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Secularism, Religion and Women's Rights

Questions to ponder whilst you read…

  • Was first wave feminism secular?
  • Does religion oppress women more than it supports them?
  • How can historians understand the religious beliefs of women in the past?
  • What is the relationship between religion and politics in the context of the first wave women’s movement?

 

Core Reading

L. Schwartz, ‘Review Article: Women, Religion and Agency in Modern British History’, Women’s History Review 21:2 (2012), 317-323

H. Mathers, ‘Evangelicalism and Feminism: Josephine Butler, 1828-1906’, in S. Morgan, Women, Religion and Feminism in Britain (2002), pp.123-138 digitised

Further Reading

Margaret Jane Menzies, Eighth monthly letter to young women (1880) [MRC document available digitally]

A. Besant, Autobiographical Sketches (1885)

J. Butler, Personal Reminiscences of a Great Crusade (1928)

The Catholic Suffragist, volume 1, number 1 (15 January 1915) [MRC document available digitally]

J. De Vries, ‘More Than Paradoxes to Offer: Feminism, History and Religious Cultures’, in S. Morgan & J. De Vries (eds.), Women, Gender and Religious Cultures in Britain 1800-1940 (2010)

J. Dixon, ‘Sexology and the occult: sexuality and subjectivity in Theosophy's new age’, Journal of the History of Sexuality 7 (1997), 409-33

L. Schwartz, The Bible and the Cause: Freethinking Feminists vs. Christianity, England 1870-1900’, Women: A Cultural Review 21:3 (2010), 266-278

L. Schwartz, Infidel Feminism: Secularism, Religion and Women’s Emancipation, England 1830-1914 (2013)

J. Dixon, Modernity, ‘Heterodoxy and the Transformation of Religious Cultures’ , in S. Morgan & J. De Vries (eds.), Women, Gender and Religious Cultures in Britain 1800-1940 (2010), pp. 211-230

K. Gleadle, The Early Feminists: Radical Unitarians and the Emergence of the Women’s Rights Movement 1831-1851 (1995)

C. Midgley, ‘Women, Religion and Reform’, in S. Morgan & J. De Vries (eds.), Women, Gender and Religious Cultures in Britain 1800-1940 (2010), pp.138-58

B.Taylor, Eve and the New Jerusalem: Feminism and Socialism in Nineteenth-Century England (1983), [chapter 5].

M. Vicinus, Independent women : work and community for single women : 1850-1920 (1985) [chapters 2,6, and 7, especially pp.268-80]

L. Davidoff & C. Hall, Family Fortunes. Men and Women of the English Middle Class, 1780-1850 (1987) [chapter 2]