24 Nov 2021

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'Policing women's bodies' new Women and Alcohol cluster seminar

Women and Alcohol Research Cluster is delighted to announce our next online seminar will be a roundtable on 
'Policing women's bodies'
It will take place on Monday 13 December 2021 at 12.00 midday GMT on Zoom
(e-mail us dsnwomencluster@gmail.com to register)

Panelists include: 

Laura Fenton, University of Sheffield and University of Manchester

Laura Fenton is a Research Associate at the University of Sheffield, where she works on the  Youth Drinking in Decline project, and at the University of Manchester, where she is conducting research for the Austerity and Altered Lifecourses project. Laura completed her PhD in sociology in 2018. Her thesis investigated the drinking biographies of three generations of British women born between the 1940s and '90s. Laura's research interests include gender, youth, lifecourse, alcohol and biographical methods. 

Iain Smith, University of Glasgow and NHS Forth Valley

Dr. Smith has specialised in the field of addiction psychiatry as a Consultant for 29 years now and as well as maintaining a busy clinical practice, has been closely involved with training on alcohol-related topics for both medical students and postgraduate doctors and other health professionals, particularly in the context of psychiatric training. He was awarded a Wellcome Clinician Short-Term Fellowship, which was held at the University of Glasgow Centre for History of Medicine for 4 months in late 2009 studying the history of Scottish Inebriate Reformatories,with mainly women being sent for ”reform”. This work has continued - along with other strands-in the form of M.D. research, 2010-2018.M.D. awarded 2018  

Craig Stafford, University of Liverpool Staffordshire University, School of Law, Policing and Forensics

Craig Stafford gained his PhD from University of Liverpool in 2019. His research interests include the policing of women for drunkenness in Victorian Lancashire. He currently teaches History at University of Liverpool and Staffordshire University.

Cristiana Vale Pires, Catholic University of Portugal 

Cristiana Vale Pires graduated in psychology and holds an MSc and PhD in Anthropology. Currently, she is a lecturer and PostDoc researcher at the Faculty of Education and Psychology at the Catholic University of Portugal. She is a founding member of the NGO Kosmicare (harm reduction targeting people who use drugs in nightlife and other recreational environments) and manager of the European project Sexism Free Night analysing and responding to the intersections between drug use in nightlife environments and sexualized violence.

9 Nov 2021

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Drinking Studies Network conference "Where Are We Now?"


Drinking Studies Network is celebrating 10 years! To mark this anniversary DSN organize online conference "Where Are We Now?" (12-14 November 2021 on zoom). E-mail Pam Lock on drinkingstudies@gmail.com to join the network and find out how to register (joining is free!). 

Together with other members of the Women and Alcohol Research Cluster, we will present a panel of research entitled Shameless? Pleasure and Lust in Representations of Female Drinking in 19th Century Europe (Sunday 14th November 15.00-17.00).

Panel overview

Since its establishment in 2020, the women and alcohol research cluster has been bringing together scholars from a wide range of disciplines to consider why gender matters when it comes to drinking. This panel will propose practical ways to take the step from multi-disciplinary to interdisciplinary approaches and from linguistic silos to more ambitious cross-cultural research.

Bringing together two historians and two literary scholars with examples from five European cultures, the panel will reflect on the latest developments in interdisciplinarity in drinking studies. By developing on the lively dialogue between disciplines characteristic of drinking studies as a research area, our work exemplifies the readiness of drinking studies to take the next step by sharing and mixing methodologies between disciplines.

By focusing on examples of female alcohol consumption in German, English, Polish, Russian, and Swiss fiction and press, the panel aims to establish transnational as well as transdisciplinary perspectives. The themes addressed will include public and (pseudo-)medical discourses on female drinking, gendered accounts of drinking habits and places, body politics, religious discourses, and social norms.

