Join the VUW History Programme for an online legal history seminar by Alice Krzanich (University of Edinburgh).
When: 9am-10:30am (NZ time), Friday 30th April
Title: ‘Servants in Scotland: An Example of Feminist Legal History’
Abstract: Domestic servants were a ubiquitous presence in Scottish households in the early nineteenth century, cooking, cleaning, buying groceries and looking after children. It was a workforce dominated by working-class women, who worked for masters and mistresses in middle-class homes and in aristocratic residences. The law regulated this employment relationship, setting out the responsibilities each party owed to the other and when either party could walk away from the relationship. My research seeks to understand the influence of class and gender upon this body of law, in both its application and development, in the period 1790 to 1850. It looks at a combination of formal legal doctrine; litigation strategies used by employers and servants in court; and the facts of the case, as well as damage alleged, to take a broad view of gender and class dynamics. This research is consequently an example of feminist legal history, as it seeks to understand the historical relationship between the law and a group of female workers (domestic servants) by including women’s experiences and voices while also establishing female servants as agents of legal change.
About the speaker: Alice Krzanich is a third-year PhD student at Edinburgh Law School. She completed her undergraduate studies in law and history at the University of Auckland, NZ, and holds an LLM (First Class) from the University of Cambridge. Alice used to work in law in New Zealand, including as a junior barrister and as a judicial research clerk at the NZ Court of Appeal.