Dr Kate Gibson
Title: Perceptions and Experiences of Illegitimacy in the Long Eighteenth Century.
Funded by: Wolfson Foundation Postgraduate Scholarship
Status: PhD completed (2018)
Semester One 2018/19 Office Hours: Thursdays 15:00-16:00 (Jessop West 2.01a)
My study examines the experience of being an illegitimate child in England in the period 1660 to 1830, using qualitative sources such as correspondence, life-writing, parish records and cultural production such as ballads. Previous scholarship has examined the quantitative increase in illegitimacy during this period, but has neglected the individual experience behind the statistics.
My research focuses firmly on the experience of the child rather than the relationship of their parents, examining their status within the family and kin unit as well as broader cultural attitudes towards their place in society. Moving away from a traditional historiographical focus on illegitimacy as a phenomenon experienced primarily by the poor, I am conducting a cross-class analysis to find out the extent to which attitudes were governed by socio-economic status.
The project combines changing ideas about identity, childhood, parenting, emotion and gender to investigate not only the social experience of the child but also the existence of illegitimacy in the public imagination
'"A providential match betwixt our families": Marriage Choice and Kinship amongst the English Catholic Elite, 1680-1730', The Journal of Family History (2016)
In The Media
|Affiliations and Awards||
Wolfson Foundation PhD Scholar, 2014-2017