Prof Lucy Delap

Professor in Modern British and Gender History
Fellow of Murray Edwards College
Dr Lucy Delap

My research has principally been focused on the history of feminisms, spanning Britain, the United States and the British empire. Most recently, I've explored global perspectives through the publication of Feminisms: a global history in 2020. I’m deeply committed to the transformation of feminist history to embrace critical analysis, contextual understanding and a focus on issues of inclusion and exclusion. I’ve published on feminist debates about individualism, men’s involvement, contentious campaigns on rape and child sexual abuse, orientalist and racialised feminisms, anti-feminism and feminist businesses. Print media has been very central to my work - I’m fascinated by feminist periodicals of the early and late twentieth century, as well as the booktrade. I also work closely with oral history sources, and have helped create the Unbecoming Men and The Business of Women’s Words collections at the British Library.

I’ve also worked extensively in labour history, with a focus on the intersections of gender, class and disability in workplaces, which led to the publication of Knowing Their Place: Domestic Service in Twentieth Century Britain in 2011. I’m currently working on the history of employment and labour for disabled people in twentieth century Britain. I’m interested in developing policy-facing histories, and have long been involved in History & Policy, as well as working in partnership with voluntary sector groups such as Friends of the Earth. With colleagues, I was awarded the Royal Historical Society Public History Prize for public debate and policy in 2018 for our work on child sexual abuse.

Subject groups/Research projects
Modern British and Irish History; Economic and Social History
Gender and feminist history, print culture and media history, the history of disability, modern religious history, history of sexuality
I supervise and lecture for the modern British and Irish history papers, and for Historical Argument and Practice. I run a special subject for Part II, 'the transformation of everyday life in Britain, 1945-90'. At the MPhil level I teach in gender and sexuality, and in the theory and practice of oral history
I have worked closely with History & Policy since 2013, a collaboration between the Cambridge University History Faculty and King's College London which connects historians to policy makers and opinion formers, and am currently a senior editor. I am a convenor for the Modern British History and Cultural History seminars at Cambridge. I am an editorial board member of Women's History Review.
I supervise Masters and PhD students in modern British social and cultural history, gender history and history of sexuality. I welcome enquiries from students in these fields. Along with my PhD students, I participate in the exchange programme in Twentieth Century British History between Cambridge, New York and Columbia Universities; more details can be found on the website:

Key publications

Feminisms: a global history (Penguin and Chicago UP, 2020)

Men, Masculinities and Religious Change in Britain since 1890, (Co-edited with Sue Morgan) Palgrave Macmillan, (2013)

Knowing Their Place: Domestic Service in Twentieth Century Britain (Oxford University Press, 2011)

Feminist media history: Suffrage, periodicals and the public sphere, jointly authored with Maria DiCenzo and Leila Ryan, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010)

The Politics of Domestic Authority in Britain since 1800, (co edited with Ben Griffin and Abi Wills), (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)

The Feminist Avant-Garde: Transatlantic Encounters of the Early Twentieth Century (Cambridge University Press, 2007).

Other publications

'Marriage, Intimacy and Adulthood in Disabled People’s Lives and Activism in Twentieth Century Britain,' in Adulthood in Britain and the United States from 1350 to Generation Z, ed. Tisdall and Cannon (University of London Press, 2024)

‘Histories of gender and sexuality after the global turn’, in Globalising Europe, ed David Motadel, (Cambridge University Press, 2024)

Slow Workers: Labelling and Labouring in Britain, c. 1909-1955,’ Social History of Medicine (2023)

Rethinking rapes: men’s sex lives and feminist critiques’, Contemporary British History (2022)

Feminist Business Praxis and Spare Rib Magazine’, Women: a cultural review 32:3-4, 248-271 (2021)

“Disgusting details which are best forgotten”: Disclosures of Child Sexual Abuse in Twentieth Century Britain’ Journal of British Studies 57:1 (2018)

‘Feminism, masculinities and emotional politics in the late twentieth century’, Cultural and Social History 15:4 (2018)

‘Uneasy Solidarity: The British men’s movement and feminism’, in Women’s Liberation Movement: impacts and outcomes (Berghahn, 2017), ed Kristina Schulz, p. 214-236

With Adrian Bingham, Louise Jackson ,and Louise Settle ‘Historical Child Sexual Abuse in England and Wales: the Role of Historians’, History of Education, 2016

‘Feminist Bookshops, Reading Cultures and the Women’s Liberation Movement in Great Britain, c. 1974–2000’, History Workshop Journal, 81, Spring 2016.

"Genius must do the scullery work of the world’: New Women, Feminists and Genius, circa 1880-1920’, Genealogies of Genius, edited by Joyce Chaplin and Darrin McMahon, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015

‘History and Policy: a decade of bridge-building in the United Kingdom’, with Simon Szreter and Paul Warde, Scandia, 80: 1, 2014, 97-118

‘‘No one pretends he was faultless’: W T Stead and the Women’s Movement’, with Maria DiCenzo, in 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, 16, (2013)

‘'Be Strong and Play the Man': Anglican masculinities in the twentieth century’. In Delap and Morgan, Men, Masculinities and Religious Change in Britain since 1890, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013),

‘Uneven Orientalisms: Burmese Women and the Feminist Imagination’, Gender and History, 2, (2012), 389-410

‘Conservative values, Anglicans, and the gender order in interwar Britain’, in Brave New World: Imperial and Democratic Nation Building in Britain Between the Wars ed. Laura Beers and Geraint Thomas, Institute of Historical Research Publications, pp. 149-168, (2012)

‘“For ever and ever”: Child-raising, domestic workers and emotional labour in twentieth century Britain’, Studies in the Maternal, 3(2), (2011)

‘Housework, Housewives and Domestic Workers: Twentieth Century Dilemmas of Domesticity’ Home Cultures 8, 2, pp 189-210, special issue on Home and Work, ed. Hoskins and Hamlett, (2011).

‘The Woman Question and the Origins of Feminism’ in The Cambridge History of Nineteenth Century Political Thought, ed. Gareth Stedman Jones and Gregory Claeys, Cambridge University Press, (2011)

‘Kitchen Sink Laughter: Domestic Service Humour in Twentieth Century Britain’, Journal of British Studies, 49:3, 623-54 (2010)

Transatlantic Print Culture: The Anglo-American Feminist Press and Emerging ‘Modernities’ (with Maria DiCenzo, in Transatlantic Print Culture, 1880-1940: Emerging Media, Emerging Modernisms, ed. P. Collier and A. Ardis Palgrave Macmillan (2008)

“Campaigns of Curiosity: class crossing and role reversal in British domestic service, c. 1890-1950, Left History vol. 12, no. 2, Fall/Winter, 33-63 (2007)