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Alice O'Driscoll

Alice O'Driscoll

Department: History

Supervisor: Dr Clare Jackson

College: Jesus

AHRC subject area: History

Title of thesis: Women under siege in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms 1638-1653


I completed both my BA History and MA Historical Research at the University of Sheffield. There, I developed an interest the nature and distribution of (il)legitimate authority in the early modern household, and the gendered languages of governance and subjection through which this was contemporaneously understood. This culminated in an undergraduate dissertation which analysed the language of ‘moderation’ employed to condone or condemn instances of male spousal violence, and a master’s dissertation which compared imagery of the ‘body politic’ to that of the ‘one flesh’ model of marital unity in seventeenth-century thought. Both investigated the relationship between manifestations of power in the family and in the state, and between language and the social reality it forms and through which it is formed.

My PhD thesis, supervised by Dr Clare Jackson at Trinity Hall, investigates the experiences of women under siege during the constellation of conflicts which comprised the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. It examines various aspects of life for besieged women: the economic (im)practicalities of governing a household; military strategy and operations; propaganda and epistolary combat; sexual violence; the intersection of gender and religious identities. By examining an eclectic collection of seventeenth-century source material – including diaries, correspondence, newsbooks, art, literature, depositions, and petitions – I am looking to recover the details of women’s activities under siege. I am also, however, interested in the status occupied by the highly gendered allegorical siege in the early modern conceptual corpus.

Other academic interests

Early modern marriage; domestic violence; the body; defamation.


Historical Argument and Practice: Gender

Part I, Paper 9: British Economic and Social History 1500-1750

Other professional activities

I convene the AHRC-funded Writing Women in History 1400-2000 reading group

In summer 2019, I will be working at the British Library, developing their online women's history resources and designing a digital map of the history of women's activism in the UK.