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Durham University

The Centre for Nineteenth Century Studies

Jemima Short

Jemima Short is a M.litt student at Newcastle University. Her undergraduate degree in French Studies included a dissertation discussing myth in the representation of female revolutionaries of the 19th century. Her Postgraduate studies focus on myths around women and the Church in 19th century France from a literary and historiographical perspective. 

Her MLitt project aims to challenge existing notions of the relationship between women and religion in nineteenth-century authors’ works, examining how myths were used to justify – and achieve – the political exclusion of women, and to demystify the extent of Church influence over women’s lives. To achieve this she is studying the treatment of women and religion in works of 19th century novelists, historians and polemicists. She aims to explore the control of the clergy over women’s lives, the mistrust of priests and the Church, anticlericalism and secularism, and the use of female icons such as Jeanne d’Arc by both the Church and the State.

Her dissertation, ‘Crossing the mystical divide: women, religion and secularism in France in the writings of Jules Michelet,’ aims to reveal how the eminent and prolific historian Jules Michelet (1789-1874) contributed to the fabrication of myths to the extent that it was a commonly held belief that women were more religious than men. She also hopes to explore the perpetuation and long-standing acceptance of myths around women in current historical analysis.

Read more about Jemima's work here.