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Politics: theory, practice and gender

1. Consider the effect of Enlightenment thinking on gender relations.

2. Would you agree that both Hannah More and Mary Wollstonecraft were seeking to revolutionise the position of women? If so, how did they suggest it would be achieved?

3. Discuss the ideological roots of early Victorian feminism.

4. How did Chartism and Owenism challenge the established social order?

Core Reading

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. Emile, book 5

More, Hannah. Coelebs in Search of a Wife, extracts

Wollstonecraft, Mary. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, ch. 5, ch.9

Anna Clark, ‘The Rhetoric of Chartist Domesticity: Gender, Language and Class in the 1830s and 1840s’, Journal of British Studies (1992)

Colley, Linda. Britons: Forging the Nation 1707-1837, ch.6

Kathryn Gleadle, British Women in the Nineteenth Century, chs. 2, 8

Kathryn Gleadle, The Early Feminists, especially chs.1-3

Myers, Mitzi. ‘Reform or Ruin: “A Revolution in Female Manners”’, Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, 11 (1982), pp. 199-216

Helen Rogers, Women and the People, especially chap 1

Barbara Taylor, Eve and the New Jerusalem

TLTP Courseware ( and

Rousseau, the Enlightenment

Coole, Diana. Women in Political Theory: From Ancient Misogyny to Contemporary Feminism, ch.5

Outram, Dorinda. The Enlightenment, ch.6

Rendall, Jane. The Origins of Modern Feminism: Women in Britain, France and the United States, 1780-1860, ch.1

Schwartz, J. The Sexual Politics of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, ch.4

Taylor, Barbara. ‘Feminism and the Enlightenment 1650-1850’, History Workshop Journal 47 (1999), pp. 261-72

Wokler, Robert. ‘Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Moral Decadence and the Pursuit of Liberty’ in Redhead, Brian (ed), From Plato to Nato: Studies in Political Thought


Jump, Harriet Devine. Mary Wollstonecraft

Hirsch, Pam B. ‘Mary Wollstonecraft: A Problematic Legacy’ in Orr, Clarissa Campbell (ed), Wollstonecraft’s Daughters

Janes, R. M. ‘On the Reception of Mary Wollstonecraft’s “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman”, Journal of the History of Ideas, (1978)

Kelly, Gary. Revolutionary Feminism, ch. 5

Rendall, Jane. The Origins of Modern Feminism: Women in Britain, France and the United States, 1780-1860, ch. 2

Taylor, Barbara. ‘Mary Wollstonecraft and the Wild Wish of Early Feminism’, History Workshop Journal, (1992)


Davidoff, Leonore and Hall, Catherine. Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the English Middle Class, 1780-1850, pp. 167-172

Hall, Catherine. ‘The Early Formation of Victorian Domestic Ideology’ in Burman (ed), Fit Work for Women; also in Hall, Catherine. White, Male and Middle Class: Explorations in Feminity and History

Nardin, Jane. ‘Hannah More and the Rhetoric of Educational Reform’, Women’s History Review, 10 (2001), pp. 211-26

Stott, Anne. ‘Patriotism and Providence: The Politics of Hannah More’ in Gleadle, Kathryn and Richardson, Sarah (eds), Women in British Politics, 1760-1860, pp. 39-55

Sutherland, Kathryn. ‘Hannah More’s Counter-Revolutionary Feminism’ in Everest, Kelvin (ed), Revolution in Writing: British Literary Responses to the French Revolution, pp. 27-63

Early Victorian Feminism

T Ball, ‘Utilitarianism, Feminism and the Franchise. James Mill and his Critics’, Political Thought (1980)

Olive Banks, Faces of Feminism, ch. 2-4

Lea Campos Boralevi, ‘Utilitarianism and Feminism’ in Kennedy and Mendus (eds), Women in Western Political Philosophy

I. McCalman, ‘Females, Feminism and Free Love’, Labour History (1980)

Dolores Dooley, ‘Anna Doyle Wheeler’ in Cullen and Luddy (eds), Women, Power and Consciousness in Nineteenth-Century Ireland

Jane Rendall, The Origins of Modern Feminism: Women in Britain, France and the United States, 1780-1860, ch. 8

Helen Rogers, Women and the People

Barbara Taylor, Eve and the New Jerusalem

Chartism and Owenism

Anna Clark, The Struggle for the Breeches, chs. 12-14

Michelle de Larrabeiti, ‘Conspicuous Before the World: the Political Rhetoric of Chartist Women’ in Yeo, Radical Femininity

R and E Frow (eds), Political Women, 1800-1850, chs. 6, 7, 9

Jutta Schwarzkopf, Women in the Chartist Movement

M I Thomis and J Grimmet, Women in Protest, 1800-1850

Dorothy Thompson, The Chartists, ch. 7