10 Women Historians You Must Follow on Twitter in 2021
Updated: May 3
The twittersphere is filled with wonderful people! It really promotes a cross-disciplinary approach to History and acts a space to come together and learn different angles across academia in a way that 'real life', away from the screen, does not give as many opportunities for - especially during the pandemic of course.
One of the issues though, in my experience as a History graduate, is the lack of visible women around you in senior positions! While studying for a master's in US History at the University of Oxford (2017), there was only one woman in the US History department (find her in the list below). She also happened to be the main person assigning texts about cultural and social history, including the history of minorities or history of women - I was disappointed by the lack of representation to say the least but things do seem to have gotten better now from what I can see.
It has becoming increasingly common to learn about key women in history, and that's important, but what about the women writing these histories? When the public thinks of historians, undoubtedly they think about David Starkey, Eric Foner, E. P. Thompson, E. H. Carr etc. One of the top Google results for 'UK historians', for example, is this piece, listing 10 male historians.
Recently, I have decided when I see a problem, I need to start fixing things myself. So, here I present to you, my top 10 favourite women historians that I suggest you follow on Twitter. During #WomensHistoryMonth no less! Don't forget, #WomenAlsoKnowHistory. Now, in no particular order... I present:
1. @ElizabHinton - Dr Elizabeth Hinton, Yale University
Elizabeth Hinton is personally one of my all-time favourite historians. I wrote my undergraduate dissertation on Lyndon Johnson's contribution to the War on Drugs and found her book, 'From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime' to be a seminal text in the area! I was excited to see on Twitter that in May 2021, she is releasing a new book titled 'America on Fire: The Untold History of Police Violence and Black Rebellion Since the 1960s'.
Today, Dr Hinton tweets about police brutality, protests, racism, sexism, and landmarks in US History. She also writes for a large range of outlets and these articles can be found on her feed as well - for example, she recently contributed to a time capsule for future researchers to shed light on the pandemic's impact in jails and prisons.
2. @KateMDavo - Dr Kate Davison, Max Planck Institute for Human Development
Kate Davison is an incredible historian focusing on the history of sexuality, psy-sciences, Cold War, and Europe/ Australia. She is currently the Gilbert Fellow at the University of Melbourne and recently published a fascinating article titled 'Cold War Pavlov: Homosexual Aversion Therapy in the 1960s'.
Dr Davison tweets a lot about gender, sexuality, and misogyny - my favourite topics! She also tweets on behalf of @LGBTQALMS - a conference in Berlin dedicated to 'Queering History' which included talks on Black Queer Arts as an archive, Centering and Recovering Lesbian Histories & Memories, and Queering Wikipedia (to name a small section of the conference).
3. @MaraKeire - Dr Mara Keire, University of Oxford
Ah yes, another woman I couldn't resist putting on this list! Dr Keire supervised some of my essays while at Oxford and has always inspired me to speak my mind. Always found writing, she is currently working on two books - 'Feminists on Sexual Violence from the second wave to MeToo' and 'Under The Boardwalk: Rape in New York, 1900-1930'. In 2019, she also wrote a gripping entry titled 'Women and Sexual Assault in the United States, 1900-1940' in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of America History.
On her Twitter, Dr Keire tweets about Feminism, Rape Culture, and the law. She also aims to hold major news outlets to account and for the past year has tweeted almost daily about the #DontLookAway movement, encouraging you to remember that the US government is separating families at the border and detaining refugee children while the media seemingly ignore the issue.
4. @KCarterJackson - Dr Kellie Carter Jackson, Wellesley College
Dr Carter Jackson's research focuses on slavery and the abolitionists, violence as a political discourse, historical film, and black women's history, primarily in the nineteenth century.
Dr Carter Jackson tweets about modern-day racism and links to brilliant articles she has authored, including one last year for The Atlantic about The Double Standard of the American Riot in response to heightened protests over the death of George Floyd. I'd also like to publicly extend a massive congratulations too as l noticed Wellesley awarded her tenure last week! You earned that.
