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‘[T]heir Tales are sweet’: a queer social history of fishwives in early modern London

Hadshar, Rose Angelica (2016) ‘[T]heir Tales are sweet’: a queer social history of fishwives in early modern London. MA by research thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

The history of fishwives has been studied from archival and from literary sources, but rarely have both bodies of evidence been analysed side by side. This thesis uses a wide range of contemporary sources, especially manuscript records and pamphlets, to refine the history of fishwives in and around London between roughly 1580 and 1630. First, this thesis argues that the term fishwife referred to a wide range of actors and practices. This significantly complicates our approach to the history of fishwives. Secondly, the thesis applies the insights of queer history to the case of fishwives, and argues that fishwives were seen as sexually non-normative. This shows that the queer dynamics that have been demonstrated in relation to elite and literary subjects also operated at lower social levels, though in different ways. Thirdly, the thesis situates the history of fishwives in relation to political culture, and argues that fishwives were conceived as part of and practically contributed to a national body politic. This thesis thus makes two key contributions. Substantively, fishwives are demonstrated to have been a more diverse and complicated group than has been realised. Methodologically, queer theory is shown to be useful to social historians, as it helps to illuminate the lives of working women.

Item Type: Thesis (MA by research)
Academic Units: The University of York > History (York)
Depositing User: Ms Rose Angelica Hadshar
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2017 14:03
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2017 14:03
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/17263

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