Who are we?

The Steering Committee is made up of those who have a background in medieval to modern history and from the areas of interest in the network. The Steering Committee are:

Executive Branch

Professor Deirdre Raftery is the current President of the H-WRBI. She is a historian of education, and an elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Recent monographs include Irish Nuns and Global Education: a Transnational History 1830-1930 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023), and Teresa Ball and Loreto Education: Convents and the Colonial World, 1794-1875 (Four Courts Press, 2022). Edited books include New Turns in the History of Education in Ireland: From Policy to Practice, from Theory to Lived Reality (Routledge, 2023), and (jointly) Transnationalism, Gender and the History of Education (Routledge, 2017), Education, Identity and Women religious, 1800–1950 (Routledge, 2016); History of Education: Themes and Perspectives (Routledge, 2013). She is PI of UCD ConventCollections, a digital super-collection created in collaboration with UCD Digital Archives, to bring about the digitisation of archival collections belonging to women religious (nuns).

Bronagh Ann McShane, Secretary, is a historian specialising in the history of women, religion and gender. She completed her PhD (Irish Research Council-funded) at Maynooth University and previously held a National University of Ireland Research Fellow at the University of Galway. She is author of Irish Women in Religious Orders, 1530-1700: Suppression, Migration and Reintegration (Woodbridge, 2022) and has published articles in leading peer-reviewed journals such as British Catholic History, Irish Historical Studies, Archivium Hibernicum and the Journal of Historical Network Research. She is co-editor of ‘A New Agenda for Women’s and Gender History in Ireland’, Irish Historical Studies Special Issue (Nov. 2022); Brides of Christ: Women and Monasticism in Medieval and Early Modern Ireland (forthcoming in 2023) and contributor to the forthcoming Oxford History of British and Irish Catholicism (expected 2024).

Liam Temple, Finance Officer, is a historian of early modern religion with interests in mysticism, monasticism, religious radicalism, medical humanities and the history of women religious. He has lectured at several north-east universities including Durham, Northumbria and Sunderland. His first book, Mysticism in Early Modern England, was published with Boydell and Brewer in mid-2019. He has published widely in journals including Church HistoryReformation and Renaissance ReviewBritish Catholic History and Women’s Writing. Twitter: @liampetertemple Website: http://www.theosophicaltransactions.com

Kristof Smeyers, Communications Officer. I am a historian of modern religion, folklore, science and the supernatural. Recent published work in journals such as British Catholic History, Women’s History Review, Journal of Victorian Culture and the Revue d’Histoire Ecclésiastique has focused on transnational pilgrimage cultures, the role of the supernatural in nineteenth-century debates on science and religion, gendered roles of clergy and prophets, and the afterlives of religious bodies. For the Contested Bodies project, I examine post-mortuary cultures of extraordinary Catholic bodies in Britain, Ireland and Belgium. I’m editor-at-large of The Dutch Review of Books where I contribute essays on history, economy, and (memory) politics. My book Supernatural Bodies: Stigmata in Britain and Ireland, c.1840-1940 is under contract with Manchester University Press. Twitter: @kristof_smeyers

Sara Charles, Conference Officer, is an editor at the Institute of Historical Research, working for the journal Historical Research and the online resource the Bibliography of British and Irish History. She is interested in Anglo-Saxon abbesses, female literacy in the post-Conquest period, and the development of martyrologies, particularly the inclusion female saints. She has completed an MRes in the History of the Book at the Institute of English Studies, where she researched the martyrology produced for a thirteenth-century female priory, and is now expanding this research at doctoral level. She also previously studied Library and Information Studies at UCL, and is a member of the Bibliographical Society. Publications include ‘The Literacy of English Nuns in the Early Thirteenth Century: Evidence from London, British Library, Cotton MS Claudius D. III’, Journal of Medieval Monastic Studies, 6 (2017), 77–107 and a review of The Nuns of Sant’ Ambrogio: the True Story of a Convent in Scandal, Reviews in History (review no. 1880), doi:10.14296/RiH/2014/1880. Follow Sara on Twitter: @sarajcharles

Other Steering Committee members

Kimm Curran (medieval, identity, landscapes, place making) has wide ranging research interests including  monastic and religious life from 1100 to 1600, identity of medieval women religious, and the development (and survival) of monasteries in medieval and modern landscapes. Her current work encompasses the modern presence of medieval monasteries in localities, gendered landscapes of medieval women religious, theoretical and experiential approaches to place, landscapes and the natural environment.  Her current research project, Enable Heritage, focuses on disability studies and heritage. She is also the creator of the hashtag #nuntastic and #nunscapes on Twitter. You can find more about Kimm here or follow on Twitter @kimmcurran 

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Catriona Delaney (modern Ireland, education & education policy) is a graduate of the University of Limerick, where she completed her PhD at the Department of History. She is currently the Nano Nagle Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Education, University College Dublin. Research interests include the history of women religious, the history of Irish education, and education policy. In 2018, she published her first (co-authored) book, Nano Nagle: the life and the legacy. Catriona has also written for scholarly journals including History of Education and Irish Studies Review. At present, she is researching the development and evolution of physical education in Irish convent schools at the turn of the twentieth century. Twitter: @CatrionaMDelane

Flora Derounian is a Lecturer in Modern Languages at the University of Sussex. Her research looks at women’s work in post-war Europe, with a particular interest in the work of women religious. She performs oral history interviews and studies visual and archival sources. Derounian teaches modules on Women’s History, Gender Studies, European History in the post-World War Two period, Visual Culture, and Gender and Language.

We have a number of volunteers who support H-WRBI and keep it up and running. If you would like to help in any of the areas below contact us.

  • Book Reviews Editors: Yvonne Seale, Liz Goodwin & Flora Derounian
  • Bibliography Editors
    • Medieval: Sara Charles
    • Early Modern: Bronagh McShane
    • Modern: Kristof Smeyers
    • Outside Britain & Ireland (Modern): Anselm Nye
  • Web Editor: Kimm Curran, Kristof Smeyers (from 1 April 2019)
  • Social Media: Catriona Delaney (Listserv and Twitter) & Melanie Carroll (Facebook)

One thought on “Who are we?

  1. Wonderful growth and development at H-WRBI. Well done and may it continue.

    I would be happy to do an occasional review Modern or Early Modern perhaps.

    Continue the excellent work.

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