Women’s voices in educational manuals: The gendered sounds of speech therapy, song and education in Europe c.1830–1900

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This article calls for a heightened attention to women's voices in the history of education, arguing that the articulation of gender is not only 'legible' as bodily inscription, but audible within the educational soundscape as well. The voice and its gendered attributes are taken literally here, as acoustic practice. I explore women's contributions to vocal education in the nineteenth century, as well as the impact these had on women's voices. Looking at women as both producers and consumers of content in the field of vocal education highlights the cultural work that went into sounding 'like a woman' (as well as sounding like a healthy, middle-class adult). It also points to how changing gendered norms and expectations of vocalization have been incorporated into practices of education throughout the nineteenth century, and how the sounds of femininity and (scientific) expertise could sometimes chime harmoniously in that period.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWomen's History Review
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • Vocal education
  • acoustic practice
  • embodied
  • gender
  • 6160 Other humanities

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