1. Dorota Dias-Lewandowska and Pam Lock, ‘“I did all my drinking—not being ashamed of it—at the public table”: Challenging cultural and linguistic boundaries to re-frame approaches to female drinking’

This paper will present the early findings from our NCN funded project on ‘Hidden representations of women’s drinking in Polish and British public discourses in the second half of the 19th century’. We will showcase how this project was developed to answer two specific challenges in drinking studies and to experiment with new methodologies to address them. The first relates specifically to the study of women and alcohol in the nineteenth century. Until recently, the focus has been on excessive drinking and sobriety. Recent research by Jen Wallis and David Beckingham on secret female drinking and by Paul Jennings and Thora Hands on ‘normal’ female drinking demonstrates that it is time to nuance this often binary approach. The second is a more general challenge in the humanities; the isolation of research into linguistic silos. We will share how this project will compare female drinking practices in Polish and British cultures using modern discourse analysis software. Given the nature of our sources, which are likely to be short and sometimes coded, this approach is ideal for both the material and the linguistic challenge we aim to mitigate. We will introduce you to a selection of examples from our new database: the ordinary women who warm their beer at the end of a working day, or sip their wine with friends; the women who have until now been hidden by the monstrous shadows of the ‘mother of destruction’ and the ‘angel of the house’.

2. Vanessa Höving, ‘With Pleasure. Female Drinking and Narratological Lust for Misery in Gotthelf’s Alcohol Literature’

Under the pseudonym Jeremias Gotthelf, Protestant minister Albert Bitzius (1797-1854) entered the German-speaking literary canon. Predominantly set in peasant Switzerland, his novels and stories denote Gotthelf as a regional writer whose sociocritical, didactical, and pedagogical approach is also articulated in numerous calendar and journal publications. Some of Gotthelf’s early texts deal with the so-called ‘spirits misery’ among rural populations. Posing as milieu-studies of drinking behaviours, perils and downfalls, these texts are read as lucid warnings even by contemporary physicians. Diverting from this line of reception, my paper focuses on narratological settings and their connection to public enlightenment and didactics. The well-established religious discourse and the specifically gendered approach of Gotthelf’s texts concern both female body politics and the Swiss nation’s body, linking female drinking to national wellbeing or demise. However, my paper argues that such representations of female drinking disguise a voyeuristic interest in alcohol-induced sexuality including a narratological lust for female misery and death. I will explore how this setting reflects on an obscene underside of popular enlightenment and didactics, and how Gothelf’s texts accentuate the role of alcohol as a factor of 'Produktionsästhetik' ['aesthetics of production'].

3. Mareen Heying, ‘Pleasure and morality. The female “drunkard” in late 19th century Germany fiction and art’

To better understand female alcohol consumption, historians need to question what, when, where and with whom women drank and how the consumption of alcohol has been gendered. To do so, traditional ‘historical’ documents are not sufficient and it is therefore imperative to consider additional sources, such as literature and art, to examine the social reality of female drinking. In this paper, I will take an interdisciplinary approach and consider three examples from German literature and art. The first two are literary examples that address private (female) drinking in moral terms: ‘The satire Die fromme Helene’ by Wilhelm Busch (1872), in which Busch shows religious and bourgeoise hypocrisy by portraying a bourgeoise woman who excessively turns to alcohol and later drunkenly kills herself in a fire; and Gerhart Hauptmann’s social drama Vor Sonnenaufgang (1889) in which the downfall of a family of farmers due to alcohol abuse is put upon stage. In contrast, the artist Heinrich Zilleknown for his depictions of people from the working class and their daily struggles made several drawings showing women publicly drinking and having fun in pubs without putting his subjects to shame. Taken together the sources show how female drinking in the late 19th century was regarded as shameful in Germany and how women nonetheless consumed alcohol shamelessly. I will show how female drinking spaces and social norms on female drinking can be better analyzed by considering historical sources with examples from literature and art.

4. Anna Smelova, “Non-Women’s Business”: Gender, Alcohol, and the Control of Sexuality in the Temperance Movement in Late Imperial Russia

The 19th century witnessed the rise of various reformist movements at both international and local levels, such as clean-living crusades, public health campaigns, and temperance activism. Anti-alcoholic activities in the United States and European countries influenced ‘the invention’ of alcoholism as a social problem in the Russian empire. Orthodox priests and doctors played a leading role in the anti-alcohol campaign in Russia, promoting their ideas about family, order, and morality.

