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School of History, Philosophy and Culture
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
+44 (0)1865 483732
Joanne Begiato joined Oxford Brookes in March 2005 from Murray Edwards College, Cambridge where she was a fellow and director of studies in history. Prior to this she was a Junior Research Fellow at Merton College, Oxford and read for her BA and PhD at the University of Durham. Joanne teaches social and cultural history. She specialises in the history of the family, marriage, masculinities, and law. With Professor Begiato students will investigate these topics from the perspective of emotions, material culture and gender in order to understand them better and make them come alive: exploring images of families, sailors, and soldiers; examining gendered objects and spaces; considering which weapons men used to beat their wives and which possessions quarrelling spouses fought over; and thinking about the meaning of men's clothes and beards for masculine identity.
Professor Begiato is a historian of early modern, Georgian and Victorian Britain, with particular interests in marriage, marriage breakdown, family relationships, the domestic economy, parenting, masculinities and identities. She is fascinated by the ways in which people encountered their material and emotional worlds and draws on a range of different types of primary sources to investigate them, from the printed word, to visual images, to objects and spaces.
Her book Sex and the Church in England 1688-1832, co-authored with Professor William Gibson will be published by I B Tauris early in 2017. This book reassesses the role of the Anglican Church in ideas about sex, its discipline, and its practice.
She is also writing a book about the ways in which people learned about being manly and unmanly in England from the 1780s to 1880s. She hopes to unpick the concepts of 'manly' and 'unmanly' at a broad national level and then explore them in more detail through a series of case-studies. These will include material culture such as the idealised motifs of St George, rural labouring men, Jack Tar, and the working men who adorned the emblems, certificates and banners of early trades unions and friendly societies. She'll also think about how men's bodies were 'policed' to reward or punish being manly or unmanly. Finally she is considering the role of emotions in heightening the power of images, objects and spaces in these processes.
Professor Begiato published Parenting in England c.1760-1830: emotions, self-identity and generation in 2012. See a review here. This study traces parenting both as a concept and a mode of being in an era marked by the cultures of Sensibility and Romanticism. The golden thread connecting these movements was the expression of emotion and this research therefore analyses the interplay between practices, feelings and ideas during a period of change in ideas about childhood, family, gender and self.
She has also published several articles on fatherhood and masculinity, representations of pauper parents, the relationship between memories of parents and the formation of personal identity.
Her first monograph was Unquiet Lives: marriage and marriage breakdown in England 1660-1800 (CUP, 2003, re-issued in paperback in January 2009). See a review of this book. Related publications include a study of married women's experience of coverture and an analysis of the use of church court records as an historical source.
This article explores representations of the manly body and the ways in which its relationship with masculine identity and embodied selfhood changed over time and class. It spans a period in which different types of masculinities were dominant, from the later eighteenth-century man of feeling to the later nineteenth-century muscular Christian, and proposes that an embodied approach offers a more nuanced consideration of the ways in which ideals of masculinity were culturally viewed and utilised. First, it provides a chronology of the manner in which the ideal manly body changed over the two centuries, demonstrating that abstract masculine values were always rooted in male bodies. Secondly, it proposes that although most idealised masculine identities were elite, attention to the more corporeal aspects of gender offers evidence that there were features of the manly body, for example hardness, that appealed across social ranks 1 Elite men valorised idealised working-class men’s bodies and saw in them something to emulate. Moreover, working-class men used classically-inspired figures to represent themselves when formulating class and gender identities.
Pregnancy was a routine, often regular, experience for women across their childbearing years in the long eighteenth century since the majority of women wed in their mid-twenties and bore children until menopause. Pregnancy was limited only by fertility, health, and sexual abstinence before the “fertility transition”. As such pregnancy from its earliest stages to birth was a topic consistently discussed in family correspondence and diaries among the literate social ranks. Although individual circumstances were often different, one common theme emerges across these relatively mundane commentaries on pregnancy: a pervasive sense of apprehension. This chapter surveys the language used to describe pregnancy and the unborn child in order to shed more light about the bodily and emotional experience of pregnancy in late Georgian England.
Invited Plenary and Conference Presentations:
Invited Conference Papers (from 2008):