Julie Peakman

Activity: Hosting a visitor typesAcademic visit at UH


Working on the project Sex, Gender and Crimes in the Building of Empires. Abstract

Tales of great sailing feats across oceans, military campaigns involving thousands of men, and incredible acts of bravery in foreign climes, place the white male European at the heart of studies of imperialism, colonialism and empire-building. More often than not, women are missing completely in these histories. These images have been sustained over the centuries, reinforced by a picture often drawn from the diaries and journals of the men themselves. Consequently, past explorations of empire have often been seen in terms of imperialistic and mercantilist goals, an image of groups of enterprising men travelling over vast oceans to forge imperial triumphs for the conquering forces.

The aim of this project is to break down these images to put women and marginalised men back in the picture. A focus on detached structural forces of economics, politics and commodities in early histories of empire has, for too long, overlooked individuals and neglected the social and cultural impacts of such ventures. One of the impacts exposed when placing sex and gender at the core of this investigation is that the understanding of crime shifts dramatically. Acts of rape and violence considered major crimes back home in Europe, not only went unpunished, but were often ignored or even encouraged.

Women’s integral role in the history of empires and empire-building has been under-investigated, although this is starting to be redressed by feminist historians. In this paper I aim to contribute to this fuller representation.
Period27 May 2019 - 7 Jun 2019
Visiting fromUniversity of London, Birkbeck College (United Kingdom)
Visitor degreePhD
Degree of RecognitionInternational