WHS Steering Committee

WHS is run by a Steering Committee, elected each year by the membership at the AGM. We meet on a regular basis. The Steering Committee co-ordinates all WHS activities, acting as a focal point for projects, conferences and publications.

Current Steering Committee members

Eleanor Gordon (Convenor) is currently an affiliate in Economic and Social History at the University of Glasgow where she was Professor of Gender and Social History from 2004.  She is a co-editor of Gender in Scottish History since 1700; co-author with Gwyneth Nair of Murder and morality in Victorian Britain: the story of Madeleine Smith (MUP, 2009) and Public lives: women, family and society in Victorian Britain (Yale University Press, 2003); and co-editor with Esther Breitenbach of The World is ill divided: women’s work in Scotland in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (EUP, 1990) and Out of Bounds: Women in Scottish Society 1800-1945 (EUP, 1992). She is currently co-authoring a monograph based on research arising from the ESRC funded project ‘A History of Working-Class Marriage in Scotland, 1855-1976

Lynn Abrams is Professor of Modern History at the University of Glasgow. Her primary research interests are in modern European and Scottish women’s and gender history and oral history. She is a co-editor of Gender in Scottish History since 1700 , author of The Making of Modern Woman: Europe 1789-1918 (Longman, 2002), Myth and Materiality in a Woman’s World: Shetland 1800-2000 (MUP, 2005) and Oral History Theory (Routledge, 2016, 2nd ed). She is currently researching women of the post-war transition generation, selfhood and liberation.

Esther Breitenbach (Secretary) is Honorary Fellow in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh. Her research interests include women in Scottish politics, Scottish women’s history, and Scottish participation in the British Empire. She has written widely on women in Scotland, and on gender equality and equal opportunities issues. She co-edited, with Linda Fleming, S Karly Kehoe, and  Lesley Orr, Scottish Women: A Documentary History, 1780-1914 (EUP, 2013). She is a contributor to the The Women’s Suffrage Movement in Scotland, 1867-1928: A Learning Resource.

Linda Fleming completed her PhD at the University of Glasgow in 2005. She is currently Research Associate on the AHRC funded project The Redress of the Past: Historical Pageants in Britain, 1905-2016. Her research interests include the cultural history of twentieth century Scotland, immigration and ethnicity in nineteenth and twentieth century Scotland and the uses of personal testimony in historical work. She is a contributor to the The Women’s Suffrage Movement in Scotland, 1867-1928: A Learning Resource.

Mairi Hamilton is a second-year PhD student in the Centre for Gender History at the University of Glasgow. Her thesis examines narratives of women’s experiences of abuse within domestic settings in nineteenth-century Scotland. This research project is funded by the AHRC through the Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities (SGSAH). She has a MSc in Gender History and a MA with First Class Honours in History from the University of Glasgow. Mairi is the current convenor of the Hufton Postgraduate Reading Group at Glasgow, which brings together postgraduate students to discuss gender in history on a monthly basis. Mairi first became a member of Women’s History Scotland in March 2018 and then joined the steering committee in November. In April 2018, Mairi was selected as a recipient of the inaugural Women’s History Scotland Research Bursary, which was used to fund her first conference paper. Her research interests include sexual violence, subjectivity and the self, the body, and gendered identities.

Louise Jackson is a Reader in Social History at the University of Edinburgh. Her research interests centre on the relationship between gender, criminality, policing and regulation in modern Britain. Publications include Women Police: Gender, Welfare and Surveillance in the Twentieth Century (MUP, 2006),  (with Shani D’Cruze) Women, Crime and Justice in England Since 1660 (Palgrave, 2009) and (with Angela Bartie) Policing Youth: Britain 1945-70 (MUP, 2014).

Ann Kettle (Treasurer) has recently retired from the University of St Andrews where she is an honorary senior lecturer in mediaeval history. She was one of the first to introduce a course on the history of women in a Scottish university and for 25 years taught an honours module on ‘Women in Mediaeval England’. Her main research interests lie in English social and economic history and she has published several articles on female domestic servants and prostitution in later medieval England. Various other activities have given her a research interest in the careers of modern female academics and earned her an OBE for services to higher education.

