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Thu, May 30

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Female Servants with Charmian Mansell

Female Servants with Charmian Mansell

Join NACBS to celebrate the publication of Female Servants in Early Modern England by Charmian Mansell.

Female Servants with Charmian Mansell
Female Servants with Charmian Mansell

Time & Location

May 30, 2024, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT

Female Servants with Charmian Mansell

About the event

Join NACBS to celebrate the publication of Female Servants in Early Modern England by Charmian Mansell. The author will be joined in discussion by Julie Hardwick and Steve Hindle. 

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“What was it like to be a woman in service in early modern England? Drawing on evidence of over 1000 female servants recorded in church court testimony between c.1530 and 1650, Female Servants in Early Modern England uncovers these women's everyday lives. Intervening in histories of labour, gender, freedom, law, migration, youth, and community, this book rethinks traditional scholarship of service. De-coupling 'household' and 'service', it reveals the importance of female servants' labour to the wider economy and their key role in social networks and communities. Moving beyond regulatory codes of service prescribed by law and conduct literature, this book lays bare the varied experiences of women who served. Service was fluid and contingent: some women's working lives operated with flexibility unsanctioned by law yet socially accepted, while poverty bound others fast to service. In early modern England, service (and the freedoms it allowed) was in flux.”

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Charmian Mansell is a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge. She is currently on research fellowships until December, at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington D.C. and the Huntington Library in L.A. She is the author of Female Servants in Early Modern England (Oxford University Press, 2024) which is out now and available open access.

Julie Hardwick is John E. Green Professor of History at the University of Texas in Austin. Her most recent book, Sex in an Old Regime City: Young people, Intimacy and Work in France, 1660-1789, was published with Oxford University Press in 2020.

Steve Hindle is Derek Hirst Professor of History at Washington University in St Louis and author most recently of The Social Topography of a Rural Community (Oxford University Press, 2023).

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