'Parent-child relationships past and present', St. Cross, University of Oxford, 5/12/14

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the ‘Parent-child relationships past and present’ workshop in Oxford.  This was an interdisciplinary event that involved people from all sorts of backgrounds, not just talking about history!  It’s really inspiring to get out of the ‘history’ box and find out about things you’d never really known about before.  I got chatting to more people than I usually do - I knew a few people from Twitter who were going to be there, and it helps when you’ve been to a few conferences/talks because you can talk to people you’ve met before too.

'Parent-child relationships past and present', St. Cross, University of Oxford, 5/12/14 →

Book Review: Ann Oakley - Father and Daughter

I have a lot of time for sociologist and feminist Ann Oakley.  Not only have her 1984 autobiography, Taking It Like A Woman, and an oral history interview with her been extremely useful for my only child research, but I regard her as an example and somewhat of a role model.  I love how she extended sociology to include women with her pioneering research into housework, challenged what women were expected to be in the 1960s and ’70s, and she’s written a lot of sense about the issues faced by women and onlies.  I wasn’t disappointed by her latest book, Father and Daughter, which is part autobiography, part biography of her father, iconic social researcher Richard Titmuss, part history of social work in general, all the time keeping in view Titmuss’ place in relation to her and the field he worked in.

Book Review: Ann Oakley - Father and Daughter →

Board III: Five Stages of PhD Grief

You know the classic cocaine addiction story, where the person takes it again and again and again to try to match the original, amazing high?  My PhD boards seem to follow the same pattern.  My first board went really well, and I thought, ‘hey, boards aren’t so bad, people sit around and say nice stuff to me!’.  Unfortunately, my second and third boards didn’t live up to that standard, and I don’t think I’ll ever have a board that good again.  This week’s board was so disappointing that I’m going to dread them in the future.  My emotional trajectory during and since the board on Tuesday hasn’t been unlike the five stages of grief, in fact.

Board III: Five Stages of PhD Grief →

PhD/Funding Applications: Some Tip-Top Top Tips

It’s getting towards that time of year when people start putting PhD applications together, and thinking about how they’re going to get the money to do a PhD.  When I applied two years ago, you needed an offer of a PhD place to apply for funding, and deadlines for this varied from end of January and end of March, and I doubt this has changed much.  Applications mean extra research and writing and revising a proposal several times over, so I would definitely recommend starting around now and making the most of the Christmas break to make your application perfect.  I got AHRC funding, which is ridiculously competitive, so hopefully my advice is worth something!

PhD/Funding Applications: Some Tip-Top Top Tips →

Only Children Starting School in the Early 20th Century: Some Case Studies

This week, I’ve spent a bit of time puzzling over putting together an abstract for a conference, where I want to talk about only children’s experiences of schooling, particularly starting school and going to boarding school, as well as the more atypical experiences of starting school late or being educated at home for long periods of time.  I already wrote about boarding school experiences a few weeks back, and today I’m going to write about a few good and bad experiences of starting school from my twentieth-century only-child autobiography collection.  This will hopefully help me with my abstract a bit without giving away too much of my talk!  The main issue I’ve had has been filling in the blanks in the sentence ‘___ and ___ have written about experiences of schooling, and I want to build on this by looking specifically about only children’s experiences.’  Either I’m overlooking a whole body of scholarship, or nobody has done substantial research on how children felt about their education.  I guess if that really is the case, I can say ‘most scholarship about history of education has focussed on policies and implementation, and while children’s experiences of school have featured in edited collections of autobiographies and oral histories.’  And maybe have an idea for a postdoc proposal.

Only Children Starting School in the Early 20th Century: Some Case Studies →

IHR Talk: Mary Clare Martin: 'How Did Illness Shape Childhood In Britain 1800-2000?'

On Tuesday 14th October I went to Mary Clare Martin’s talk on her upcoming work on the role of illness in modern British childhood.  I won’t go into huge detail about everything she said because I don’t want to gie massive spoilers for her future books, but there were a few things that particularly stood out to me.

IHR Talk: Mary Clare Martin: 'How Did Illness Shape Childhood In Britain 1800-2000?' →