This paper seeks to analyze the gender roles and participation of women in the Russian temperance movement. I will specifically focus on the First All-Russian Anti-Alcohol Congress (1910) case study, which created a rare opportunity for a woman in late imperial Russia to speak out on socially and politically important issues. One of the most influential activists was Evgenia Chebysheva-Dmitrieva — a feminist and head of the Society for Combating Alcoholism of Women and Children. Like female activists abroad, Chebysheva-Dmitrieva sought to draw attention to women's issues and increase the voice and role of women in the Russian public sphere. This paper argues that the discourse on sobriety was politicized in late imperial society and served as a platform for various social groups to pursue their views and interests. Additionally, although the role of women in daily life was recognized and male drunkenness was widely condemned by most temperance activists, raising the topic of granting or expanding rights was a rare occurrence in the male-oriented temperance rhetoric under the old regime. 

Drinking Studies Network Conference 2021

Where are we now? The DSN at 10

12-14 November 2021, Virtual Conference Programme
*All times are in GMT* *All sessions will be held via Zoom* 

Friday 12th November

18:00 20:30: ‘Alcohol as Medicine: A Roundtable Discussion’
Special event to mark the new partnership between the DSN and the journal SHAD. Introduction: David Herzberg (SHAD), Mark Hailwood & Deborah Toner (DSN)
Chair: Lucas Richert
Speakers: Stephen Mawdsley, Iain Smith, Erica Wald, Jennifer Wallis, Ryosuke Yokoe

Followed by a ‘Make your own’ Drinks’ Reception and Demonstration

Annemarie McAllister and Anistatia Miller

Saturday 13th November

09:45 – 10:00: Introductory Remarks

Mark Hailwood, Pam Lock, and Deborah Toner

10:00 – 12:00: Drinking Places Research Cluster: Which Way to The Pub? Chair: Paul Jennings

Drinking Places Research, 2010-2021

James Brown and James Kneale

The Moon Under Water Revisited: Orwell, war and the imaginary pub

Phil Mellows

‘To the Industrial Zone!’: An Autoethnography of Craft Beer Spaces in a Pandemic

Sam Goodman

Recent work on contemporary pubs: a review and discussion

Claire Markham

12:00 – 13:00: Lunch

13:00 – 14:30: Brewers and Drinkers Chair: Dan Malleck

Minority women and informal labour: The study of the ongoing alcohol brewings in Manipur

Lyna H. Misao

14:30 – 15:00: Break

15.00 – 17.00: Time and Temporalities Research Cluster: Time at the Bar Chair: James Kneale

Introduction to the Cluster

Steven Earnshaw

Calling Time on E.P. Thompson

Mark Hailwood

Melmotte in Space and Time: Chronotopes and Alcohol in Anthony Trollope’s The Way We Live Now
Pam Lock

How Old is a Merry Drinker?

Steven Earnshaw

Family time: alcohol, family stories and the Intergenerational Self

Laura Fenton

17:00 – 19:00: Dinner Time

19:00 – 20:00: Online Social Virtual Drinking Workshop Susan Boyle

Meet the Craft & Artisanal Cluster! Launch event

Robert Cole, Braden Neihart, and Nadine Waehning
After Party at The Dog and Salty Nun (the DSN’s virtual pub)

Feminist Ferment: Craft brewers and gendered environments in the United States

Delorean Wiley and Colleen C. Myles

Young people's drinking choices in the Italian night settings: spaces and tactics

Franca Beccaria

Sunday 14th November

10:00 12:00: Sobriety, Abstinence and Moderation Research Cluster Panel:
Last orders? Exploring abstinence, sobriety and (non)drinking in the United Kingdom and beyond
Chair: Jodie McGarry

The role of different health behaviours in the decline in youth drinking

Abigail Stevely

‘You can be a hybrid when it comes to drinking’: ‘alcohol-free’ drinks and everyday (non)drinking
Emily Nicholls

Sober and Social? Alcohol abstinence, femininities and feminism within online sobriety communities and on social media
Claire G Davey

“Drinking hid my autism, even from me”: what analysis of sobriety memoirs and the writing of autistic women reveals about autistic masking and alcohol-use
Chelsey Flood

