Personal profile

Personal profile

Nicola is an expert in Gender History c. 1660-1830 and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.  Her first book examined the legal, cultural, social and economic position of Women in Business, 1700-1850 (Boydell Press, 2006)Her second book, The Profligate Son; Or, a True Story of Family Conflict, Fashionable Vice and Financial Ruin in Regency England (OUP, Oxford & Basic Books, New York 2013) was listed as one of the top ten books of the year by The Washington Post, it was also praised in UK newspapers, academic journals and in the Times Higher Education.  Much of her research focuses on female legal agency, masculinity and the interaction between age, gender, family relationships and the intersection of criminal and civil law. Since 2018 her research has focused on a socio-cultural legal history of transatlantic advocacy and the influence of British lawyers on American legal culture and adversarial trial. Her most recent article on ‘The Politics of Libel: Thomas Erskine, Freedom of the Press and Transatlantic Legal Culture, c. 1780-1830’ was published in the American journal Law and History Review. She is currently engaged in research for a project  ‘An Eloquence of Lawyers:  Advocacy, Gender and Emotion in Britain and America c. 1770-1830’. It analyses the rhetorical strategies and emotive modes of persuasion in lawyers’ oral and written speeches.  She is currently Leading a digital collaborative project with RHUL's Engaged Humanities Lab, Parliamentary Archives and The National Archives on 'Re-Creating Advocacy in the C18th Court of King's Bench'. The AR recreation will enable viewers to enter and immersive 3D recreation of the vanished court in Westminster Hall and hear how lawyer's vocies sounded arguing a libel case there. 

Nicola is the Director of the Bedford Centre for the History of Women and Gender and editor/creator of the Bedford Centre blog. She has a keen interest in women's and gender history from all periods, particularly its public representation online and in the media, in film and at heritage sites including museums, archives and monuments.    She was a member of the National Archives Advisory Group, Chair of the Historical Association Public History Committee and has acted as a Historical Consultant for organisations including The National Trust, Royal Mail, and Addidi Wealth Ltd, as well as contributing to radio and television programmes.

In addition to an undergraduate Gender History course on 'Sex, Society and Identity in Britain, 1660-1815', Nicola also teaches 'The Georgians: Society, Culture and Crime in Britain, 1714-1830', and leads the MA History core skills module.  She supervises and welcomes applications from PhD students in Eighteenth-Century Gender History, law and Public History. She is also the School of Humanities Lead for the Integrated Foundation Year programme.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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