Professor Joanne Begiato (Bailey)

Head of Department of History, Philosophy and Religion

Joanne Begiato joined Oxford Brookes in March 2005 from Murray Edwards College, Cambridge where she was a fellow and director of studies in history. Prior to this she was a Junior Research Fellow at Merton College, Oxford and read for her BA and PhD at the University of Durham. Joanne teaches social and cultural history. She specialises in the history of the family, marriage, masculinities, and law. With Professor Begiato students will investigate these topics from the perspective of emotions, material culture and gender in order to understand them better and make them come alive: exploring images of families, sailors, and soldiers; examining gendered objects and spaces; considering which weapons men used to beat their wives and which possessions quarrelling spouses fought over; and thinking about the meaning of men's clothes and beards for masculine identity.

Visit her blog to read more about her research:



  • U67779 Making Men: masculinities in England 1700-1918 (Third Year)
  • U67723 Culture, Community and Family (Second Year)
  • U67506 Life in Industrial England (First Year)


  • P67501 Key Concepts and Methods for Humanities Research in History


Professor Begiato is a historian of early modern, Georgian and Victorian Britain, with particular interests in marriage, marriage breakdown, family relationships, the domestic economy, parenting, masculinities and identities. She is fascinated by the ways in which people encountered their material and emotional worlds and draws on a range of different types of primary sources to investigate them, from the printed word, to visual images, to objects and spaces.

Her book Sex and the Church in England 1688-1832, co-authored with Professor William Gibson will be published by I B Tauris early in 2017. This book reassesses the role of the Anglican Church in ideas about sex, its discipline, and its practice.

She is also writing a book about the ways in which people learned about being manly and unmanly in England from the 1780s to 1880s. She hopes to unpick the concepts of 'manly' and 'unmanly' at a broad national level and then explore them in more detail through a series of case-studies. These will include material culture such as the idealised motifs of St George, rural labouring men, Jack Tar, and the working men who adorned the emblems, certificates and banners of early trades unions and friendly societies. She'll also think about how men's bodies were 'policed' to reward or punish being manly or unmanly. Finally she is considering the role of emotions in heightening the power of images, objects  and spaces in these processes. 

Professor Begiato published Parenting in England c.1760-1830: emotions, self-identity and generation in 2012. See a review here. This study traces parenting both as a concept and a mode of being in an era marked by the cultures of Sensibility and Romanticism. The golden thread connecting these movements was the expression of emotion and this research therefore analyses the interplay between practices, feelings and ideas during a period of change in ideas about childhood, family, gender and self.

She has also published several articles on fatherhood and masculinity, representations of pauper parents, the relationship between memories of parents and the formation of personal identity.

Her first monograph was Unquiet Lives: marriage and marriage breakdown in England 1660-1800 (CUP, 2003, re-issued in paperback in January 2009). See a review of this book. Related publications include a study of married women's experience of coverture and an analysis of the use of church court records as an historical source.



Invited Plenary and Conference Presentations:

  • 'Anxiety, Anger, and Tears: Emotions and Masculine Identities in the Long Nineteenth Century, Royal Holloway University of London, Centre for Victorian Studies, Oct 2016.
  • ‘Emotional Lives’ Professorial Inaugural Open Lecture, Oxford Brookes University, June 2016
  • ‘Sex and the Church in the Long Eighteenth Century’ with Bill Gibson, Long Eighteenth Century Seminar, IHR, June 2016
  • ‘Manly bodies before muscular manliness: grace, strength and dexterity, England 1750-1850’, Royal Historical Symposium: Masculinity and the Body in Britain, 1500-1900, University of Northampton, 18 June 2015
  • ‘Village Heroes and Hearts of Oak: the cultural power of the military in constructing English masculine identity 1790-1850, Military Masculinities in the Nineteenth Century, University of Hull, 20-21 May 2015.
  • ‘Medieval and Early Modern Pregnancy and Parents’, Perceptions of Pregnancy Conference, July 2014, University of Hertfordshire.
  • ‘English Manly Intimacy and Power in Representations of St George and the Dragon c. 1750-1950’ at Royal Historical Symposium: Intimacy, Power and Authority in European Perspectives, Bath Spa University, October 2013.
  • ‘Pandora’s Box: opening up the cultures of domestic violence’ at European Perspectives of Cultures of Violence conference, University of Leicester, June 2013.
  • 'Beds and the Making of the Domestic Landscape’ with Dr Angela McShane, ‘The body in bed’ Seminar series, The History Department, Royal Holloway University of London, October, 2010.
  • ‘Problems and opportunities in investigating gender identities: the case study of parents’, ‘Engendering Gender: production, transmission and change’, University of Exeter, July 2010.
  • ‘Being, doing, and embodying: rethinking histories of masculinities’, Conceptualising Men: Collective Identities and the 'Self'’ conference, University of Exeter, July 2009.
  • ‘Fashioning Fatherhood in eighteenth-century England: or, the rise and influence of the 'Sentimental Father in visual and textual culture', Masculinity and the Other Conference, Balliol College, August 2007.