12:00 – 13:00: Lunch

13:00 – 14:30: Alcohol, Race and Ethnicity Chair: Tyler Rainford

Alcohol, Slavery and Race in Brazil during the Long Nineteenth Century

Lucas Brunozi Avelar and Deborah Toner

What Happened at María’s House: Conflict, Community, and the Criminalisation of Tepache in Early Colonial Mexico
Natasha Bailey

The Golden Age of the American Cocktail and the German Diaspora

Anistatia Miller

14:30 – 15:00: Break

15:00 17:00: Women and Alcohol Research Cluster: Shameless? Pleasure and Lust in Representations of Female Drinking in Nineteenth-Century Europe
Chair: Stella Moss

‘I did all my drinking—not being ashamed of it—at the public table’: Challenging cultural and linguistic boundaries to re-frame approaches to female drinking
Dorota Dias-Lewandowska and Pam Lock

With Pleasure: Female Drinking and Narratological Lust for Misery in Gotthelf’s Alcohol Literature
Vanessa Höving

Pleasure and morality: The female ‘drunkard’ in late 19th century Germany fiction and art

Mareen Heying

‘Non-Women’s Business’: Gender, Alcohol, and the Control of Sexuality in the Temperance Movement in Late Imperial Russia
Anna Smelova

17:00 – 17:30: Concluding Remarks


24 Sept 2021

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ARIG seminar "Women and alcohol"

We are pleased to announce that we will be speaking alongside Dr Emily Nicholls and Dr Amanda Atkinson at the "Women and alcohol" seminar on 14 October 2021 10.00-11.30 UK time [11.00-12.30 Poland] (online) organised by the Alcohol Research Interest Group (ARIG), Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care, University College London (UCL). 
Registration is free and the seminar will take place online. To register, go to: https://t.co/lWT7DVzztV?amp=1


Dr Emily Nicholls (University of York): ‘I just feel nice with a glass of wine’: Doing 'girliness' and 'classiness' through alcohol consumption on a Girls' Night Out.

Dr Pam Lock (University of Bristol) & Dr Dorota Dias-Lewandowska (Polish Academy of Sciences):  Unheard voices - women's drinking in Polish and British public discourses in the second half of the 19th century.

Dr Amanda Atkinson (Liverpool John Moores University): ‘Pretty in Pink’, ‘Girl Power’ and ‘Send Nudes’: An analysis of the targeting and representation of women in alcohol brand and venue marketing on Facebook and Instagram.

Our thanks to the organisers, Phillipa Case and Melissa Oldham for putting together what promises to be a very interesting and enjoyable event. 

20 Jul 2021

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Previous Women and Alcohol Cluster seminars

Research Seminar 2 – Rules and Norms for female drinking – a global approach – 26 April 2020

Our next research seminar will focus on rules and norms about female drinking with papers from Hedvig Widmalm and Mareen Heyring and plenty of time for discussion afterwards. The papers are based on research on Sweden and German so there will also be the opportunity to look at comparisons between countries as we know many of you are very interested in this research avenue. We look forward to seeing you all on Monday 26th April at 13.00pm. 

The meeting will start promptly at 1pm (GMT) on Zoom (joining details by request – just e-mail us) so we will be online from 12.45pm so people can join and get set up in advance. The programme will be as follows (all timings are in London GMT time zone (don’t forget British summer time)): 

1pm Hedvig Widmalm (Uppsala University) Women, alcohol and the Age of Freedom: how the regulations on brewing and selling brandy and beer affected women inthe mining town of Falun in Sweden, 1718 – 1750

1.15pm Mareen Heying (University of Hagen) Social norms on female drinking in Germany around 1900

1.30pm Discussion

1.50pm Cluster plans – next steps

Research Seminar 1 – Women and alcohol during the 2020 pandemic lockdown – 30 November 2020


1.00pm Dr Abi Rose (University of Liverpool) Drinking in the Time of COVID

How has COVID impacted our alcohol use, and what are the factors that may have driven some of the gender differences? The talk will take a look around some of the more well-established links between gendered alcohol use and mental health to answer this question.

1.15pm Dr Emily Nicholls, (University of Portsmouth), Dr Dom Conroy, (University of East London) “After a day with a baby, I feel like you deserve a bottle of wine!” Drinking, gender and motherhood during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Drawing on recent qualitative research on drinking in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic, this paper brings a gendered lens to bear on our emerging findings around ‘drinking in lockdown’. Gendered patterns around domestic drinking and beverage choice will be explored, along with the links between drinking, female friendship and motherhood.

