Risk and Uncertainty

Conceptions of risk and uncertainty are traditionally applied to moments of environmental and economic crisis, both real and imagined. This new History Workshop Online series seeks to understand how ordinary people calculated perceived and real risks and uncertainties in daily life. How have differences of race, class, gender and sexuality shaped experiences of risk and uncertainty throughout history? And what can a historical understanding of risk and uncertainty in the past offer us in the present?


What’s In A Surname?

In Britain today, 9 out of 10 women marrying men will change their name on marriage.

For History Workshop Online I discussed the history of female name changing after marriage in Britain, arguing that reference to tradition is not necessarily rooted in history.

Violence against wives in medieval and early modern Scotland

Whether it happened behind closed doors or openly in public spaces, violence against women in intimate relationships occurred as much in the past as it does today. But modern terms like ‘domestic abuse’ or ‘intimate partner violence’ do not easily translate across history. Five hundred years ago, violence against women in intimate relationships was primarily seen as physicalContinue reading “Violence against wives in medieval and early modern Scotland”

Women accessing justice in early modern Scotland

When Jonet Pollock brought suit before Glasgow’s commissary court in 1694, she listed a string of accusations and complaints against her ex-partner, William Jamieson. In her complaint, Jonet insisted that William had refused to pay an outstanding debt due to her, despite the fact she had obtained a favourable ruling from the commissary judge fourContinue reading “Women accessing justice in early modern Scotland”

Cohabitation in Scotland: Lessons from history

*First published on the University of Glasgow School of Law Blog on 18 December 2020* Picture: David Allan, The Black Stool (The Stool of Repentance), 1795. National Galleries of Scotland, Accession number: D 4373. Source: https://www.nationalgalleries.org/art-and-artists/8323/black-stool-stool-repentance. Here we can see a young mother weeping while cradling her new-born infant, while her own mother furiously glaresContinue reading “Cohabitation in Scotland: Lessons from history”