Daily Archives: Tuesday 29 April 2014

Eighteenth-Century Sexual Politics on BBC Radio 3


Professor Joanne Bailey contributed to BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking discussing ‘Eighteenth-Century Sexual Politics’. Led by the presenter Philip Dodd, Joanne Bailey, Faramerz Dabhoiwala of Exeter College, David Turner of the University of Swansea, author and broadcaster Hallie Rubenhold, and Judith Hawley of Royal Holloway College discussed sexual morels in eighteenth century.

This century saw the first signs of a revolution in ideas with some thinkers arguing that sex was a matter of individual conscience not external regulation. Joanne explained, nonetheless, that for most people sexual activity continued to be seen as part of the process of marriage with extra-marital sex as much a source of risk and condemnation as pleasure and liberty. She investigated this in depth in her book An Unquiet Life: Marriage and Marriage Breakdown in England 1660–1800.

Presented as part of the BBC’s Georgian season, and broadcast Tuesday 29 April 2014 at 10pm. 

Weeping Sailors and British Manliness at the National Maritime Museum


This is Thomas Stothard’s The Sailor’s Return in Peace (1798) held in the NMM’s collection

Professor Joanne Bailey gave a paper titled Weeping Sailors and British Manliness 1760–1860 at an interdisciplinary workshop, Gendering the Maritime World 1600–1950, sponsored by the National Maritime Museum. She was invited to join this exciting event to discuss the intersections between gender and maritime studies. Her paper examined illustrations, songs and poems depicting an idealised seaman who shed tears at leaving home or at homecoming, at the point of entering battle, or at death.

I think the weeping sailor: the brave, emotionally controlled man who sacrificed his home and family life for the good of England embodied national and gender identities. He was a form of manliness that was widely shared and not one that was specific to maritime culture.

Joanne will examine this figure more fully in the book she is writing on British manliness between the Seven Years War and the Crimean War.