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A Serious Endeavour by Laura Schwartz


A Serious Endeavour: Gender, Education and Community at St Hugh’s 1886-2011

When St Hugh’s College was founded in 1886, it was born amid fierce debate about women’s emancipation and the very question of what it meant to be a woman. Higher education for women was still a new and hard-won achievement at that time, and despite modest beginnings (St Hugh’s began with just four students), the creation of the early women’s university colleges was of enormous symbolic importance in furthering the cause of female rights and education. For over a hundred years, until the first male students arrived in 1987, its identify was inextricably bound up with ideas about women, their behaviour and their role in society.

On one level, A Serious Endeavour is a concise and highly readable account of the eventful and sometimes turbulent history of St Hugh’s up to the present day. It is also much more than that. Wide-ranging and incisive, this powerful study examines how women’s wider has been continually redefined throughout the college’s lifetime, and what concepts of ‘male’ and ‘female’ can mean in an educational context, as well as squarely confronting issues of class in the developing relationship between the College and its servants. Combining new and original research with first-hand accounts and reminiscences, it not only tells a fascinating story, but also offers a fresh and sometimes disquieting perspective on the history of gender and education in twentieth-century Britain.

Dr Laura Schwartz was a Career Development Fellow in History at St Hugh’s College. Her research interests are gender and radicalism in modern Britain.


Additional information

Weight 415 kg
Dimensions 180 × 280 × 40 cm


934 in stock

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SKU: MBO001 Categories Books and stationery Tags A Serious Endeavour, Book, College, Dr Laura Schwartz, History, Oxford, St Hugh's, University