School of History

HISTORY FROM UNDERNEATH: GIRLS GROWING UP IN THE BRITISH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION BY PROFESSOR JANE HUMPHRIES

20 November 2013

Time: 6:30pm
Venue: Maths Lecture Theatre, Mathematical Sciences Building, QMUL

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History from underneath: girls growing up in the British Industrial Revolution by Professor Jane Humphries

Did the economic and social changes of the eighteenth and nineteenth century improve or retard the wellbeing and status of women and girls? Professor Jane Humphries sheds new light on a question that has long preoccupied historians and social commentators by presenting new evidence from the autobiographical accounts of working women and men. With the help of these sources she will explore the evolution of inequality. Focusing on childhood and adolescence in particular, Jane Humphries will discuss some unexpected findings, including the unsettling evidence of girls’ vulnerability to sexual predation. Historians of women’s work have long emphasised the social and cultural inhibitions that increased the dependence of girls and women on male kin, but fear of sexual assault and loss of respectability, as a constraint on women’s independence, has been overlooked.

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