Alice Blackwood

Stipendiary Lecturer

My doctoral research is an investigation into the frequency, scope and possible causes of the election of non-aristocratic women to parish office in early modern England.

This topic has the potential to supply an alternate narrative to our current conception of the nature of early modern women’s political activities–one that is largely caught between the extremes of the queen regnant and women washing altar cloths. By analysing female office-holding as a result of broader patterns of elective custom, this thesis seeks to veer away from the gender binary as an explanatory factor and toward an intersectional assessment involving property, householding, industry and kinship. It is my hope that this research on women’s local political activities will also serve to demonstrate the value of local history as an academic discipline, and one that must be incorporated into the curriculum for political history if we are to build a more inclusive understanding of the past. Female parish office-holders in early modern England are an example of how small-scale political microcosms often allow underrepresented groups such as women to voice their opinions on broader issues, and this method of piecemeal change is still relevant in the way we tackle national and international politics today.

I am funded by the Mary Blaschko Scholarship from Linacre College and the Arnold Bryce & Read Foundation Research Studentship from the History Faculty (2019-20). I was awarded the Leeds Hoban Linacre-Huntington Exchange Fellowship in 2018.


‘By Words and by Deeds: The Role of Performance in Shaping the “Canon” of Robin Hood’, in Lesley A. Coote and Alexander L. Kaufman (eds.), Robin Hood and the Outlaw/ed Literary Canon (Routledge, 2018).

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