Research at Leeds Beckett
Professor Alison Oram
About Professor Alison Oram
Her most recent book "Her Husband Was a Woman!" Women's Gender-Crossing and Modern British Popular Culture (2007) explored the changing presentation of women's cross-dressing in popular culture, especially in popular press stories and variety theatre, and its contribution to the emerging concepts of lesbianism and transsexuality in twentieth-century Britain. Research for the book was supported by grants from the British Academy and the AHRC. Alison Oram's current research examines the conceptual boundaries, or lack of them, between heterosexuality and homosexuality in a key period of identity formation, the 1930s-1970s.
Professor Oram's second major field of research is on how the themes of sexuality and the family appear in public history, primarily in historic houses. Recently-published articles have explored the diverse ways in which ideas about same-sex love are presented in sites including Sissinghurst (Kent), Shibden Hall (West Yorkshire) and Plas Newydd (the home of the "Ladies of Llangollen" in Wales). Using concepts such as heterotopia, pilgrimage and queer domesticity she analyses both curatorial practice and visitor identification, and how this has changed in recent years.
Professor Oram currently supervises PhD theses on: lesbian and gay activism in the 1980s, children in care in 20th century Leeds, and leisure, the country house and the British upper classes. She welcomes new research students in her areas of expertise.
Women and Modernity in Twentieth Century Britain (level 6 option), Under-Represented Heritage (level 6 option), Research Workshop (level 5), The Public and the Past (level 4), Sexuality, Gender and Popular Culture in Britain: 1918-1970 (MA Social History).
As well as the academic publications listed below, this research has informed public lectures at the National Portrait Gallery and the Geffrye Museum; a recent article in the Times Higher Education (26 April 2012); radio interviews including Women's Hour; and consultation events with English Heritage.