Document Actions

Sarah Watkins

Contact details


Title of thesis

  • Women Eating and Not Eating in Early Modern Britain: Meanings, Representations and Lived Reality
  • I’m interested in the choices women made about what they ate, what influenced these choices and the ways in which advice was given. I’m also fascinated by the portrayals of women not eating, the ‘fasting girls’, and the tension between religious and medical interpretations of these cases.


Research interests

  • Early modern history, women’s history, gender, medical history, midwifery.
  • I’m also interested in story-telling and its links to the creation and transmission of cultural memory.

Papers given

  • The Portrayal of the Female Body in Early Modern Midwifery Texts: Looking for the Female Voice, Women’s Writing Conference, Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, 2009
  • ‘The Wonder of all Wonders’ or ‘a mind hardened in sin’?  The Aspirations and Motivations of Early Modern Fasting Women and Their Commentators, Early Modern Society Conference, Birkbeck, 2011
  • Women’s relationships with food: eating and not eating in early modern England, Research Students’ Seminar, Birkbeck, 2011
  • Giving Credit Where It’s Due: Women Writers on Women’s Suitability for Pregnancy and Childbirth in the Long Eighteenth Century, BSECS Conference, St Hugh’s College, Oxford, 2013

Honours and awards

  • Postgraduate Bursary Award, BSECS Conference, January 2013

Forthcoming papers

  • The ‘wonder of all Wonders’: Fasting Girls as Providential Wonders in Early Modern England. Paper for Devils and Dolls Conference, University of Bristol, March 2013
  • Co-written essay with Dr Peakman ‘Making Babies: Eighteenth-Century Attitudes Towards Conception, Reproduction and Childbirth’ for a collection The Secrets of Generation: Reproduction in the Long Eighteenth Century (UTP, due 2014).