Introduction to the course Women in Western Europe, 1800-2000

July 8, 2015  click:

DR MARK JAMES CROWLEY, BScEcon Hons (Cardiff), M.St (Oxon) PhD (London)



I joined the Department of History at Wuhan University in February 2011.  Before I arrived in China, I completed my academic studies in the United Kingdom.  From 2001-2004, I was a Bachelor student at Cardiff University in Wales.  I graduated with an honours degree in Modern History and Politics, specialising in British History.

From September 2004 until July 2005, I was a graduate student at department of History in the University of Oxford.  I graduated as a Master in Modern History, specialising in Modern British History.  My thesis focused on the problems of unemployment in Britain during the 1930s.  This thesis was later awarded a prize by the Political Studies Association in the United Kingdom in recognition of outstanding graduate research. 

From July 2005 until September 2009, I worked as an Associate Lecturer in the Department of Politics at Cardiff University, Wales, United Kingdom, where I taught two undergraduate courses: ‘British Politics’ (second year undergraduate) and ‘Wales, Devolution and Multi-Level Governance in the European Union’ (third year undergraduate). 

In September 2006, I obtained a scholarship from the United Kingdom Arts and Humanities Research Council, and I began my PhD research at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London.   My PhD research focused on the employment of women in the British Post Office during the Second World War.  I was supervised by Professor Patricia Thane, who is a world- leading expert in women’s history, and Dr Adrian Steel from the British Postal Museum and Archive.  I successfully defended my PhD thesis in May 2010, and was examined by Professor Martin Daunton from Cambridge University, and Professor Sally Alexander from Goldsmiths College, University of London.  I was formally awarded my PhD in October 2010.

During my PhD study, I received several awards for my research, including prizes from the Royal Historical Society and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.  I have attended over 30 conferences in the United States of America, Canada and the United Kingdom to present my research. 



In my research, I use a wide variety of original archival documents from government departments, trade unions, women’s organisations and social research organisations. I consider myself both a social historian and a gender historian.  I make extensive use of published primary sources, and contextualise this within the current historiography.  I incorporate the use of several historical theories (such as post-colonialism and post-modernism) and methodologies in my research to broaden the methods of historical enquiry.  I seek to adopt an interdisciplinary approach to my work, drawing on materials, research methods and perspectives from numerous areas of the Humanities and Social Sciences, including Political Studies, Political Philosophy, English literature and Psychology. 



My research is now developing in several directions.  At present, I am revising my PhD thesis on Women’s Employment in the British Post Office during the Second World War to publish as a book.  I am also currently researching my new project on the employment policies of the British Government during the Second World War.  In addition, I am co-editing a volume on Consumption in Britain, 1920-1970s with Dr Erika Rappaport and Dr Sandra Dawson, and writing a textbook on Research Methods in Modern History. 



1.      Crowley, Mark J (2012)., ‘The Indispensible position of women Post Office workers in Britain, 1935-1950’, Essays in Economic and Business History Vol XXX, pp. 89-97.

2.      Crowley, Mark J (forthcoming 2013), ‘The Post Office Will Always Get Through’: The Post Office Savings Bank and the War Effort in Britain’ in Rappaport, Erika, Crowley, Mark J and Dawson, Sandra (eds.) Women, Consumption and War in Britain, 1920-1970

3.      Crowley, Mark J (2009) ‘Popular protest in nineteenth century Wales’ in Immanuel Ness (ed.) Encyclopaedia of Protest Popular Movements in World History (New York: Blackwell) pp. 3497-3501

4.      Crowley, Mark J (2009) 'British Trade Unionism and Protest 1930-40’ in Immanuel Ness (ed.) Encyclopaedia of Protest Popular Movements in World History (New York: Blackwell) pp. 519-526

5.      Crowley, M J, Palmer, R and Thornton, S (2008), ‘Government formation in the National Assembly for Wales’ in Brazier, Alex (ed.) No Overall Control (Hansard Society)



I have published book reviews in the following journals:

Twentieth Century British History (Oxford University Press)

History: Review of New Books (Taylor and Francis)

Reviews in History (Institute of Historical Research)



  1. 2011: Wuhan University Research Allowance for Overseas Conference Presentation
  2. 2006-9: Arts and Humanities Research Council Collaborative Doctoral Award in British Postal History
  3. 2008: Arts and Humanities Research Council Overseas Conference Grant
  4. 2008: Royal Historical Society Graduate Student Overseas Conference Grant (competitive)
  5. 2006: Political Studies Graduate Student Prize for research presented overseas
  6. 2001-4: Cardiff University Scholarship for outstanding academic achievement



Women in Western Europe, 1800-2000

Wuhan University History Department

Course Leader: Dr Mark J Crowley


Course description

•         Introduce students to main themes of the history of women in western social and political history during the 20th century.

•         train students to read English sources

•         instruct students in research design

•         teach students the skills and analysis required for modern historical study


Main topics

•         culture, religion and society in the Victorian period

•         popular culture

•         the British Empire

•         The foundations of Europe’s population

•         What role have women played in Europe’s society and culture?

•         Women’s struggles

•         feminism and Masculinity from the 1960s

•         contemporary Britain: Wars, political change and future challenges


Course goals

•         teach students the skills required to pursue specialised study.

•         Provide students with the ability to use primary sources, and be able to critique their usefulness.

•         Guide students to understand the various methodological approaches to historical study.

•         Help students develop core skills in use of library, critical reading in primary and secondary sources, and essay-writing.

•         Develop students’ analytical skills


Course assessment:

•         One essay of no more than 1,000 words (30%)

•         A factual test on the course content (10%)

•         One examination at the end of term. (60%)


Teaching methods:

  • 2 classes (45 minutes each) with PPT presentation introducing major topic to the students
  • A requirement for students to undertake independent reading after class from a reading list provided by me.
  • 2 lectures per week, each class lasts 45 minutes
  • Each class will provide questions to improve students’ understanding
  • Each class will provide opportunity for students to discuss and debate the issues raised
  • An assessed assignment, a factual class test and a final examination will be used as the method of assessment


Teaching materials:

Crowley, Mark J (with Rosanne Palmer and Stephen Thornton),(‘Government formation in the National Assembly for Wales’) in Brazier, Alex (ed.) No Overall Control (Hansard Society, March 2008)

(‘Popular protest in nineteenth century Wales’) in Immanuel Ness (ed.)  (Encyclopaedia of Protest Popular Movements in World History, New York: Blackwell, 2008)

1930年-40 ('British Trade Unionism and Protest 1930-40’) in Immanuel Ness (ed.)  (Encyclopaedia of Protest Popular Movements in World History, New York: Blackwell, 2008)


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