- Edited by Katie Barclay, University of Adelaide, Australia and Deborah Simonton, University of Southern Denmark
The eighteenth century looms large in the Scottish imagination. It is a century that saw the doubling of the population, rapid urbanisation, industrial growth, the political Union of 1707, the Jacobite Rebellions and the Enlightenment - events that were intrinsic to the creation of the modern nation and to putting Scotland on the international map. The impact of the era on modern Scotland can be seen in the numerous buildings named after the luminaries of the period - Adam Smith, David Hume, William Robertson - the endorsement of Robert Burns as the national poet/hero, the preservation of the Culloden battlefield as a tourist attraction, and the physical geographies of its major towns. Yet, while it is a century that remains central to modern constructions of national identity, it is a period associated with men. Until recently, the history of women in eighteenth-century Scotland, with perhaps the honourable exception of Flora McDonald, remained unwritten. Over the last decade however, research on women and gender in Scotland has flourished and we have an increasingly full picture of women's lives at all social levels across the century. As a result, this is an appropriate moment to reflect on what we know about Scottish women during the eighteenth century, to ask how their history affects the traditional narratives of the period, and to reflect on the implications for a national history of Scotland and Scottish identity.
Divided into three sections, covering women's intimate, intellectual and public lives, this interdisciplinary volume offers articles on women's work, criminal activity, clothing, family, education, writing, travel and more. Applying tools from history, art anthropology, cultural studies, and English literature, it draws on a wide-range of sources, from the written to the visual, to highlight the diversity of women's experiences and to challenge current male-centric historiographies.
Contents: Introduction, Katie Barclay and Deborah Simonton; Part I Intimate Lives: Female birthing customs and beliefs, Anne Cameron; Love and courtship in 18th-century Scotland, Katie Barclay; When a lass goes ‘so round’, with her ‘tua sides high’: oral culture and women’s views on illegitimacy, Svetla Baloutzova; Family, politics and reform in Margaret Cullen’s Home: a Novel (1802), Jane Rendall. Part II Intellectual Lives: The value of feminine culture: community involvement in the provision of schooling for girls in 18th-century Scotland, Lindy Moore; The depiction of literacy, schooling and education in the autobiographical writings of 18th-century Scottish women, Betty Hagglund; Making mechanics modern: Mary Somerville’s translation of Laplace’s Mécanique céleste, Margaret Carlyle and James Wallace; Tourist sites and travellers: women and late 18th-century Scottish tourism, Pam Perkins; Scarred, suffering bodies: 18th-century Scottish women travellers on slavery, sentiment and sensibility, Corey E. Andrews. Part III Public Lives: Women, land and power: a case for continuity, Rosalind Carr; Negotiating the economy of the 18th-century Scottish town: female entrepreneurs claim their place, Deborah Simonton; The display and trading of fashionable dress and its impact on women in Scotland’s growing urban centres, c.1780-1825, Louisa Cross; ‘Outrageous acts and everyday rebellions’: criminal women in 18th-century Scotland, Anne-Marie Kilday; Further reading; Index.
About the Editor: Katie Barclay is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, University of Adelaide. She is the author of Love, Intimacy and Power: Marriage and Patriarchy in Scotland, 1650-1850 (Manchester, 2011), winner of the 2012 Women’s History Network Book Prize and Joint Winner of the Senior Hume Brown Prize in Scottish History, and a number of articles on family life in Scotland. Deborah Simonton is Associate Professor of British History at the University of Southern Denmark and leads the Gender in the European Town Network. She is the author of A History of European Women's Work (London, 1998), Women in European Culture and Society: Gender, Skill and Identity from 1700 (London, 2010) and co-editor of Gender in Scottish History since 1700 (Edinburgh, 2006).
Reviews: '… this is an appropriate moment to reflect on what we know about Scottish women during the eighteenth century, to ask how their history affects the traditional narratives of the period, and to reflect on the implications for a national history of Scotland and Scottish identity.'
The Bootle Imp
'… succinct introduction weaves the strands together into a cohesive whole, presenting the book as an appreciation of the current strength of research into women’s and gender history in 18th-century Scotland… the gathering together of these articles marks a moment to reflect on what we have learned about Scottish women and where future research must be directed to enhance our understanding.'
Reviews in History
‘Rosalind Carr’s monograph is an important contribution to a growing body of scholarship on gender and the Scottish Enlightenment. While this scholarship has demonstrated the significance of ‘woman’ to Enlightenment narratives of the progress of society, Carr seeks to examine the participation of actual women in the social spaces and public intellectual life of Enlightenment culture. …she makes a valuable contribution to the study of gender and Enlightenment: while gender is too often seen as a, perhaps more theoretically inflected, synonym for women, Carr takes seriously the rational aspect of the concept to investigate the gendered dimensions of Enlightenment masculinities.’
Katie Barclay has a profile page on the University of Adelaide website
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