Dr Ruth Percy

BA (Sussex), PhD (Toronto)

Teaching and Research

College Lecturer in Modern British and American History

Trained as a social historian, Ruth has become increasingly interested in the ways in which ideas and discursive structures develop and inform social relations. In particular she is interested in how experiences of class and gender inform and are informed by discourses of class and gender. In her book project, ‘I am not a feminist’: Equality, Rights, and Working Women’s Culture in London and Chicago, 1870s-1920s, she examines these dynamics in the context of the women’s labour movement in late nineteenth and early twentieth century London and Chicago, using archived oral histories alongside more conventional written sources. She is currently working on a study of working class women’s experiences of London in the First World War, a study which highlights the importance of leisure and consumerism in young women’s lives.


‘Memory and language: Re-evaluating women’s activism through archived voices’. In Beyond Women’s Words: The Personal, Political, and Ethical Challenges of Doing Feminist Oral History, eds. Katrina Srigley, Stacey Zembrzycki, and Franca Iacovetta. Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

 ‘Picket lines and parades: Garment workers and urban space in early twentieth century London and Chicago’. Urban History, 41.3 August 2014: 456-477.

 ‘Death at the machine: Critiquing industrial capitalism in the fiction of labour activist Lizzie M. Holmes’. Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas, Fall 2009: 65-88.

 ‘Introduction to Labouring Feminism Thematic Cluster’. Atlantis, 32.1 November 2007: 3-4.

‘Garment’. Encyclopedia of U.S. Labor and Working Class History. New York: Routledge, 2006. 496-500.

 ‘Working Women in the Early Twentieth Century’. Encyclopedia of American Social Movements. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2004.

Ruth Percy