Clever Girls pp 145-163 | Cite as

“I stand with them” … United and Secure

  • Melanie ReynoldsEmail author


This chapter maps the author’s life from her move from the West Riding of Yorkshire to university in the south-east as a mature student, recounting how she navigated her class identity amongst a predominantly southern and middle-class student/academic body. University offered the chance to shape her own destiny—initially by attempting to edit her past by ‘erasing’ her working-class identity. Studying feminist-oriented histories of class and gender, however, revealed links between the past and her present which challenged any need to purge her working-class roots. Re-examining the lived experiences of nineteenth century working-class women uncovered not only the stories of victimhood, vulnerability and ignorance, but also ‘hidden histories’ of power, independence, control, capability and works-based ‘rights’—a ‘new narrative’ providing ‘foundational knowledge’ on which to build a more secure working-class academic identity in the present.


Northern accent Fitting in Women’s history Working-class activism Ann Ellis 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oxford Brookes UniversityOxfordUK

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