately 250 additional female servants. Prior to receiving the bursary, I also collected data from the diocese of Winchester court (covering Hampshire and the Isle pf Wight), amounting to an additional 126 female servants. Although the evidence is at times fragmentary, the monograph will explore the working and social lives of at least 800 English women employed in service between 1550 and 1650.

The monograph breaks new ground by challenging several deeply-entrenched tropes within the scholarship of early modern female service. Analysing service from demographic, geographical, economic and social perspectives, this book demonstrates the variety of experiences of female service that extended across the life-cycle and challenges its conception as a rigid institution designed to regulate youth. It presents a richer, more textured picture of female service, moving beyond its conceptualisation as domestic. It highlights the various forms of work they performed and the range of relationships they forged beyond the household. The book demonstrates the important role that women in service played in the early modern community, makes an important intervention in early modern British social history and raises fundamental questions about how historians understand women, community and work.

Thank you, Charmian, for this WSG bursary report, and for the insight into the journey from PhD thesis to monograph. For more information on Charmian’s job while she’s writing up her book, namely the Women’s Work in Rural England, 1500-1700 project at Exeter University, click here.

Madeleine Pelling and Rebecca Simpson awarded WSG bursaries

The WSG is pleased to announce it has awarded bursaries of £500 to Madeleine Pelling and £250 t0 Rebecca Simpson, both doctoral researchers at the University of York.  Last year the inaugural bursary was won by Charmian Mansell.

Madeleine is a final-year PhD candidate in History of Art at the University of York.  She will use the award to travel to the John Rylands Library where she will be researching the friendship between Horace Walpole and lesser-known bluestocking Mary Hamilton.  She tweets as @MaddyPelling.

Rebecca Simpson is a PhD candidate in English Literature at the University of York.  She works on narratives of pregnancy and will use the award to transcribe MSS in the Douglas papers at the Hunterian Museum and Glasgow University Special Collections, which include the Mary Toft (‘rabbit births’) confessions.  She tweets as @rebellsimpson.

The WSG bursaries are intended to support early career researchers, PhD students and independent scholars research “any aspect of women’s studies in the period 1558-1837”.  Bursaries can be awarded for new or continuing, single or multidisciplinary projects.  They can be used to subsidise any costs incurred by the project.  To be eligible, applicants must be a member of the WSG.  The WSG bursary panel wish to thank all of this year’s applicants for their applications, and encourage those who have been unsuccessful to consider re-applying the following year.

Reminder: WSG Bursary deadline Nov 30th!!!

There are just 2 weeks till the deadline for applications for this year’s Women’s Studies Group 1558-1837 anniversary bursaries.  Last year, the WSG offered its first ever bursary to an early career researcher, independent scholar or PhD student who was a member of the Group to  “support research in any aspect of women’s studies in the period 1558-1837”.  This year we are pleased to be able to offer it again, but this time to make two awards, the first of £500 and the second of £250.  The money will be paid on presentation of receipts and the winners will be expected to give a paper at a WSG seminar the following year, or, if based abroad, write a report for the WSG website.

The grant may be awarded for a new or continuing interdisciplinary or single-discipline project.  For further information about the bursary, and to apply, please download the application form.  The deadline for applications is November 30th 2017.  Applicants will be notified of the outcome by January 2018. For further information on membership, see here.

Women’s Studies Group 2017 Anniversary Bursary

Last year, the Women’s Studies Group 1558-1837 offered its first ever bursary to an early career researcher, independent scholar or PhD student who was a member of the Group to  “support research in any aspect of women’s studies in the period 1558-1837”.  The bursary was very popular, we had many applications and so this year we are pleased to be able to offer it again, but this time to make two awards, the first of £500 and the second of £250.  The money will be paid on presentation of receipts and the winners will be expected to give a paper at a WSG seminar the following year, or, if based abroad, write a report for the WSG website.

The grant may be awarded for a new or continuing interdisciplinary or single-discipline project.  For further information about the bursary, and to apply, please download the application form.  The deadline for applications is November 30th 2017.  Applicants will be notified of the outcome by January 2018. For further information on membership, see here.