Prof Joanne Bailey’s Keynote Address: ‘Breeding a Little Stranger’

Conference organisers Ciara Meehan (left) and Jennifer Evans (right) with keynote speaker Joanne Bailey (centre)

Conference organisers Ciara Meehan (left) and Jennifer Evans (right) with keynote speaker Joanne Bailey (centre)


Professor Joanne Bailey of Oxford Brookes University delivered the keynote address at the conference on Wednesday, 16 July. Her paper, entitled ‘Breeding a Little Stranger’, considered managing uncertainty in pregnancy between 1600 and 1830. You can access Prof Bailey’s presentation here.


Meet Our Keynotes: Dr Elaine Farrell

Yesterday, we introduced Joanne Bailey, the first of our keynote speakers.  Today we bring you our second keynote, Dr Elaine Farrell of the School of History and Anthropology, Queen’s University, Belfast.


Elaine Farrell, Keynote Speaker

Elaine Farrell,
Keynote Speaker

Elaine Farrell is a lecturer in Irish social history at Queen’s University Belfast.  She has published on the topic of infanticide in Ireland, and is the author of ‘A Most Diabolical Deed’: Infanticide and Irish Society, 1850-1900 (Manchester University Press, 2013). Her current research focuses on women and crime in nineteenth and early-twentieth-century Ireland.


Dr Farrell’s keynote address will consider the concealment of pregnancy and childbirth in nineteenth-century Ireland.  As she explains,

Thousands of women in nineteenth-century Ireland faced dilemmas when confronted with unwanted pregnancies.  Using witness depositions in infant murder, concealment of birth and abortion cases, this paper will explore responses to unwanted pregnancies.  These documents reveal that women or their accomplices sought to deceive family members, neighbours and police authorities by explaining visible signs of pregnancy and labour as common illnesses or menstruation.  This paper will examine the various explanations offered and subsequent reactions.  It will also consider the gossip and rumour that accompanied these pregnancies.


Farrell Book

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Meet Our Keynotes: Prof Joanne Bailey

Our conference features two keynote speakers.  In the first of the ‘Meet Our Keynotes’ posts, we present to you Professor Joanne Bailey of Oxford Brookes University.



Joanne Bailey,
Keynote Speaker

Dr Joanne Bailey is a Reader in History at Oxford Brookes University. She works on the history of the family and marriage in Britain. Her most recent book is Parenting in England c1760-1830: Emotions, Identity and Generation (OUP, 2012) and she has published a series of articles on fatherhood and parenting. She has also authored a monograph on married life in the long eighteenth century: Unquiet Lives: marriage and marriage Breakdown in England 1660-1800 and related articles on marital violence and married women and the law. She is currently working on a history of British manliness 1750-1918. Joanne has appeared on BBC 1 Who Do You Think You Are and on History programmes on BBC 2 and BBC 4 talking about family life in the past.

With the title of ‘Breeding a little stranger’, her keynote speech will pose the question, what can the narratives of pregnancy tell us?


Click image to view on Amazon

Click image to view on Amazon