Sue Innes Memorial Lecture 2021, Thursday 9 December, 2021 9am (GMT) – Catch up now!

Two books on a wooden table

The Sue Innes Memorial Lecture is held annually in memory of Sue Innes, feminist historian, campaigner and journalist, who died in 2005. Sue was an enthusiastic member of Women’s History Scotland (then known as Scottish Women’s History Network). She was one of the editors of The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women, which is dedicated to her.

Sue was a key figure in the second-wave feminist movement (as well as a history of women’s orgnisations) and thus the topic of this year’s memorial lecture was very apt. Our topic this year had also been selected to encompass a broad transnational perspective in recognition of the importance and relevance of global connectedness (at a time when horizons sometimes feel they are narrowing as a result of the effects of the pandemic). Finally, it had also been selected to highlight the Women’s History Scotland objective of promoting and showcasing all aspects of women’s and gender history research that are taking place in Scotland as well as about Scotland.

Dr Katie Barclay

Women’s History Scotland are delighted to welcome Dr Katie Barclay as our guest speaker for the 2021 Sue Innes Memorial Lecture. Her lecture brings a history of emotions reading to family history sources with the goal of enriching our understanding of how men and women in nineteenth- century Britain produced and debated the family as an affective and gendered unit.

Dr Katie Barclay is Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in the History of Emotions and Associate Professor, University of Adelaide and writes widely in the fields of gender history, family history and the history of emotions. With Giovanni Tarantino, she is editor of Emotions: History, Culture, Society. She is the author of Love, Intimacy and Power: Marriage and Patriarchy in Scotland, 1650-1850 (2011); Men on Trial: Performing Emotion, Embodiment and Identity in Ireland, 1800-1845 (2021); The History of Emotions: A Student Guide to Methods and Sources (2020); Caritas: Neighbourly Love and the Early Modern Self (2021) and Academic Emotions: Feeling the Institution (2021).

‘The Emotions of Family History in Nineteenth-Century Britain’


Family history was a popular past-time of the nineteenth century amongst the middle and upper classes, enabling a flourishing (often self-published) literature on the ancestry of various families. Aside from providing useful genealogical data, these texts have typically been dismissed by historians as at best antiquarian, at worst evident of the rich fantasy lives of the upwardly mobile. Like family histories today however, they offer insight into how individuals defined and conceptualised family life and the importance of knowing and maintaining such connections over the generations. Emotion was significant here, where the family came to be defined not only in terms of affective relationships with each other, but to the nation – feeling refracted through historical narratives in which family members took lead roles. Archival materials and heirlooms too could be significant, as sources through which people produced family stories, and as emotional objects that transmitted certain obligations to ensuring the continuation of the lineage. Satirical commentary around family histories conversely held such sentiments in check and in so doing, questioned the national narratives built on such accounts. This paper brings a history of emotions reading to these sources with the goal of enriching our understanding of how men and women in nineteenth-century Britain produced and debated the family as an affective and gendered unit, and so explored the nature of the nation that such families promised.

This event took place online – here’s the poster and details:

This will take place online so to reserve your place book here through Eventbrite

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