1.30pm Questions and discussion

1.45pm Cluster forum, planning for next meeting

2.00pm Finish

9 Jun 2021

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Intoxicating Spaces: Global and Comparative Perspectives - online conference

The first results of our collaborative research will be presented at the forthcoming (free online) conference Intoxicating Spaces: Global and Comparative Perspectives organised by the HERA research project: Intoxicating Spaces: The Impact of New Intoxicants on Urban Spaces in Europe, 1600–1850.

Our paper, on female drinking at home in 19th Century Polish and British cultures will be a part of a panel "European Drinking Spaces" (Wednesday 21 July, 4–5:30pm BST): 

Session 12: European Drinking Spaces

  • Dorota Dias-Lewandowska (Polish Academy of Sciences) & Pam Lock (University of Bristol). A Woman’s Place is in the Home? Seeking the Unheard Voices of Drinking Women in Polish and British Cultures
  • Alexandr Gorokhovskiy (Utrecht University) ‘Naley enim Infunde significat’: Sixteenth-Century Moscow’s Drinking Quarter and its German Dwellers
  • Jenni Lares (Tampere University) House, Home, and Tavern: Places of Drinking in Seventeenth-Century Finland

The conference will be held live via Zoom. Monday 19–Wednesday 21 July 2021

3 Jun 2021

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Victorian women and secret drinking - Women and Alcohol cluster seminar

We are delighted to announce our next DSN Women and Alcohol cluster seminar on 1st July 2021 at 1pm GMT (on zoom) with guest speaker, Dr David Beckingham (University of Nottingham). 

David's article 'Private Spirits, Public Lives: Sober Citizenship, Shame and Secret Drinking in Victorian Britain' came out in April and he has kindly agreed to talk about the rich and interesting research behind the article before we open up the floor for an extended discussion on women and secret drinking (and beyond). We hope that you can join us. 

Victorian women and secret drinking

In this talk I will introduce the research behind my recent article, ‘Private Spirits, Public Lives: Sober Citizenship, Shame and Secret Drinking in Victorian Britain’, published in Journal of Victorian Culture.  I will explore in more detail the nature of the archival or historical record through which we can research the different attitudes to women’s drinking in this period.  In my case, this was agitation around the purchase of drink from licensed grocers and railway refreshment rooms.  Though this might now seem rather esoteric, I want to suggest that we can use these moments of temperance action not only to say something about the motivations for reform work but also to gain rare glimpses into the drinking cultures of women.


David Beckingham is a cultural and historical geographer at the University of Nottingham, and has published widely on different aspects of drink regulation, temperance and the treatment of inebriety.

If you would like to attend the seminar or join the research cluster please e-mail us on dsnwomenandalcohol@gmail.com

26 May 2021

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ZAND online seminar

‘But the climax of evil in a woman is the habit of drinking’. Was it all so bad? Representations of women’s drinking in Polish and British public discourses in the 19th century

The policing of women’s bodies and minds in the nineteenth century through the rhetoric of responsibility and moral duty was a marked feature of the articles and fiction published in the new periodicals. The choices of women regarding their personal consumption of alcohol were constrained, culturally and legally, by a perceived gender-specific responsibility to the family and community. Women's drinking culture was reduced to two extremes: the fallen drunken woman, ‘mother of destruction’ and the sober mother, ‘the angel of the house’. In our research, we seek the middle ground between these two extremes to focus on the recreational female drinkers and the rebels. Thereby we aim to nuance and balance our understanding of representations of women’s drinking by investigating two extremely different examples of European cultures: Britain, a powerful international player and the scattered nation of Poland fighting for independence after the partitioning.

This presentation will give an overview of the successful NCN Sonata project, ‘Between the drunken “mother of destruction” and the sober “angel of the house”’. Hidden representations of women’s drinking in Polish and British public discourses in the second half of the 19th century’ and some case studies on domestic spaces of alcohol consumption to give an insight into our planned approach.
8 June 2021, 3 pm Microsoft Teams