Invited Conference Papers (from 2008):

  • Chair/organizer ‘Law and Society Memorial Symposium in Honour of Professor Christopher Brooks, University of Durham, March 2016
  • 'The Voice of the House: Material Culture and Emotion', Small Worlds Symposium, No 1 Royal Crescent, Bath, Nov 2015.
  • One of four invited panel members, Emotions Round Table, Royal Holloway, held at IHR Oct 2015
  • ‘From the 'kicking districts' to Andy Capp: wife-beating and working-class masculinities’, Crime & Legal History Group, Oxford Brookes University, 5 March 2014.
  • ‘From the 'kicking districts' to Andy Capp: wife-beating and working-class masculinities’, Industrialism and Masculinity in Comparative Regional Context, c. 1840-1939’, Aberystwyth University, September 2013. 
  • “all he wanted was to kill her that he might marry the Girl:” Broken marriages and cohabitation in the long eighteenth century’, Workshop: Changing Relationships? Cohabitation and births outside marriage, 1600-2012, University of Warwick, Dec 2012
  • '"Mr Bulcock could no more marry you than that Dog": marriage and the regulation of society', 'Taming the Many-Headed Monster: Regulating Society in Early Modern England', A colloquium and reception in honour of Dr Martin Ingram, University of Oxford, June 2012.
  • ‘In the bosom of the family: visualising parents 1700-1830’, Exeter Early Modern Seminar, University of Exeter, March 2012. 
  • ‘Changing relationships: parents and the life-course in Georgian England’, Life-Cycles Seminar, Institute of Historical Research, University of London, Oct 2011.
  • ‘Marital Law and Lawlessness in Eighteenth-Century Society’ at the Interdisciplinary Workshop, ‘After Marriage in the Long Eighteenth Century,’ University of Kent, June 2011.
  • ‘Re-facing marital cruelty in England from 1590 onwards’ With Professor Loreen Giese, Medieval and Tudor London Seminar, Institute of Historical Research, University of London, May 2011.
  • ‘Marking Marital Respect in English Ecclesiastical Court Records from the Sixteenth to Nineteenth Centuries’ With Professor Loreen Giese at ‘Sex, Violence, and Religion in the Northern Provinces 1300-1858’, a conference celebrating the launch of the York Cause Papers Database, 13 Nov, 2010. 
  • ‘Getting the measure of marriage and household authority in 17th and 18th century Britain’, Workshop on Marriage, University of Warwick, 5 February 2010.
  • ‘The Convergence of the Twain': analysing the ‘twin' categories of masculinity and fatherhood‘, Gender & History Seminar, Wadham College, Oxford, October 2008. 


Activities outside the University include contributing to television and radio history programmes on BBC1, BBC2, BBC 4, and Radio 3.


Joanne was a member of the Advisory Group for the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded Database Project (2007-2010): Cause Papers in the Diocesan Courts of the Archbishopric of York 1300-1858, Borthwick Institute for Archives, University of York.


