Hall, Catherine

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HALL, Catherine

PERSONAL:

Daughter of a minister; children: yes. Education: Attended Birmingham University.

ADDRESSES:

Office—University College, London, 208, 25 Gordon Sq., London WC1E 6BT, England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Historian. University College, London, London, England, professor of history.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Morris D. Forkosch Prize, American Historical Association, for Civilising Subjects: Colony and Metropole in the English Imagination, 1830-1867.

WRITINGS:

(With Leonore Davidoff) Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the English Middle Class, 1780-1850, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1987, revised edition, 2002.

White, Male, and Middle-Class: Explorations in Feminism and History, Routledge (New York, NY), 1992.

(Editor) Cultures of Empire: Colonizers in Britain and the Empire in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: A Reader, Routledge (New York, NY), 2000.

(With Keith McClelland and Jane Rendall) Defining the Victorian Nation: Class, Race, Gender and the British Reform Act of 1867, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2000.

(Editor, with Ida Blom and Karen Hagemann) Gendered Nations: Nationalisms and Gender Order in the Long Nineteenth Century, Oxford International (New York, NY), 2000.

Civilising Subjects: Colony and Metropole in the English Imagination, 1830-1867, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2002.

(Editor) The Construction of Empire: Gender, Race, and Nation in Europe's Imperial Past, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 2003

Coeditor of the journal Gender and History.

SIDELIGHTS:

Catherine Hall is a social historian whose main focus has been the evolving concept of the British Empire during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and how this related to issues such as race, feminism, and colonial versus metropolitan life. Her first book, Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the English Middle Class, 1780-1850, written with Leonore Davidoff, discusses the influence of the English middle class on the Industrial Revolution. Until the book's publication, the subject had only been briefly touched on by other historians. The authors "go a long way toward redressing the balance," commented William J. Reader in Business History Review, adding that "the English middle class has never before been explored on anything like this scale. Davidoff and Hall have put together what must surely be the most detailed description of middle-class life ever published, and their writing, lucid and concise, though not entirely jargon-free, held my attention throughout 450 pages."

Hall followed this work with White, Male, and Middle-Class: Explorations in Feminism and History, which includes essays on such issues as race, ethnicity, the influence of English Baptist missionaries in Jamaica, and the changing concepts of the male middle class and English womanhood. Journal of Social History contributor Walter L. Arnstein said that Hall's essays "provide a helpful summary of modern scholarship on how femininity (and at times masculinity) were both defined and experienced." However, the critic felt that Hall does not lend new insights into feminist scholarship, noting that "at no time does she ever publicly take issue with another historian" and that "at heart she remains an old-fashioned empirical historian." On the other hand, Susan Mumm attested in her Canadian Journal of History assessment that Hall attempts to address the "frustration of black feminists … [who] ignored gender while women's history overlooked race." The essays that try to place gender and race issues within the overall historical contexts, noted Mumm, therefore "represent an interesting development in Hall's work."

Defining the Victorian Nation: Class, Race, Gender and the British Reform Act of 1867, was written by Hall, Keith McClelland, and Jane Rendall. According to Laura E. Nym Mayhall of the Journal of Modern History, Hall and her coauthors offer "a productive way to think about the relationship of electoral reform to citizenship." Mayhall went on to assert that "these three historians resist any easy equation of citizenship with voting and instead explore citizenship as a political, cultural, and social identity." By addressing more than just the political perspective, the authors show how the result of the 1867 Reform Act was to define citizens as those involved in what was considered "respectable" work. This edict effectively excluded women and minorities in an injustice that would not be rectified until the women's movement and the rise of socialism many years later. This evaluation, wrote Mayhall, provides a view into "a new political history, one that could identify a broader political culture within which histories of political reform may be written."

Hall's book Civilising Subjects: Colony and Metropole in the English Imagination, 1830-1867 is "an outstanding achievement," according to Journal of Australian Studies critic Lorenzo Veracini. In this work, Hall shows that the definition of what it meant to be "English" was as much defined by colonists around the world as it was by those living in England itself. Veracini stated that Civilising Subjects thus maps "the ways in which 'English' became inextricably intertwined with a colonising function." The book focuses particularly on the crisis in Jamaica in 1865 when blacks rioted against the British colonial government and were violently suppressed by Governor Edward Eyre, who slaughtered hundreds of people. Eyre was subsequently investigated by his superiors, but he merely received a reprimand. Anthony Pagden, judging this work in a Times Literary Supplement review, averred that "Civilising Subjects is a work of traditional social history. This is both its strength and its weakness. We are given the most detailed picture possible of the social worlds, the lives and objectives, of a remarkable group of men (and some—though surprisingly few—women). But there is little or no sense that this was not merely a British experience and a British problem." Pagden complained that while the focus is too narrow, nonetheless Hall deserves praise for telling the tale "in dense detail and with great feeling." Civilising Subjects won the Morris D. Forkosch Prize from the American Historical Association.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, June, 1989, Angus McLaren, review of Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the English Middle Class, 1780-1850, p. 761.

