Participant Info

First Name
Christine
Last Name
Eisel
Affiliation
The University of Memphis
Website URL
http://www.memphis.edu/history/faculty/faculty/christine-eisel.php
Keywords
colonial America, colonial Virginia, early American policy history, gender and law, gossip
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

Photo
About Me

My current work examines women’s gossip in two of Virginia’s earliest counties, Accomack and York. Using county court records that date back to the 1630s, I have pieced together an investigation into women’s speech and the corresponding punishment, revealing not just women’s role in early Virginian society, but also the interaction between women and formal institutions. In considering women’s gossip and the attention it drew from local and colonial authorities, I have demonstrated that gossip challenged colonial law while supplementing the authority of the county courts.The reaction to gossips reveals how the expectations of masculine authority impacted community formation on a small scale, and in turn, how those communities informed colonial interests, giving us a more complete understanding of what it meant to be an English subject in the Chesapeake.

Recent Publications
  • “They make one very handsome Mirkin amongst them”: Gossip and Church Politics in Early York County, Virginia inĀ When Private Talk Goes Public: Gossip in United States, Jennifer Frost and Kathleen Feeley, eds. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).
Media Coverage
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
17th century
Expertise by Topic
Colonialism, Gender, Law, Politics