5. @DMCGuire13 - Dr Danielle L. McGuire, Author
Dr Danielle McGuire wrote one of the best books I studied while reading for my master's - 'At The Dark End Of The Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance - A New History Of The Civil Rights Movement From Rosa Parks To The Rise Of Black Power' . Assigned as reading by Dr Keire, I even ended up writing my final exam question on this book! I found it insightful and always end up thinking about what I learned from it.
Dr McGuire is a historian of racial and sexual violence and is busy working on her next book, 'Murder in the Motor City: The 1967 Detroit Riot & American Violence'. On twitter, she often comments on current US political affairs, shares relevant historical archival material, and promotes important work conducted by others.
6. @OlivetteOtele - Dr Olivette Otele, Bath Spa University & VP of Royal Historical Society.
Olivette Otele should be an inspiration to all, dedicating her career to bringing other women up with her. In 2018, the BBC announced Professor Otele as one of their 100 Women of 2018. That same year (yes, 2018, I repeat, 2018!!), she became the first black woman history professor. Her main research interest lies in the cultural and collective memory and memorialisation of European colonisation in post-slavery societies.
Today, her tweets often link to her current focus on Bristol's connection to the Transatlantic slave trade. She also tweets about modern-day racism in the UK and, in particular, in popular media such as on Netflix's Bridgerton.
7. @LLammasniemi - Dr Laura Lammasniemi, University of Warwick Law
Dr Lammasniemi is an Assistant Professor of Law but typically looks at legal issues through a historical perspective. Her primary research interests lie in criminal law, gender, and class. Dr Lammasniemi's most recent project explores narratives of sexual consent in criminal courts from 1870 to 1950, looking at how sexual consent was understood and spoken of by different bodies involved in trial.
On Twitter, Dr Lammasniemi uses the platform to explore her research interests, support sex workers rights, and promote upcoming conferences. For example, she is currently calling for papers on a conference about Modern Histories of Consent, Intimacy and Law to be held online 17 and 18 June 2021 - get involved!
8. @ProfKPhillips - Dr Katie Phillips, Macalester College
An enrolled member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe Native Americans, Dr Phillips joined Macalester College as an Assistant Professor of American Indian History. Her research focuses on the role of American Indian historical pageants in the development of regional tourist economies in the 20th and 21st century. More broadly though, Dr Phillips explores the American West, Federal Indian Policy, and popular culture.
Dr Phillips is very active on Twitter and puts lots of hard work into making her account as informative and educational as possible. For #WomensHistoryMonth, she has posted every day with a profile of a different influential Native woman with a little story to summarise their achievement.
9. @AGordonReed - Dr Annette Gordon-Reed, University of Harvard
A total powerhouse in US History and Law, Dr Gordon-Reed is famous for her scholarship regarding Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. Throughout her career to date, she has won sixteen book prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize in History. Her main areas of interest lie in American Legal History, in particular with regards to slavery, and with criminal law and procedure more broadly.
Dr Gordon-Reed tweets about current affairs, legal issues (particularly the Supreme Court), fun History tidbits and personal anecdotes.
10. @GoingMedieval - Dr Eleanor Janega, LSE
Dr Janega is a medieval historian specialising in social history with an emphasis on sexuality, propaganda, the urban experience, and apocalyptic thought. She focuses a lot on the history of sex work as well as the conceptualisation of sex and its influence on society in the medieval and early modern period.
Happy to reclaim the title "dirty little leftist", Dr Janega's Twitter feed is filled with great content - from RTing advice on things to bring to a demo to making Medieval history exciting, she covers all bases.
Note from author: Please forgive me if I have incorrectly titled any of your positions! I find the whole UK vs US use of Professor very confusing and tried to seek advice but couldn't find a solution - let me know if you prefer to be known as something else/ earned a more senior title than I've given you credit for!