Professor Joanne Begiato

Associate Dean (Research and Knowledge Exchange)

Joanne Begiato


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. She became Head of the School of History, Philosophy & Culture in 2016.

Joanne is a specialist in the history of emotions, the family, marriage, masculinities, material culture, and law from c. 1700-1900. 

Teaching and supervision


Modules taught


  • Making Men: masculinities in England 1700-1918 (Third Year)
  • Culture, Community and Family (Second Year)


  • Key Concepts and Methods for Humanities Research in History


Professor Joanne 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.

She recently completed Manliness in Britain 1760-1900: Bodies, Emotions, and Material Culture, which will be published by Manchester University Press in 2020. This book uses the concept of emotionalised bodies and material culture to explain how ideas about manliness and unmanliness were constructed, disseminated, sustained, and fixed in individuals and society.

Her book Sex and the Church in England 1688-1832, co-authored with Professor William Gibson was published by I B Tauris early in 2017. It reassesses the role of the Anglican Church in ideas about sex, its discipline, and its practice.

Joanne 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.

Her first monograph was Unquiet Lives: marriage and marriage breakdown in England 1660-1800 (CUP, 2003, re-issued in paperback in January 2009).

In addition Joanne has published numerous articles on topics as diverse as nostalgia and the family, changes in embodied manliness through the long nineteenth century, depictions of the Jack Tar, representations and experiences of fatherhood and masculinity, the role of space and material culture in constructing domestic violence, pauper parenting, the relationship between memories of parents and the formation of personal identity, married women's experience of coverture and an analysis of the use of church court records as an historical source. She has also published chapters in edited collections on the emotions of pregnancy, the links betweeen unmanliness and bodily and mental decline, dysfunctional family life, and many other aspects of family, gender, and material culture.




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Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

Joanne is a member of the Advisory Board for the Bibliography of British and Irish History.

She served as a member of the Advisory Group for the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded Database Project (2007-2010): Cause Papers in the Diocesan Courts of the Archbishopric of York 1300-1858, Borthwick Institute for Archives, University of York.


Invited Plenary and Conference Presentations:

  • ‘Tender Maternity’, Basic Instincts Symposium, Birkbeck, Nov 2017 (part of Basic Instincts Exhibition Sept 2017-Jan 2018), Foundling Hospital, London.
  • ‘”John, the soldier, Jack the tar”: Emotional Objects and Manliness in Georgian and Victorian England’ at the Annual Conference of the International Society for Cultural History in Umeå, 26-29 June, 2017 (panel: ‘Materialising Love and Loss: Objects and Identity in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Britain)
  • Plenary Roundtable, Histories of Religion and Sexuality, University of Nottingham, April 2017
  • ‘a hardy man and bred up in pitch and tar”: Manliness and the Jack Tar’. At Maritime Masculinities 1815-1940, Dec 2016, St Anne’s College, Oxford
  • 'Anxiety, Anger, and Tears: Emotions and Masculine Identities in the Long Nineteenth Century, Royal Holloway University of London, Centre for Victorian Studies, Oct 2016.
  • ‘Emotional Lives’ Professorial Inaugural Open Lecture, Oxford Brookes University, June 2016
  • ‘Sex and the Church in the Long Eighteenth Century’ with Bill Gibson, Long Eighteenth Century Seminar, IHR, June 2016
  • ‘Manly bodies before muscular manliness: grace, strength and dexterity, England 1750-1850’, Royal Historical Symposium: Masculinity and the Body in Britain, 1500-1900, University of Northampton, 18 June 2015
  • ‘Village Heroes and Hearts of Oak: the cultural power of the military in constructing English masculine identity 1790-1850, Military Masculinities in the Nineteenth Century, University of Hull, 20-21 May 2015.
  • ‘Medieval and Early Modern Pregnancy and Parents’, Perceptions of Pregnancy Conference, July 2014, University of Hertfordshire.
  • ‘English Manly Intimacy and Power in Representations of St George and the Dragon c. 1750-1950’ at Royal Historical Symposium: Intimacy, Power and Authority in European Perspectives, Bath Spa University, October 2013.
  • ‘Pandora’s Box: opening up the cultures of domestic violence’ at European Perspectives of Cultures of Violence conference, University of Leicester, June 2013.
  • 'Beds and the Making of the Domestic Landscape’ with Dr Angela McShane, ‘The body in bed’ Seminar series, The History Department, Royal Holloway University of London, October, 2010.
  • ‘Problems and opportunities in investigating gender identities: the case study of parents’, ‘Engendering Gender: production, transmission and change’, University of Exeter, July 2010.
  • ‘Being, doing, and embodying: rethinking histories of masculinities’, Conceptualising Men: Collective Identities and the 'Self'’ conference, University of Exeter, July 2009.
  • ‘Fashioning Fatherhood in eighteenth-century England: or, the rise and influence of the 'Sentimental Father in visual and textual culture', Masculinity and the Other Conference, Balliol College, August 2007.

