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Dr Helen Metcalfe
Teaching Fellow

Profile

Biography

BA (Hons) (York), MA (York, CECS), PhD (Manchester)

Helen joined the Department as a temporary Teaching Fellow in September 2017. She is a social, gender and family historian of Late-Georgian Britain, specialising in the history of masculinities, the home and material culture. Helen continues to develop her research interests in the history of emotions, and she is currently drafting a post-doctoral research proposal that seeks to explore the relationship between physical and emotional responses to, and experiences of, grief, loss and resilience in Georgian society.

Helen completed her doctorate at the University of Manchester, during which time (and subsequently) she has taught several first and second year undergraduate history courses on the social and cultural, political, religious and imperial history of Europe (with a strong emphasis on Britain). Taken together, these modules featured themes including gender, national identity and selfhood, religion, class and social status in rural and urban societies, nation and empire; all of which has enabled Helen to combine her own research interests with her teaching.

Research

Overview

At the end of January 2017 Helen successfully defended her AHRC-funded thesis which interrogated the social experience of bachelorhood in late-Georgian England, c. 1760-1830. Helen’s research employed a socio-cultural approach to reconstruct the social, domestic and familial experiences of bachelors and reveals that marriage was not the only route for men in late-Georgian England to lead respectable, successful and emotionally rewarding lives. Her work uncovers the domestic and social lives of bachelors in their letters, diaries and journals and offers a new perspective on the history of gender and masculinities in this period. In addition, it explores the role of material culture in the sociable and domestic lives of civilian and military bachelors, and considers how bachelors forged and maintained a variety of relationships through emotional, fraternal and friendship bonds instead of marital ones. Helen’s research reveals that bachelors were not, as has previously been considered, excluded from the social, emotional, and material rewards of Georgian society, and thus offers a more complete picture of what it meant to be a man in England during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Helen has designed and developed a postgraduate option module for the spring term on the domestic lives of eighteenth-century men and women in ‘The Architecture of the Home: Familial, Emotional and Material Expressions of Domesticity in Georgian Britain’, a module which is directly informed by her doctoral research.

Contact details

Dr Helen Metcalfe
Teaching Fellow
Department of History
Vanbrugh College
University of York
Heslington
York
YO10 5DD

Student hours