Gender & Empire in Early Modern England

This project, supported by a Hallsworth Research Fellowship at the University of Manchester (2018-2021), examines how women used and developed various economic, social, and legal practices to manage property, including plantations and enslaved Africans, in Barbados. Yet, instead of women who were colonists, those who migrated to and permanently settled on the island, the project focuses on those women who came back to England or never left. In this way, it explores how women developed strategies to manage property at a distance, what this tells us about the extension of women's intimate networks in the Atlantic world, and the role of absentee English women in plantation slavery. 

Collecting Empire

Two of the largest plantation owners in the seventeenth-century Ferryland fishery were women: the sisters Sara Kirke and Frances Hopkins. Whilst operating independently in the period c. 1650-1680, the sisters were involved in political debates about the future of the colony and also amassed a huge collection of 'exotic' ceramics. Such objects speak to their attempts to self-fashion an imperial identity at the edge of the English Empire. Kirke's and Hopkins's petitions and household artefacts form the basis of a new article on women, collecting, and the political economy of empire published in Cultural and Social HistoryRead it here.

 

  

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Women and Trading Companies

Misha has published two articles on the role of women in seventeenth-century trading companies: the Virginia Company and East India Company. Although women played an important role in the Virginia Company, there is almost no mention of them in scholarship. Misha explored in detail the activity of two investors - Katherine Hueriblock and Rebecca Romney - including their investment in various colonial projects, defrauding of lotteries, and lending on interest. The article was published in The Historical Journal and you can read it here

 

A second article, co-authored with Aske L. Brock and published in Gender & History, explored women who sued and petitioned the East India Company for their inheritance, and suggests new ways of thinking about women's power and authority in the context of global trade and expansion. It's available here.