Invited Conference Papers (from 2008):

  • Chair/organizer ‘Law and Society Memorial Symposium in Honour of Professor Christopher Brooks, University of Durham, March 2016
  • 'The Voice of the House: Material Culture and Emotion', Small Worlds Symposium, No 1 Royal Crescent, Bath, Nov 2015.
  • One of four invited panel members, Emotions Round Table, Royal Holloway, held at IHR Oct 2015
  • ‘From the 'kicking districts' to Andy Capp: wife-beating and working-class masculinities’, Crime & Legal History Group, Oxford Brookes University, 5 March 2014.
  • ‘From the 'kicking districts' to Andy Capp: wife-beating and working-class masculinities’, Industrialism and Masculinity in Comparative Regional Context, c. 1840-1939’, Aberystwyth University, September 2013. 
  • “all he wanted was to kill her that he might marry the Girl:” Broken marriages and cohabitation in the long eighteenth century’, Workshop: Changing Relationships? Cohabitation and births outside marriage, 1600-2012, University of Warwick, Dec 2012
  • '"Mr Bulcock could no more marry you than that Dog": marriage and the regulation of society', 'Taming the Many-Headed Monster: Regulating Society in Early Modern England', A colloquium and reception in honour of Dr Martin Ingram, University of Oxford, June 2012.
  • ‘In the bosom of the family: visualising parents 1700-1830’, Exeter Early Modern Seminar, University of Exeter, March 2012. 
  • ‘Changing relationships: parents and the life-course in Georgian England’, Life-Cycles Seminar, Institute of Historical Research, University of London, Oct 2011.
  • ‘Marital Law and Lawlessness in Eighteenth-Century Society’ at the Interdisciplinary Workshop, ‘After Marriage in the Long Eighteenth Century,’ University of Kent, June 2011.
  • ‘Re-facing marital cruelty in England from 1590 onwards’ With Professor Loreen Giese, Medieval and Tudor London Seminar, Institute of Historical Research, University of London, May 2011.
  • ‘Marking Marital Respect in English Ecclesiastical Court Records from the Sixteenth to Nineteenth Centuries’ With Professor Loreen Giese at ‘Sex, Violence, and Religion in the Northern Provinces 1300-1858’, a conference celebrating the launch of the York Cause Papers Database, 13 Nov, 2010. 
  • ‘Getting the measure of marriage and household authority in 17th and 18th century Britain’, Workshop on Marriage, University of Warwick, 5 February 2010.
  • ‘The Convergence of the Twain': analysing the ‘twin' categories of masculinity and fatherhood‘, Gender & History Seminar, Wadham College, Oxford, October 2008. 

Further details

Press, publicity and reviews

Activities outside the University include contributing to television and radio history programmes on BBC1, BBC2, BBC 4, and Radio 3.