New Book: Perceptions of Pregnancy


Perceptions of Pregnancy from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century has just been published by Palgrave Macmillan. This collection of chapters, which I co-edited with my University of Hertfordshire colleague Jennifer Evans, is written by members of the Perceptions of Pregnancy Researchers’ Network. Jen and I co-founded this network in summer 2014 following our hugely successful three-day conference by the same name.

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Sex Education Without the Sex

I like to dip into previously watched programmes on Netflix whenever I’m too tired to fully concentrate but want to unwind by watching some TV. Recently, I’ve taken to watching Orange is the New Black again.

Early on in episode four of season two, viewers find Poussey, Taystee, Suzanne ‘crazy eyes’, Black Cindy and Janae in the dining hall of Litchfield Prison animatedly discussing female anatomy. To the astonishment of her friends, Poussey (though not actually using the scientific labels) revealed that women urinate via the urethral hole and not the vagina, as the other women thought. Their disbelief prompted her to query, ‘Didn’t ya’ll take sex ed?!’ Later in the episode, Sophia draws a diagram for the women. The day before watching this episode, I happened to be reading sex education guides published in Britain and Ireland in the first half of the twentieth century. Stick with me, I’m going somewhere with this! Continue reading “Sex Education Without the Sex”

Leinster House: Seat of Power documentary

A new documentary exploring the history of Leinster House as the site of the Irish parliament aired tonight on Oireachtas TV. Presented by John Bowman, it looks at how the building was adapted and used to house the government of independent Ireland. I contributed to the documentary and offered commentary on the Cumann na nGaedheal governments of the 1920s.

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Voices of the Home Front at The National Archives


For the past three days I’ve been at The National Archives at Kew with my colleagues from the Everyday Lives in War centre. In conjunction with the Archives, we organised Voices of the Home Fronts, a three day conference exploring aspects of the home fronts during and after the First World War.

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1960s Housewives: Content or Unconsciously Oppressed?

This post is really just me thinking out loud, as I try to work through one of the research questions with which I’m grappling at the moment: were Irish housewives in the 1960s content, or were the unconsciously oppressed? Thinking about it is leading me into the realms of philosophical debate.

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