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Jennie joined the Department of English and Related Literature in 2023 to become Head and Professor of English. She previously worked at the University of Kent for nearly twenty years where she co-directed the Centre for Studies in the Long Eighteenth Century. Prior to that, she was the inaugural Postdoctoral Fellow in Women’s Writing (1660-1830) at Chawton House Library and the University of Southampton.
Jennie’s interests lie in eighteenth century and Romantic studies, in particular in the intersections of literary and material culture, media and intermediality, periodicals studies, women’s writing, book history, authorship and anonymity, the body, dress, fashion and craft, mental health and the history of work. She has published widely in these areas and is the author of three monographs and co-editor of four edited collections, several of which have been supported by grants from the British Academy, the British Academy and the Pasold.
Jennie has a career-long commitment to public engagement in research, and in addition to giving numerous keynote lectures internationally, is regularly interviewed about her research on numerous podcasts, BBC radio and television and has written for various magazines from The Quilter to Who Do You Think You Are Magazine. In the last five years, Jennie has also become involved in practice-based research on craft reconstruction and craft and mental health which led to her co-creation, with Alison Larkin, of the popular history-craft book, Jane Austen Embroidery (Pavilion and Dover, 2020).
Jennie is author of three monographs (The Lady’s Magazine (1770–1832) and the Making of Literary History, Edinburgh University Press, 2022; Women’s Work: Labour, Gender, Authorship, 1750–1830, Manchester University Press, 2010; and Dress, Distress and Desire: Clothing and the Female Body in Eighteenth-Century Literature, Palgrave 2005.) She has also co-edited four essay collections on women’s writing, material culture and periodicals studies, including (with Manushag N. Powell), Women’s Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1690–1820s (Edinburgh University Press 2018).
Jennie’s book on the Lady’s Magazine, which was published on , was the recipient of the 2023 Robert and Vineta Colby Scholarly Book Prize awarded by the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals Research. It builds on more than a decade’s research on the first modern women’s magazine. In 2013, Jennie was Consultant editor for Adam Matthew’s digitisation of the magazine. She followed this activity with her Leverhulme Trust-funded project (2014–16) for which she, Koenraad Claes and Jenny DiPlacidi, digitally catalogued, indexed and created searchable metadata for the magazine’s contents across its first series. She has also devised further digital databases on the magazine’s multi-media contents, and , the latter of which aims to catalogue over 650 needlework designs the magazine published. She is currently writing a book on the relationship between craft and authorship for Cambridge University Press.
Jennie has supervised numerous PhDs to completion and welcomes prospective PhD students working in eighteenth-century and Romantic Studies, particularly on women’s writing, periodicals and media.
Jennie teaches widely in eighteenth-century and Romantic literature and material culture studies.
Jennie is committed to making academic research publicly accessible. She regularly gives public lectures and workshops on life, literature and work in the long eighteenth century to international audiences (e.g. the Jane Austen Society of North America, the Joy Club). She has appeared at several literary festivals (e.g. Cheltenham, Chawton, Bradford-upon Avon) and numerous podcasts (e.g. the New Statesman, The Thing about Austen, The Comfortable Spot). She has written for magazines including Who Do You Think You Are Magazine, and appeared on BBC radio talking about topics as varied as eighteenth-century motherhood and craft in the age of Covid.
Jennie’s longstanding interest in the history of fashion and material culture and to public engagement in research led, in 2015, to her curation of ‘’, a project for which people around the world recreated rare, surviving embroidery patterns from the Lady’s Magazine for display at an exhibition to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s Emma at in 2016, as well as for exhibitions elsewhere in the UK and in Toronto. Her work on women’s needlework practice led to the publication of a history-craft crossover book, Jane Austen Embroidery (co-devised with Alison Larkin), which was published by Pavilion (UK) and Dover (US) in 2020 and continues in various practice-based workshops she delivers regularly across the country.