  • Books
  • Journal articles
  • Book chapters
  • Other


  • Sex and the Church in the Long Eighteenth Century, coauthored with William Gibson, I B Tauris, forthcoming 2017.
  • Parenting in England c.1760-1830: emotions, self-identities and generations (Oxford University Press, 2012).
  • Unquiet Lives. Marriage and marriage breakdown in England, 1660-1800 (Early Modern British History Series, Cambridge University Press, 2003; re-issued in paperback, 2009).
  • A Noble Affair: The Remarkable True Story of the Runaway Wife, the Bigamous Earl, and the Farmer's Daughter coauthored by Rebecca Probert, Joanne Bailey, Julie Shaffer (2013)

Journal articles

  • 'Between Poise And Power: Embodied Manliness in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century British Culture', Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 26 (2016), pp. 125–147. 
  • ‘Tears and the Manly Sailor c 1750-1850’ The Journal for Maritime Research, 17/2 2015.
  • 'Meditating on Materiality' (Review Article), Cultural History, 3/2 (2014).
  • 'The History of Mum and Dad: Recent Historical Research on Parenting in England from the 16th to 20th centuries', History Compass, 12/6 (2014).
  • ‘Marital Cruelty: reconsidering lay attitudes in England c. 1580-1850’, Special Issue: Domestic Disturbances, Patriarchal Values: Violence, Family and Sexuality in Early Modern Europe, The History of the Family 18/3 (2013) 289-305. With Professor Loreen Giese.
  • 'Paternal power: the pleasures and perils of 'indulgent' fathering in Britain in the long eighteenth century', The History of the Family (September 2012)
  • 'The "after-life" of parenting: parentage, memory and personal identity in Britain c. 1760-1830', Journal of Family History 35, 3,(2010).
  • '"a very sensible man": imagining fatherhood in England, c 1760-1830', History 95, 3, 319, (2010).
  • ‘”think wot a Mother must feel”: Parenting in English pauper letters c. 1760-1834’, Family and Community History,April (2010).
  • ‘English Marital Violence in Litigation, Literature, and the Press', Review Article, Journal of Women's History 19, 4 (2007).
  • '"I dye [sic] by Inches": locating wife beating in the concept of a privatisation of marriage and violence in eighteenth-century England', Social History31, 3 (2006), 273-294.
  • Is the rise of gender history ‘hiding’ women from history once again?’, History in Focus, issue 8, Spring 2005
  • ‘Favoured or oppressed? Married women, property and ‘coverture’ in England, 1660-1800’, Continuity and Change 17, 3 (2002), 351-372.
  • ‘Voices in Court: Lawyers’ or Litigants’?’, Historical Research 74, 186 (2001), 392-408.

Book chapters

  • ‘Bearing Grudges: marital conflict and the inter-generational family’, After Marriage in the Long Eighteenth Century, edited by Karl Leydecker and Jenny DiPlacidi, (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming 2017).
  • ‘Pregnancy’ in Emotions in Early Modern Europe, edited by Susan Broomhall (Taylor & Francis, 2016)
  • ‘Breeding a Little Stranger: Perceptions of Pregnancy in the Late Georgian Period’, in Perceptions of Pregnancy, edited by Ciara Meehan and Jen Evans (2016)
  • “all he wanted was to kill her that he might marry the Girl:” Broken marriages and cohabitation in the long eighteenth century’, Changing Relationships? Cohabitation and births outside marriage, 1600-2012, edited by Rebecca Probert (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).
  •  ‘Masculinity and fatherhood in England c. 1760-1830’ in John Arnold and Sean Brady (eds), What is Masculinity? Historical Dynamics from Antiquity to the Contemporary World (‘Genders and Sexualities in History’ Series, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) 167-188.
  •  ‘Cruelty and Adultery: offences against the institution of marriage’ in D. Nash and A. Kilday (eds) Histories of Crime (Palgrave, 2010) 39-59.
  • ‘Family Relationships’ in E. Foyster and J. Marten (eds), A Cultural History of Childhood and Family in the Age of Enlightenment 1650-1800 (Berg, 2010) 15-31.
  • ‘Stitchers in time and space: women in the long eighteenth century, in Quilts 1700-1945: Hidden Histories, Untold Stories, edited by Sue Prichard, (Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia & V&A Publications, 2013) and in Quilts 1700-2010, Hidden Histories, Untold Stories, edited by Sue Prichard, (V&A Publications, 2010) 49-52.
  • ‘Reassessing parenting in eighteenth-century England’ in H. Berry and E. Foyster (eds), The Family in Early Modern England (CUP, 2007) 209-232.


'Questions of Gender' History Today Volume 64 Issue 6 June 2014.