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Eisel biographical page


Christine Eisel



Christine Eisel 

Office: 104 Mitchell
Telephone: 901.678.2519
Fax: 901.678.2720
Education: Ph.D., History, Bowling Green State University, 2012



Fields of interest

Colonial America; women and gender; colonial law and policy; folkways in colonial America

My dissertation examines women's gossip in two of Virginia's earliest counties, Accomack and York. Using county court records that date back to the 1630s, I have pieced together an investigation into women’s speech and the corresponding punishment, revealing not just women’s role in early Virginian society, but also the interaction between women and formal institutions. In considering women's gossip and the attention it drew from local and colonial authorities, I have demonstrated that gossip challenged colonial law while supplementing the authority of the county courts. The reaction to gossips reveals how the expectations of masculine authority impacted community formation on a small scale, and in turn, how those communities informed colonial interests, giving us a more complete understanding of what it meant to be an English subject in the Chesapeake. I have presented various aspects of my research at several conferences, including The Berkshire Conference of Women's Historians and the Virginia Forum.

Courses taught

U.S surveys (Bowling Green State University and Lourdes University); Colonial and Revolutionary America (University of Memphis and Lourdes University); Women in American History (Bowling Green State University); New Nation (Lourdes University); Latin American Civilizations (Lourdes University); American National Government (Lourdes University)

Works in progress

  • “‘They make one very handsome Mirkin amongst them’: Gossip and Church Politics in Early York County, Virginia,” in When Private Talk Goes Public: Gossip in United States, Jennifer Frost and Kathleen Feeley, eds.
  • “The Women of Bacon’s Rebellion,” for the Women and Social Movements (WASM) website

Conference Presentations

“Gendered Speech and Punishment in Seventeenth-Century Virginia.” Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, Minneapolis, MN, 12-15 June 2008

“Testified Gossip: English Women, the Courts, and Gendered Speech in a Seventeenth Century Virginia Community.” Women and Gender Historians of the Midwest Conference, St. Louis, MO, 2-3 June 2006

“Babbling Words: Gossip and Gendered Resistance on the Seventeenth Century Eastern Shore.” Paper presented to the Virginia Forum, Shenandoah University, Winchester, VA, 8-9 April 2006

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