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Dr Laura Schwartz



Reader in Modern British History
Office FAB 3.09

Office Hours: Monday and Tuesday 12 noon. These are in person in my office – no need to book in advance just turn up. (NB in Week 3 offices are slightly different - Tue and Wed at 12 noon instead.)




Academic Profile

I am a historian of feminism and labour movements in Britain, across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. My work to date has examined the intellectual and political formations that drove successive feminist movements, but also how these ideas are ‘lived’ and taken up more widely. Over the course of my career I have explored how feminism has influenced the emergence of secularism; the reform of higher education; and, most recently, working-class politics. I am interested in exploring the political limitations and contradictions of British feminism, especially with regards to class and imperialism, as well as its achievements, and in considering these legacies for feminism today. I am now shifting my focus more towards labour history have recently established a network entitled 'Writing Labour History in Brexit Britain' which brings together scholars whose work challenges contemporary invocations of ‘the British working class’ as white, male and socially conservative. I welcome applications from prospective postgraduate students working on nineteenth/twentieth-century feminism and/ or labour movements, or on the history of gender and class more generally.

  • 2020-present: Reader in Modern British History, University of Warwick
  • 2016-2020: Associate Professor of Modern British History, University of Warwick
  • 2012-2016: Assistant Professor of Modern British History, University of Warwick
  • 2011-2012: IAS Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Warwick
  • 2008-2011: Career Development Fellow, University of Oxford
  • 2005-2008: PhD, University of East London, thesis title ‘Infidel Feminism: Religion, Secularism, and Women’s Rights in England, c.1830-1889’

Selected Publications



  • 'Feminism, Reproductive Labour and the Gendered Welfare State in Britain’s National Insurance Act of 1911', Past and Present (forthcoming, 2024)
  • 'Domestic Servants, the Working Class and Servants' Trade Unions in the 19th and 20th Centuries, Ferruccio: Revista di Storia (Dec 2022)
  • Roundtable: The politics of class, past and present’, Renewal 30:1 (2022) with Julia Laite, Aditya Sarkar and George Stevenson.
  • 'Working-Class Heroes?', History Workshop Online, (2021)
  • 'Feminism and the Women's Colleges', Education and Activism: Women at Oxford 1870-1920 (2020)
  • 'Religion and the Women's Colleges', Education and Activism: Women at Oxford 1870-1920 (2020)
  • 'The Politics of Remembering the Suffragettes', Revue Francaise de Civilisation Britannique 23:1 (2018), 1-9
  • 'Enchanted Modernity, Anglicanism and the Occult in Early Twentieth Century Oxford: Annie Moberly, Eleanor Jourdain and Their "Adventure"', Cultural and Social History 14:3 (2017), 301-319.
  • 'A Job Like Any Other? Feminist Responses and Challenges to Domestic Worker Organising in Edwardian Britain', Special Issue 'Historicising Domestic Labour: Resistance and Organising', Eileen Boris and Premilla Nadasen (eds.), International Labour and Working Class History 88 (Fall 2015), 30-48.
  • '"What We Feel is Needed is a Union for Domestics Such as the Miners Have":The Domestic Workers' Union of Great Britain and Ireland 1908-1914', Twentieth-Century British History 25:2 (2014), 173-192.
  • 'Rediscovering the Workplace', History Workshop Journal 74 (Autumn 2012), 270-277.
  • ‘Women, Religion and Agency in Modern British History’, Women’s History Review 21:2 (2012), 317-323.
  • 'Cuts are a Feminist Issue' (co-authored with the Feminist Fightback Collective), Soundings 49 (Winter 2011), 73-83.
  • ‘Feminist Thinking on Education in Victorian England’, Oxford Review of Education 37:5 (2011), 669-682.
  • ‘Rethinking the History of Feminism’ (co-authored with the History of Feminism Collective), Special Issue of Women: A Cultural Review 21:3 (2010), 266-278.
  • ‘The Bible and the Cause: Freethinking Feminists vs. Christianity, England 1870-1900’, Women: A Cultural Review 21:3 (2010), 266-278.
  • ‘Freethought, Free Love and Feminism: Secularist Debates on Marriage and Sexual Morality, England c.1850-1889’, Women’s History Review 19:5 (Nov, 2010), 775-793. Winner of the Claire Evans Essay Prize, Women's History Network (2008)

Book Chapters

  • ‘Servants’ in B. Skeggs, A. Toscano, S. Farris & Svenja Bromberg (eds.) Handbook of Marxism vol.I (London: Sage, 2022)
  • ‘The Wrong Kind of Working-Class Woman? Domestic Servants in the British suffrage Movement’, in J. Purvis & J. Hannam (eds.), The British Women’s Suffrage Campaign: National and International Perspectives (Abingdon: Routledge, 2020), 118-135
  • 'Kathlyn Oliver (1884-1953), Feminist and Founder of a Trade Union for Domestic Servants’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: online edn., 2019)
  • 'Feminist Thinking on Education in Victorian Britain', in C. Brooke & E. Frazer (eds.), Ideas of Education: Philosophy and Politics from Plato to Dewey (Abingdon: Routledge, 2013)

Ph.D. Students

  • 2022- Tabitha Bramwell, 'Domestic Servants, Professionalisation and the Women's Emancipation Movement, 1870-1914' (fully funded by the AHRC Midlands 4 Cities).
  • 2022- Chloe Challender, 'Contested Sexualities: Love, Desire and the Institution of Parliament in the Long Nineteenth Century' (fully-funded by an AHRC Midlands 4 Cities Collaborative Doctoral Award).
  • 2020 - Sue Lemos, '‘‘Pioneers of Our Own Future’: Historicising the Black Lesbian and Gay Movement in Late Twentieth Century Britain' (fully funded by the ESRC 3+1 Award)
  • 2020- Rebecca Hickman, 'Gender Non-Conformity and the Quest for "Recognition" in the UK, 1970s to the Present Day', co-supervised with the University of Nottingham (fully funded by the AHRC Midlands 4 Cities).
  • 2019-2023 Erin Geraghty, 'Transnational Feminists in Ireland 1900-1921: Imperial sisterhood or internationalist solidarity?', (fully funded by the Wolfson Foundation Scholarship).
  • 2018- Hannah Ayres, 'Queer Re/Presentation in Museums'.
  • 2018- Beckie Rutherford, ‘Apart or A Part’? Understanding the Agency and Erasure of Disabled Women Within the Women’s Liberation Movement in Britain, c. 1970-1993’ (fully funded by the Warwick History Department Scholarship).
  • 2018- Qiuyang Chen, 'A Micro-History of Women in Minnan Region, Southeast China in the 20th Century'.
  • 2016- 2020 Amy Galvin-Elliott 'From Suffragette to Citizen: Female Experience of Parliamentary Spaces in Long Nineteenth-Century Britain'(fully funded by an ESRC Collaborative Doctoral Award).
  • 2014-2017 Kate Mahoney, 'Mental Health Activism in the British Women's Liberation Movement' (Fully funded by the Wolfson Foundation Scholarship).