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Dr Catherine Lee

Profile summary

Professional biography

I have been an Associate Lecturer with The Open University since 2008, following the completion of my PhD, also undertaken with the OU.  I currently tutor on AA100: The Arts Past and Present and on A105: Voices, Texts and Material Culture as well as serving as Associate Lecturer Representative on the FASS Board of Studies. Recently, I worked as academic consultant on the OU/BBC series The Ascent of Woman: A 10,000 year story, presented by Dr Amanda Foreman and broadcast in late 2015.  Other teaching experience has been at the University of Kent at Medway where I taught the history of crime and of policing for five years.  I am a member of the steering committee of the Women’s History Network and am lead editor of the network’s journal Women’s History.   

Research interests

My PhD research focused on the history of prostitution in nineteenth-century Kent, reflecting a general interest in constructions and perceptions of women’s deviancy. I am interested in exploring the potential tensions between feminism and the agency of women at the margins, together with the local dimensions of questions more often examined from a top-down perspective.  In 2013 I collaborated with Dr. Anne Logan of the University of Kent on a locally-focussed, AHRC-funded research project called Inspiring Women which uncovered the suffragist activities of women in Kent and Sussex and their experience during the First World War.  More recently I have been researching the ‘war baby’ moral panic of 1914/15.



Policing Prostitution, 1856–1886: Deviance, Surveillance and Morality, Pickering and Chatto, (2012)


“‘Giddy Girls”’, “Scandalous Statements” and a “Burst Bubble”: the war babies panic of 1914–1915’ in Women’s History Review (2017 online: hard copy forthcoming 2018)

‘Quietly and without parade’: Women patrollers in South-East England during the First World War’ in Women’s History (2015)

‘Prostitution and Victorian Society’ revisited: the Contagious Diseases Acts in Kent’ in Women’s History Review (2012)

‘Prostitution in the Medway Towns 1860-1885’ (co-authored) in Local Population Studies (2009) 

Co-authored chapter:

(with Dr. Anne Logan, University of Kent): 'Tunbridge Wells Women in the First World War' in The Shock of War, Tunbridge Wells Civic Society Local History Monograph: 2014

Conference Papers

October 2015: ‘Giddy girls’, ‘scandalous statements’ and a ‘burst bubble’: The war baby panic of 1914-15 at Women, Gender and the First World War: Home Fronts and War Fronts Conference, University of Portsmouth

October 2014: ‘From ‘Research’ to ‘Stories’: Experience of a University-Museum Collaborative Project in Kent’ at Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities RLUK Conference, Library of Birmingham (jointly with Dr Ian Beavis, Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery and Dr Anne Logan, University of Kent)

July 2014:  ‘Quietly and without parade’: Women patrollers in Kent during the First World War at83rd Anglo-American Conference of Historians, The Great War at Home: Institute of Historical Research, University of London

April 2014: ‘A woman of common sense, tact and sympathy’: The women police of early twentieth-century Kent’ atSocial History Society Annual Conference, University of Northumbria, Newcastle

September 2012: ‘Every appearance of dissipation in her countenance’: Exploring the stereotypes in newspaper court columns: a comparison of Kent and Dundee 1855-1890 (jointly with Dr. Suki Haider, University of St. Andrews) at British Crime Historians Symposium, The Open University, Milton Keynes

March 2010: ‘”Behind the timbers with a sailor”: Reassessing interpretations of the Contagious Diseases Acts (1864-69)’ atSocial History Society Annual Conference, Glasgow

April 2008: ‘Prostitution in the port, dockyard and garrison towns of Kent, 1860-1880’ at
Local Population Studies Society Annual Conference, University of Hertfordshire

April 2008: ‘Class control or working the system? The regulation of street disorder in Kent, 1850-1875’ at Social History Society Annual Conference, Rotterdam

April 2007: ‘She being a common prostitute’: Policing Street Prostitution in Kent, 1860-1880  at Social History Society Annual Conference, University of Exeter   


Women’s agency, activism and organisation (2019)
Lee, Catherine and Logan, Anne
Women's History Review, 28(6) (pp. 831-834)

‘Giddy Girls’, ‘Scandalous Statements’ and a ‘Burst Bubble’: the war babies panic of 1914–1915 (2018)
Lee, Catherine
Women's History Review, 27(4) (pp. 565-578)