Women’s History Network Conference 2021 – Reading List

Posted by Rebecca Mortimer - Thursday, 2 Sep 2021


To celebrate the 2021 Women’s History Network Conference, taking place from the 2nd-4th September, we’ve put together a reading list featuring new, forthcoming and bestselling women’s history titles from MUP. We’ve also included author videos, blog posts and free access to chapters via manchesterhive.



Women art workers and the Arts and Crafts movement by Zoë Thomas

Thomas provides unprecedented insight into how women navigated authoritative roles as ‘art workers’ by asserting expertise across a range of interconnected cultures: from the artistic to the professional, intellectual, entrepreneurial and domestic. Through examination of newly discovered institutional archives and private papers, Thomas elucidates the critical importance of the spaces around which women conceptualised alternative creative and professional lifestyles.



Watch Zoë Thomas introduce her book, on the MUP IGTV channel.

Read the introduction to the book via manchesterhive.


Rebel women between the wars by Sarah Lonsdale

‘I loved this engaging and often thrilling glimpse of a cohort of women between the wars who defied social expectations, and lived the lives they wanted to live. Their interweaving stories of quiet subversion and bold visibility provoked me to both admiration and the irrepressible urge to keep reading bits out to people.’
Lissa Evans, bestselling author of Old Baggage and Crooked Heart



Watch Sarah Lonsdale tell us more about some of the extraordinary women included in her book, on the MUP YouTube channel.

Listen to Sarah discuss Rebel Women between the wars with Dan Snow on the History Hit podcast.

Read the introduction to the book via manchesterhive.


Sexual progressives by Tanya Cheadle

Sexual Progressives is a major new study of the feminists and socialists who campaigned against the moral conservatism of Victorian Scotland. Drawing on a range of sources, from letters and diaries to radical newspapers and utopian novels, its arguments disrupt current understandings of progressive thought and behaviour in fin de siecle Britain.



Read the introduction to the book via manchesterhive.


Medieval women and urban justice by Teresa Phipps

This is the first in-depth, comparative study of women’s access to justice in medieval English towns. It compares the records of Nottingham, Chester and Winchester and a wide range of legal actions to highlight the variable nature of women’s legal status in actions that arose from the complex, messy ties of everyday life.



Read the introduction to the book via manchesterhive.


Women, workplace protest and political identity in England, 1968–85 by Jonathan Moss

This book draws upon original research into women’s workplace protest to deliver a new account of working-class women’s political identity and participation in post-war England. Focusing on the voices and experiences of women who fought for equal pay, skill recognition and the right to work between 1968 and 1985, it explores why working-class women engaged in such action when they did, and it analyses the impact of workplace protest on women’s political identity.



Read the introduction to the book via manchesterhive.


Ideal homes by Deborah Sugg Ryan

‘A wonderful tour through the interwar suburban house: from the appearance and decoration of our houses through to innovations in appliances and the creation of the modern “ideal home”.’
Melanie Backe-Hansen, author of House Histories: The Secrets Behind Your Front Door



Watch Deborah’s MUP Armchair Event, where she discusses researching your own house history, on the MUP YouTube channel.

Read a Q&A with Deborah on the MUP blog.


Women against cruelty by Diana Donald

Women against cruelty is the first book to explore women’s leading role in animal protection in nineteenth-century Britain, drawing on rich archival sources. Women founded bodies such as the Battersea Dogs’ Home, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and various groups that opposed vivisection. They energetically promoted better treatment of animals, both through practical action and through their writings, such as Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty. Yet their efforts were frequently belittled by opponents, or decried as typifying female ‘sentimentality’ and hysteria.



Listen to Diana discussing her book on BBC Radio 4’s Start the Week.

Read the introduction to the book via manchesterhive.


Civilised by beasts by Juliana Adelman

‘We get a fresh, different perspective on the distressed Victorian city where official attitudes to animal ownership reflected political, religious and class divisions’.
Irish Times



Read the introduction to the book via manchesterhive.




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