Dr Stephanie Olsen and Dr Rose-Marie Peake joined HEX this autumn.
Senior Research Fellow Olsen’s main interests throughout her career have been the history of childhood and youth, education, and experiences/emotions, with a particular focus on the British Empire in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Olsen is currently working on a multi-site project on the history of children’s experiences in the First World War, with a focus on Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
– Specifically, through the lens of the history of emotions, I look at the central role of education, both formal and informal, in shaping the next generation of citizens/subjects, and these children’s feelings of belonging to the Empire and to their nations, Olsen describes.
The Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Researcher Peake studies lived religion in seventeenth-century France.
– The focus is on French Catholics and especially on their attitudes vis-à-vis transgressive sexuality, Peake specifies.
Peake is interested in the ways the women, called dévotes, aimed to build their identity and agency and claim corporeal space by founding convents for ʻfallen women’ and engaging in proto-queer spiritual practices.
In the HEX research program, Peake is inspired by the methodologically ambitious as well as thematically and chronologically extensive approach. Olsen finds the intellectual environment at HEX and the history department stimulating.
– HEX is at the forefront of historiography in its new approach to the history of experience. It has an ambitious agenda to reframe historical research, Olsen says.
For Olsen, the category of experience is promising, since it incorporates many of the important categories of historical analysis such as emotions, gender, class, race and age. It can provide historians with a new way of unlocking how people felt and experienced their lives.