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ePortfolio of Beckie Rutherford

Research Overview

My research is co-supervised by Dr Laura Schwartz and Dr Claire Shaw and is kindly funded through a departmental scholarship. My project is provisionally entitled ‘Apart or A Part’? Understanding the Erasure and Agency of Disabled Women Within British Liberation Movements, c. 1965-1996. I examine the life stories of disabled women and their relationship to both the Women’s Liberation Movement and the Disabled People’s Movement in Britain. Three broad questions are currently shaping my research:

  • How did disabled women undertake both feminist and disability rights activism?
  • Why has their activism been almost entirely excluded from the prevailing narratives surrounding the Women’s Liberation Movement and the Disabled People’s Movement?
  • Was it possible for disabled women to disconnect the activism they undertook as women from the activism they undertook as disabled people?

Drawing extensively on print culture and oral history, my work will challenge the erasure of disabled women from both popular and academic narratives of two of the most seismic liberation movements of twentieth century Britain.

Research Interests

  • Disability history and disability studies
  • Women’s history and feminism
  • Class, gender and sexuality in twentieth century Britain
  • Histories of activism and liberation movements
  • Histories of the body

Methodological Approaches

  • Oral history
  • History of emotions

Academic Background

2018-2022 University of Warwick, PhD History

2017-2018 University of Warwick, MA Modern History

2013-2016 University of Oxford, BA History

Awards and Funding

  • Departmental scholarship for 3.5 years of doctoral research
  • Sir John H. Elliott Prize for Best Overall Performance in an MA

Conference Papers

July 2019 ‘Apart or A Part?’ Understanding the Agency and Erasure of Disabled Women Within the Women’s Liberation Movement in Britain, c. 1979-1993’, Modern British Studies Conference, University of Birmingham

June 2018 Disabled Women, Sisterhood, and the Women’s Liberation Movement in Britain, c. 1979-1993, Postgraduate Medical Humanities Conference, University of Exeter

May 2018 Emotional Politics and the Women’s Social and Political Union, 1903-1917, Department of History Postgraduate Conference, University of Warwick

Other Positions

July 2019 – present member of the organising committee for the Centre for the Study of Women and Gender Graduate Seminar Series

October 2018 – present administrative assistant and social media manager for the Warwick Feminist History Group

April – May 2019 chair of the organising committee for the Department of History Postgraduate Conference

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My Name

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