Ella Sbaraini

PhD Candidate in History

I am a PhD student working on 'The Suicidal in England and Wales, 1700-1850'. My research, which is funded by the Wolfson Postgraduate Scholarship in the Humanities, explores the experience of feeling suicidal in this period. My work engages with the history of the emotions, and seeks to be part of a 'suicide history from below' which re-centres suicidal people in our historical narratives.

Before my PhD, I did an AHRC-funded MPhil (2019) at the University of Cambridge, looking at the understanding and experience of suicide among elderly people in England, 1700-1815. I achieved my BA in History from the University of Cambridge in 2018. My undergraduate thesis won the History Today Undergraduate Dissertation Prize (presented in association with the Royal Historical Society) for the best undergraduate dissertation in England. This dissertation also won the Cambridge Historical Society Prize for joint-best undergraduate dissertation at the University of Cambridge.

My research has been covered in The Times and The Guardian, and discussed on Loose Women.

I am the co-convenor of the conference 'Emotion, Embodiment and the Everyday, c.1500-1800' (10th December 2021) with York PhD student Emma Marshall. I also co-convene the Cambridge History of Memory and Emotions Workshop, and am one of the Postgraduate Representatives for The Social History Society. I have taught undergraduate students for HAP, Paper 5, 9 and 10. 

I am interested in histories of the emotions, death, sexuality and food.

My current PhD research explores the experience of feeling suicidal in England and Wales, 1700-1850. This research engages with histories of suicide, the emotions, letter-writing, religion, material culture and the body. My previous research has looked at middle-aged women's sexuality in the eighteenth-century, and the history of sexuality remains a keen interest of mine.


First Year History Faculty Induction Programme: 15 supervisions, 2 seminars

Part II, Paper 1, Historical Argument and Practice: 2 seminars on 'Postmodernism'

HE+ Conference: Workshop on 'Looking for the Emotions in History'

Sutton Trust School: Workshop on 'Early Modern Gender and Sexuality'


‘She said that she shd. never be happy again for that she had wronged her husband: Sex, Love, Honour and Suicidality in England, 1760-1850’, paper presented at the Cambridge Gender and Sexuality Graduate Workshop, 24th November 2020.


‘[H]e said he would never go upon the Tramp any more’: The Elderly Suicidal in England, 1700-1815’, paper presented at the Institute of Historical Research ‘Life-Cycles’ Seminar, 10th November 2020.


‘Ten thousand Millions of Fires kindling in my Head’: Suicide, Masculinity and the ‘Wild’ Body in England, 1750-1850’, paper presented at the History of the Gendered Body Seminar at the University of Oxford, 16th October 2020.


‘Embodying Suicidal Emotions’, Social History Society Online Conference, 29th June 2020.    

‘‘He asked her if she wd. put an end to him’: The Experience of Suicide among the Elderly in England, 1700-1815’, Social History Society Conference in Lincoln, 10th-13th June 2019.

Presentation on ‘The Suicidal in England, Scotland and Wales, 1700-1850’ at the Institute for Historical Research’s ‘Lightning Talks’, 11th December 2019.



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