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Hannah Jeans
Lecturer in Early Modern History



BA (Hons), MA, PhD (University of York)

Hannah completed her PhD in History at the University of York in 2019. Before joining the Department in September 2020 she held a short-term research fellowship at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library (Yale) and was a Kanner fellow in British Studies at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library (UCLA). She was also a doctoral and postdoctoral fellow at the University of York’s Humanities Research Centre.

Hannah’s research focuses on gender and literary history in 17th-century England, specifically focused on reading cultures and habits of the period. She also has an interest in the English Civil War period, and particularly the links between print and politics. She is currently developing a project on 17th- and early 18th-century news reading.



Hannah’s thesis looked at 17th-century women’s reading habits, investigating the ways in which women read and the relationship between gender and genre. It was a long-term study of reading habits, covering the period 1600 to 1700, and looked at the ways in which reading habits changed as print availability and literacy rates increased.

Taking an interdisciplinary approach, and using a range of sources such as letters, diaries, reading notes and annotated books, her research suggested that 17th-century women read widely and actively, despite contemporary exhortations about the dangers of reading.

Hannah is now developing a project about women reading the news, drawing on some work undertaken as part of her thesis. This will examine the place of women in the developing genres of newsbooks and newspapers, which had their print beginnings in the 17th century.

By looking at printed news, manuscript newsletters and personal letters that contained items of news, the project will consider the varied ways that women accessed the news in 17th- and early 18th-century England, demonstrating that their news-reading habits allowed them to be involved in politics and international affairs.



  • People, Power and Plots: Britain, 1587-1714
  • Rebellion and Revolution: The British Civil Wars, 1637-51
  • A Reading Revolution? Gender, Politics and the Written Word in Early Modern England c.1570-1700


  • The Technics of Print, 1500-1800

Contact details

Dr Hannah Jeans
Department of History
University of York
YO10 5DD

Student hours

Summer term 2023


Week 1 only: (for potential dissertation consultation student meetings)
Thursdays 2pm to 3pm (online)
Fridays 12.30pm to 1.30pm (in-person)

Week 2 onwards:
Thursdays 2pm to 3pm (online)
Fridays 12.30pm to 1.30pm (in-person)

Book for appointment