Donnerstag, 12. November 2020, 18:00 - 20:00 iCal

Mobility Lecture #4 with Peter Merriman

Modern Women on Modern Machines: Cultural Constructions of Women Motorists in Late Victorian and Edwardian Britain

Batthyanystiege 26, 1010 Wien

Online Event

How were female motorists figured by male and female writers, journalists, and cultural and political commentators in late Victorian and Edwardian Britain? Drawing upon published writings in the specialist motoring press and other literatures from the time, Peter Merriman analyses discussions of the embodied practices of motoring which in part focussed on whether motoring and particularly driving were feminine pursuits or not. His lecture examines how female motorists were positioned as modern and liberated 'suffragette types' and what role women's motoring columns played as spaces for women's expression and for framing female consumption, while also reinforcing traditional gender divisions and roles. It further outlines the importance of the new spaces of London's West-End (especially clubs and specialist shops) as spaces of consumption for female motorists, and discusses the role of female celebrity racing drivers such as Dorothy Levitt in publicising the achievements and struggle of women drivers. Finally, Merriman considers how certain types of car such as the light car and voiturette were presented as suitable for women motorists, reinforcing distinctions and divisions between masculine and feminine bodies, practices, technologies and spaces.


Professor Peter Merriman is a cultural and historical geographer whose interdisciplinary research focuses on mobility, port histories and heritage, theories of space and place, nationalism and national identity, and 20th century Wales. He is one of the world's leading scholars in mobility studies.

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Research Platform Mobile Cultures and Societies