Participant Info

First Name
Carmen M.
Last Name
Birkbeck, University of London
Website URL
religion, gender, Britain, England, Ireland, Catholicism, women religious, Catholic sisters and nuns, Anglican sisterhoods, deaconesses, medical marketplace
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

CARMEN M. MANGION’s research broadly examines the cultural and social history of gender and religion in nineteenth and twentieth-century Britain and Ireland.  Her research has two strands, the first examines nineteenth-century medical care in Britain asking how religion and gender shaped medical provision.  Her second strand of research examines the changes in Catholic women’s religious life from 1945 to the 1980s identifying how individual and community lives were altered. This project is developed within a transnational framework, uses both archives and oral narratives and centres on events emanating from the long 1960s, particular the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).  She has written numerous articles on women and religion in nineteenth and twentieth- century Britain and Ireland.

Recent Publications

Monographs and edited volumes:

Contested Identities: Catholic women religious in nineteenth-century England and Wales (Manchester University Press, 2008)

Gender, Catholicism and Spirituality:  Women and the Roman Catholic Church in Britain and Europe, 1200-1900 (edited with Laurence Lux-Sterritt) (Palgrave, 2010)

Convents and the Outside World, volume 6 of a 6 volume edited collection of primary documents entitled English Convents in Exile, 1600-1800 (Pickering and Chatto, 2013)

Becoming modern: British Catholic women religious and social change, 1945-1990 (proposal submitted 2017)


Articles in refereed journals:

‘ “Good Teacher” or “Good Religious”?: The Professional Identity of Catholic Women Religious in nineteenth-century England and Wales’, Women’s History Review, 14:2 (2005), pp. 223-242.

‘Laying “Good Strong Foundations”: the power of the symbolic in the formation of a religious sister’, Women’s History Review, 16:3 (2007), pp. 403-15.

‘Faith, Philanthropy and the Aged Poor’, European Review of History 19:4 (2012), pp. 515-530.

‘ “To console, to nurse, to prepare for eternity”: The Catholic sickroom in late nineteenth-century England, Women’s History Review, 21:4 (2012), pp. 657-78.

‘ “The business of life”: Educating Catholic deaf children in late nineteenth-century England’, History of Education 42:1 (2012), pp. 575-94.

‘ “Why, would you have me live upon a gridiron?”: Pain, Identity, and Emotional Communities in Nineteenth-Century English Convent Culture’, 19. Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century 15 (2012), pp. 1-16.

‘Dickinson, Frances (1755-1830)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2014.

‘Housing the “decayed members of the middle classes’: social class and St Scholastica’s Retreat, 1861-1900’, Continuity and Change, 29:3 (2014), pp. 373-398.

‘Tolerable Intolerance’:  Religion, Sectarianism and Voluntary Hospitals in late-nineteenth-century England’ submitted to Medical History (October 2018)


In process

‘A New Internationalism: Endeavouring to “build from this diversity, unity”, 1940-1990’, Journal of Contemporary History (revise and resubmit 2018)


Edited journals

‘Female Religious across the North Sea: Monastic Interactions between the British Isles and the Low Countries’, Trajecta (2012) edited along with Jan De Maeyer and Kristien Suenens.


Chapters in peer-reviewed books:

‘ “Places of Memory”: Reflections on exploring religious archives’ in Reflections on Catholic Archives edited by Robin Gard (The Catholic Archives Society, 2002), pp. 50-7.

‘Medical Philanthropy and civic culture: Protestants and Catholics united by a “common Christianity”’ in Proceedings – The First Danish History of Nursing Conference edited by Susanne Malchau Dietz (Dansk Sygeplejehistorisk Museum, 2009), pp. 107-22.

‘Women, religious ministry and female institution building’ in Women, Gender and Religious Cultures in Britain, 1800-1940 edited by Sue Morgan and Jacqueline deVries (Routledge, 2010), pp. 72-93.

‘The “Mixed Life”: Balancing the Active with the Contemplative’ in Gender, Catholicism and Spirituality:  Women and the Roman Catholic Church in Britain and Europe, 1200-1900 edited by Carmen M. Mangion and Laurence Lux-Sterritt (Palgrave, 2010), pp. 165-79.

‘ “Give them practical lessons”: Catholic women religious and the transmission of nursing knowledge in late nineteenth-century England’ in The Transmission of Health Practices (c. 1500 to 2000) edited by Martin Dinges and Robert Jütte (Institute for the History of Medicine of the Robert Bosch Foundation, 2011), pp. 89-104.

‘Developing Alliances: Faith, Philanthropy and Fundraising in nineteenth-century England’ in The Economics of Providence: Management, Finances and Patrimony of Religious Orders and Congregations in Europe 1773 to ca. 1930  edited by Maarten Van Dijck, Jan de Maeyer, Jeffrey Tyssens and Jimmy Koppen (Leuven University Press, 2013), pp. 205-26.

‘Avoiding “rash and Imprudent measures”: English Nuns in Revolutionary Paris, 1789-1801’ in Communities, Culture and Identity: The English Convents in Exile, 1600-1800: Communities, Culture and Identity edited by Caroline Bowden and James E. Kelly (Ashgate, 2013), pp. 247-63.

‘ “Meeting a well-known want”: Catholic Specialist Hospitals for Long-Term Medical Care in Late Nineteenth-Century England and Wales’ in Hospitals and Communities, 1100-1960 edited by Christopher Bonfield,  Jonathan Reinarz and Teresa Huguet-Termes (Peter Lang, 2013), pp. 239-62.

‘No nurses like the deaconesses’?: Protestant deaconesses and the medical marketplace in late nineteenth-century England’ in Deaconesses in Nursing Care – International Transfer of a Female Model of Life and Work in the 19th and 20th Century edited by Susanne Kreutzer and Karen Nolte (Franz Steiner Verlag, 2016), pp. 161-84.

‘London’s Catholic almspeople’ in New Perspectives on Philanthropy: the British Almshouse 1400-1914 edited by Helen Caffrey, Nigel Goose and Anne Langley (FACHRS, 2016), pp. 347-64.

‘Filles de la charité et sourds-muets. Une histoire transnationale (1869-1901)’ in Des Filles de la Charité aux sœurs de Saint-Vincent-de-Paul: quatre siècles de «cornettes» (XVIIe-XXe s.) edited by Matthieu Brejon de Lavergnée (Honoré Champion, 2016), pp. 291-308.

‘Syon Abbey’s “Second Summer”, 1900-1950’ in Continuity and Change. Papers from the Birgitta Conference at Dartington 2015 edited by Elin Andersson, Claes Gejrot, Eddie Jones and Mia Åkestam (Kungl. Vitterhets historie och antikvitetsakademien, 2017), pp. 367-88.


‘ “Shades of difference”: Poor Clares in Britain’ in Male and Female Religious and Vatican II edited by Christian Sorrel (Leuven University Press, forthcoming 2018).



VAHS Blog: ‘Women, religion and medical care in Victorian Britain’ (9 April 2012) at

VAHS Blog: ‘habemus papam’ (19 March 2013) at

VAHS Blog: ‘Kaiserswerth Deaconesses’ (1 May 2013) at

HWO Blog: ‘Bad Habits? France’s ‘burkini ban’ in historical perspective’ (4 October 2016)

(also reposted on Birkbeck Comments Blog on 7 October 2016.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
England, Ireland
Expertise by Chronology
19th century, Modern, 20th century
Expertise by Topic
Gender, Religion, Women