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Social, Cultural and Political Change

Feminism and women's history

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After Wollstonecraft

Researcher: Mary Spongberg


This project will rewrite the history of British feminism, through an innovative engagement with women's lives and life writing in the years immediately after the death of Mary Wollstonecraft.

By revising the tragic script that has accompanied histories of feminism since Wollstonecraft's death, the project will present an alternate intellectual history of women; a significant intervention into Romanticism through a focus on non-canonical texts; a radically different account of the formation of feminist genealogies; and a more profound understanding of the intersection between religious dissent and feminism in this period.

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British women writers and the Whig historical tradition

Researchers: Mary Spongberg, Clara Tuite (University of Melbourne)


This project will create a provocative re-conception of British historiography, as a genre and practice, through an innovative interpretation of women's historical production between 1763 and 1886.

In this period a significant number of women wrote about the British past. Although few wrote specific histories of Britain, they developed new genres that merged historical and literary forms. No comprehensive study of these vital forms, and their relationship to larger debates about state, nation, empire and citizenship within British history, currently exists.

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Feminist Genealogies Colloquium

Discussion panel: Mary Spongberg, Arianne Chernock (Boston University), Gina Luria Walker (New School of Social Research, New York)

This project will explore the ways in which men and women - past and present - have imagined and documented women's history, and the role such constructions have played in forging and crystallising feminist movements and identities.


Mary Spongberg is chairing the panel 'Feminism and the History of Women', which will focus on the relationship between feminism and the writing of women's history.

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The Mary Hays Project

Researchers: Mary Spongberg, Gina Luria Walker (New School of Social Research, New York)


In this collaborative feminist effort we will enrich Mary Hays's pioneering six volumes, Female Biography (1803), with the most recent scholarship about the 300 women she included. Each of hers entries will be annotated with explanatory footnotes for the modern reader. Hays's Female Biography will be published by Pickering & Chatto, as a Chawton House Library Edition.

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