I am a social and cultural historian of Britain in the long 18th century with a focus on gender, sex, crime, deviance, medicine, and the body in Wales and England. I joined the University of Leicester in 2018 after completing my PhD at the University of Exeter followed by a one-year lectureship and fellowship (IHR/EHS Power Postdoctoral Fellowship) at Cardiff University. My doctoral research was funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Born and raised in Canada I completed my BA (hons) in History at Simon Fraser University. In 2010 I ‘temporarily’ moved to Wales to pursue my MA at Swansea University, after which I decided to pursue an academic career in the UK. I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, co-editor of the series Explorations in Regional and Local History, and the current Director of the Centre for English Local History.
I came relatively late to academia after pursuing a successful career in arts events management and an unsuccessful career in acting. In addition to academia, I am a passable indie musician, and mother to an ever-varying number FIV+ rescue cats.
My doctoral and postdoctoral research focused on the experience and broader social, cultural, and medical context of illegitimacy and childbirth outside of wedlock in 18th-century Wales, including infant and maternal mortality and the provision of care to unmarried mothers. I have published on topics such as illegitimacy, midwifery, and mortality in Wales. More recently I have researched and published on sex work in 18th-century Wales, and interpersonal violence in England and Wales c. 1600-1900.
My book Deviant Maternity: Illegitimacy in Wales c. 1680-1800 was awarded the 2020 Francis Jones Prize for Welsh History and runner up ('highly recommended') in the Women's History Network book prize.
My current research focuses on reading depositional evidence from the Court of Great Sessions (the highest criminal court in Wales prior to 1830) 'against the grain'. Although excellent sources of evidence of crime, the detailed nature of these records makes them an ideal source of evidence about the lives and experiences of ‘ordinary’ men and women in Wales in the past. In 2021 I was awarded a BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant for a project that examines diversity identity and social change in south Wales between 1730 and 1830 using evidence from the Great Sessions.
Sex Work and Economies of Makeshift in Eighteenth-Century Wales in B. Jenkins, P. O'Leary and S. Ward (eds), Gender in Modern Welsh History (University of Wales Press, forthcoming)
Deviant Maternity: Illegitimacy in Wales c. 1680-1800 (Routledge, 2020) (Awarded 2021 Francis Jones Prize in Welsh History)
‘Courtship, Sex and Poverty: Illegitimacy in Eighteenth-Century Wales’, Social History, 43 (2018), 56-80
‘Midwifery and Maternity Care for Single Mothers in Eighteenth-Century Wales’, Social History of Medicine, 33 (2018), pp. 394-416
‘Death and the Parish: Mortality in Eighteenth-Century Wales’, Postgraduate Journal of Medical Humanities, 4 (2017), 101-133
‘Illegitimacy in Eighteenth-Century Wales’, Welsh History Review, 26 (2013), 351-388
I am happy to discuss research proposals on any subject related to my areas of research expertise and interests. I am especially happy to consider topics in the following areas:
- Gender and sexuality in early modern, 18th and 19th century Britain
- Crime and deviance
- Medicine midwifery and the body
- Diversity and identity
- Women’s history
- LGBTQ+ histories
- Family and community histories (including those that fall under the ‘traditional’ banner of local history and those often left on the margins, such as Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic, Queer, and Disabled communities and local histories in Britain)
I teach a broad range of topics related to the social and cultural history and historiography of Britain across BA and MA programmes.
HS3808: Gender Crime and Deviance in 18th Century England and Wales
HS2500: Becoming the Historical Researcher
HS2400/01: Perceiving the Past
HS2360: History in the Classroom
HS1100: People and Places
HS1013: Great Britain: The State We’re In
HS1002: The Shock of the Modern
HS1000: Making History
HS7136: Families and Communities and England and Wales c. 1600-1900
HS7101: Historical Research Historical Writing
I have previously been nominated for ‘Best Lecturer’ and ‘Most Inclusive Practice’ awards by Leicester SU
Press and media
I will consider media queries directly related to my research expertise
Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy UK
Co-Editor 'Explorations in Regional and Local History' (University of Hertfordshire Press)
I welcome opportunities to talk to specialist and non-specialist audiences about any area of my research and I am happy to give talks to local history groups libraries museums schools and other community groups. Recently I have given talks at the National Library of Wales and the London Branch of the Welsh Family History Societies.
Very occasionally I update my personal academic blog (deviantmaternity.wordpress.com)
I tweet at @DrAngelaMuir
2021 Francis Jones Prize in Welsh History for best book in Welsh History
2021 Women’s History Network first book prize (‘highly recommended’)
2021 Nominated for ‘Best Lecturer’ and ‘Most Inclusive Practice’ awards by Leicester SU
2017 William Bynum Essay Prize Medical History (runner up)
2012 Blodwen Jerman Prize Cambrian Archaeological Association
2011 Hugh Thomas Memorial Prize in the History of Wales Swansea University
2020 'Lives in Crime: Exploring Welsh Social History through the Court of Great Sessions’ National Library of Wales
2020 ‘Sex Work Economies of Makeshifts and Sexual Violence in Wales c. 1750-1830’ Swansea University
2020 ‘Sex work stigma and sexual violence in eighteenth-century Wales’ British Society for Eighteenth Century Studies Conference University of Oxford
2019 ‘Romantic Pursuits? Courtship and coercion in eighteenth-century Wales’ Local Population Studies Society University of Oxford
2019 ‘Unmarried Paupers Childbirth and the Parish in Eighteenth-Century Wales’ University of Exeter
2018 Not just poor thwarted lovers: reassessing the relationships and identities of single parents in Wales c. 1700-1800 University of Leicester
2018 ‘Single Pregnant and Murdered: Narratives of Intimate Partner Homicide in Eighteenth-Century Wales’ ESSHC Queen’s University Belfast
2017 ‘Courtship Sex and Poverty: Illegitimacy in Eighteenth-Century Wales’ Cardiff University
2017 ‘Midwives and Matrons: Childbirth in Early Modern Wales’ University of Exeter