Helen MacDonald is the IT/Systems administrator at Glasgow Women’s Library. Having studied Physics before gaining an MSc in the History of Science, she joined GWL in 2005 (and combines both with a continued interest in the history of women and science). In 2010 she helped to develop the Women of Scotland project with Women’s History Scotland, building the website that now allows anyone in Scotland to record and map memorials to women (womenofscotland.org.uk). Following the public launch of the site in March 2012, she has continued to administer and promote the site through social and traditional media. She is interested in developing online resources and tools that open women’s history to a wider audience.

Rebecca Mason is a third-year AHRC-funded PhD student in the History department at the University of Glasgow. Her thesis explores the litigating activities of married women in courts in seventeenth-century Glasgow, focusing on their rights to real estate and moveable property in contrasting legal jurisdictions. Her research is funded as part of the UK-wide AHRC project entitled ‘Women Negotiating the Boundaries of Justice: Britain and Ireland, c.1100-c.1750’. She is a PGR administrative assistant for the Centre for Gender History, and a PGR student representative on the School of Humanities Gender Equality Committee in the University of Glasgow. She is also a student ambassador for the Economic History Society. She holds an MA in Medieval and Early Modern History and a BA in History and English Literature from Queen’s University, Belfast. More broadly, her research interests include: the relationship between gender and economic development, the gendered structures of premodern law, and the impact of gender and marital status when entering law.

Alison McCall gained her history degree as a mature student through the Open University. She completed her PhD, entitled “The Lass o’ Pairts: Social mobility for women through education in Scotland, 1850-1901” at the University of Dundee in 2014.  Her interest in Women’s History developed from an early interest in genealogy and local history.

Yvonne McFadden is a Teaching Associate in History at the University of Strathclyde who completed her PhD at the University of Glasgow in 2016. Her thesis entitled, ‘Creating a Modern Home: Gender, Culture and Consumption in Post-War Suburban Glasgow, 1945-1975’ examined the relationship between housing, gender, social mobility and work. Other interests include oral history, material culture and post-war feminism.

Deborah Simonton (FRHS) is Associate Professor of British History, emerita, University of Southern Denmark, a Visiting Professor at the University of Turku, and for Spring 2016, a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Utah State University. She leads the Network, Gender in the European Town, and her international reputation has led to invitations to act as an international expert reviewer for research grants, to act as a keynote speaker and join panels on a range of topics. She has published widely and has been commissioned to contribute to landmark publications. She studies the gendered and power relations articulated in the shifting economic structures of corporate towns in the context of commercial and polite culture. She is interested in the language of skill, which drew heavily on the masculine traditions of urban guilds and apprenticeship, and she has explored how the urban community was masculinised, how women utilised a range of strategies to either conform or circumvent urban regulation; and how commercial trading shaped the ways that men and women established themselves in urban culture. Having taught sociology, cultural history, language, politics and history, she brings an interdisciplinary approach to her research. She has published A History of European Women’s Work in Europe since 1700 (Routledge, 1998), and Women in European Culture and Society, Gender, Skill and Identity since 1700 (Routledge 2010) and a companion sourcebook. She has extensive editing experience which includes, as a founding editor, Women’s History Magazine, the Routledge History of Women in Europe (2006), with Anne Montenach, Female Agency in the Urban Economy, Gender in European Towns: 1640-1830 (Routledge, 2013) and with Anne Montenach and Marjo Kaartinen, Luxury and Gender in the Modern Urban Economy: A European Perspective, c.1700–1914 (Routledge 2014). She edited Catastrophe, Gender and Urban Experience in Europe, with Hannu Salmi (Routledge 2016). She is General Editor of The Routledge History Handbook on Gender and the Urban Experience (2016), and The Cultural History of Work (6 vols, Bloomsbury, 2017) with Anne Montenach, and on the editorial committee of Cultural History Journal.

