SCSC Roelker Prize

Category : Blog, French history · No Comments Oct 28th, 2012

To say I am utterly delighted is an understatement.

I’ve just heard that my journal article ‘Crossing Boundaries: Women’s Gossip, Insults and Violence in 16th-century France’ in French History (Vol 25, No. 4), has been awarded a US prize for historical scholarship – the Nancy Lyman Roelker Prize.

The Roelker Prize is awarded by the Sixteenth Century Society every year for the best article in English on sixteenth-century French history. It will be formally presented at the Sixteenth Century Society Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio in October.

The article was written for a special edition of French History in honour of the historian Robin Briggs, my doctoral supervisor and inspiration. I don’t know who nominated my article – but I am very grateful to him or her!

You can read the full text of my article here at French History if you subscribe or here in its pre-print form.

The article was also featured in BBC History Magazine in April 2012 (see below). I am now writing a book on my research on sixteenth-century France.


When gossip was good

Category : Articles, BBC History Magazine, Blog, French history · No Comments Apr 19th, 2012

I was surprised and chuffed to discover that BBC History Magazine featured an academic article of mine (‘Crossing Boundaries: Women’s Gossip, Insults and Violence in 16th-Century France’, from French History, Vol 25, No. 4) in their April edition.

It contains some wonderfully scandalous stories from the archives of southern France, which are also likely to be the subject of my next book.

You can read the full text of my article here at French History, if you subscribe, or here in its pre-print form.

Women’s gossip, insults & violence in 16th century France

Category : Articles, Blog, French history · No Comments Nov 25th, 2011

Delighted that my article, ‘Crossing boundaries: Women’s gossip, insults and violence in sixteenth-century France’ has been published in a special edition, ‘Embattled Faiths in Early Modern France: Essays in Honour of Robin Briggs’, of the scholarly journal French History.

The abstract is below, and you can read it here in its published form in French History (volume 25, issue 4, December 2011, 408-426) if you are subscribed to French History or have institutional access to online scholarly journals.

There is a pre-print manuscript version of the article here: Crossing boundaries Lipscomb French History final manuscript for those who don’t have such access.


Using evidence from cases recorded in the registers of the consistories of southern France, the author investigates the way in which Languedocian women policed each other’s behaviour, enforcing a collective morality through gossip, sexual insult and physical confrontation. In contrast to case studies by other historians, it is argued here that gossip does appear to have been a peculiarly female activity, but far more than simply being an outlet for malice or prurience, it gave women a distinctive social role in the town. No less evident is the involvement of women in physical violence both against each other and against men, violence which, though less extreme than its male counterpart, nonetheless occupies a significant role in the proceedings of the consistories.