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“Our petticoats up above our knees”: Pedestrian Adventures in Nineteenth-Century Diaries

Recorded on 10 November 2022

Speaker: Trish Bredar (Northwestern University)

While studies of nineteenth-century mobility often center on new technologies and infrastructural developments, this paper seeks to expand and enliven our understanding of that oldest and most “pedestrian” mode of transport—walking. In particular, it explores how a greater attention to walking’s everyday-ness might alter our understanding of what it meant to move through the world as a woman in the nineteenth-century. Whereas the female pedestrian in this period has long been understood as an inherently constrained or transgressive figure, this paper offers an additional paradigm, drawing on a corpus of unpublished diaries to situate walking as an everyday adventure, an act that is powerful in its simultaneous ordinariness and its capacity to invite the unexpected.  

IHR Seminar SeriesTransport & Mobility History