Fiona Skillen (Vice Convenor) is a senior lecturer in History at Glasgow Caledonian University. Her research focuses on the historical development of women’s sport in Britain. Her ground breaking work emphasises a new way of looking at women’s sporting past by examining ‘sites of participation’, places such as schools, work places and municipal provision in addition to the more traditional focus on clubs and sports institutions. In doing so her work highlights the ways in which sport was integrated in to women’s everyday lives and also provides a clearer understanding of the development of many popular contemporary sports such as tennis, golf and hockey. Her monograph, Women, Sport and Modernity in Interwar Britain (2013) draws on this research. She has also worked on media representations of sportswomen, advertising, sports clothing and the public and medical debates surrounding women’s increased participation in physical activities. In recent years she has researched around the history of the Commonwealth Games in Scotland with Dr Matt McDowell (Edinburgh University). She has also worked in the heritage sector and has collaborated on the develop of several projects, including the 2009 Gude Cause March and the latest of which is her involvement with the establishment and launch of Scottish Women in Sport’s Hall of Fame.

Jo Thor is a final year PhD candidate at Edinburgh University. She works with Professor Stewart J Brown and Professor Louise Jackson on Magdalene Asylums in nineteenth-century Scotland. Her research explores the development of these institutions throughout the period. It will analyse how their relationship with the state, police and hospitals had changed from their re-emergence at the end of 18th c. till the end of the long 19th c. when the politico-religious situation put an end to some of these institutions and completely transformed the others. If you want to find out more please see her blogs (published by the Ecclesiastical History Society and Four Nations History) and my upcoming article in “Studies in Church History” (Cambridge University Press, 2019).

Along my research she enjoys teaching and contributing to the academic community in various ways. Throughout 2017 and 2018, she worked as a tutor at the School of Divinity, Edinburgh. In January 2019 she was awarded Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA). Since the beginning of her PhD programme she has been involved in many Committees and event organising whose goal was to encourage interdisciplinary work and, at New College, build a community feeling. In October 2018 I co-organised Scottish-Irish Research in Religion Conference. Since November 2018 she has been a member of the Women’s History Scotland Steering Committee and she is part of a sub-committee responsible for organising the Society’s annual conference in November 2019. Since August 2018 she has been a member of the Edinburgh University’s Senatus Academicus. She has also been involved in the New College Postgraduate Committee. She served as its Secretary (2016-17) and Convenor (2017-18). During that time, she rebranded the Committee’s image, increased its visibility on social media and vastly increased its presence at the university. She has been recently invited to return as a Treasurer and an advisor (2019). She also works a private tutor for secondary school students applying to British universities and as an examiner for the Polish branch of the United World Colleges.

Perry Willson is Professor of Modern European History at the University of Dundee. Her research focuses mainly on women and gender in twentieth-century Italy, particularly the Fascist period. Her publications include The Clockwork Factory. Women and Work in Fascist Italy (Oxford University Press, 1993); Peasant Women and Politics in Fascist Italy: the Massaie Rurali (Routledge, 2002); (ed.) Gender, Family and Sexuality: the Private Sphere in Italy 1860-1945 (Palgrave, 2004); Women in Twentieth-Century Italy (Palgrave, 2010 and an Italian edition with Laterza Editori, 2011) and (ed.) La Mamma: Interrogating a National Stereotype (Palgrave, forthcoming 2018). She is a member of the Editorial Board of Modern Italy journal and was co-chair of the Gender and War track for the Seventeenth Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, Genders, and Sexualities (Hofstra University, New York, 2017).

Valerie Wright (website coordinator) is currently Research Associate on the Leverhulme Trust funded project ‘Employment, Politics in Culture: Scotland 1955-2015’, based in Economic and Social History at the University of Glasgow, where she is also a member of the Centre for Gender History. Her current research interests focus on industrial and political change in postwar Scotland and the consequences of deindustrialisation. Other research interests include housing, post-war childhood and play and women’s involvement in politics and associational culture in twentieth century Scotland. She is a contributor to the The Women’s Suffrage Movement in Scotland, 1867-1928: A Learning Resource