American Journal of Sociology, July, 1988, John R. Gillis, review of Family Fortunes, p. 170.

Business History Review, autumn, 1988, William J. Reader, review of Family Fortunes, p. 554.

Canadian Historical Review, December, 1993, Joy Parr, review of White, Male, and Middle Class: Explorations in Feminism and History, pp. 598-599.

Canadian Journal of History, April, 1993, Susan Mumm, review of White, Male, and Middle Class, p. 150.

Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, summer-fall, 1993, Jonnette Watson Hamilton, review of White, Male, and Middle Class, pp. 522-528.

Choice, January, 1993, F. Burkhard, review of White, Male, and Middle Class, p. 859; January, 2001, W. J. Hoffman, Jr., review of Defining the Victorian Nation: Class, Race, Gender and the British Reform Act of 1867, p. 970.

Comparative Studies in Society and History, July, 1991, Jane Turner Censer, review of Family Fortunes, pp. 528-538.

Contemporary Sociology, March, 1989, Theodore Koditschek, review of Family Fortunes, p. 178.

English Historical Review, October, 1988, Norman McCord, review of Family Fortunes, p. 994; February, 2001, Janet Howarth, review of Defining the Victorian Nation, p. 158.

History, February, 1994, Clare Midgley, review of White, Male, and Middle Class, p. 113.

International History Review, June, 2003, Dane Kennedy, review of Civilising Subjects: Colony and Metropole in the English Imagination, 1830-1867, pp. 423-425.

Journal of Australian Studies, September, 2002, Lorenzo Veracini, review of Civilising Subjects, p. 148.

Journal of Comparative Family Studies, spring, 1990, Judith N. Cates, review of Family Fortunes, pp. 112-114.

Journal of Economic History, September, 1989, Miriam Slater, review of Family Fortunes, p. 732.

Journal of Interdisciplinary History, spring, 1989, Chris Waters, review of Family Fortunes, p. 677.

Journal of Modern History, March, 1990, Joel Mokyr, review of Family Fortunes, p. 78; June, 1995, Lilian L. Shiman, review of White, Male, and Middle Class, p. 417; June, 2002, Laura E. Nym Mayhall, review of Defining the Victorian Nation, p. 411.

Journal of Social History, summer, 1989, Walter L. Arnstein, review of Family Fortunes, pp. 774-776; summer, 1994, Arnstein, review of White, Male, and Middle Class, p. 831; winter, 2001, Merry Wiesner-Hanks, review of Gendered Nations: Nationalisms and Gender Order in the Long Nineteenth Century, p. 503; fall, 2002, Stephen Heathorn, review of Defining the Victorian Nation, p. 227.

Journal of Women's History, winter, 2003, Philippa Levine, review of The Construction of Empire: Gender, Race, and Nation in Europe's Imperial Past, p. 202.

New Statesman, September 25, 1987, Jules Lubbock, review of Family Fortunes, p. 31.

New Statesman & Society, August 7, 1992, Pat Thane, review of White, Male, and Middle Class, p. 40.

Signs, spring, 1990, Ellen Jordan, review of Family Fortune, p. 650.

Sociological Review, November, 1993, Anne Witz, review of White, Male, and Middle Class, pp. 796-799.

Times Literary Supplement, February 14, 2003, Anthony Pagden, "Flog and Hang and Burn," p. 8.

Victorian Poetry, autumn, 1993, Linda M. Shires, review of White, Male, and Middle Class, p. 258.

Victorian Studies, winter, 1989, Eileen Yeo, review of Family Fortunes, p. 254.

Women's History Review, fall, 2001, Susan K. Kent, review of Defining the Victorian Nation, p. 563.

ONLINE

H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online,http://www.h-net.org/ (September, 2002), Martin Hewitt, review of Defining the Victorian Nation.*