Women and Alcohol

Co-ordinators: Dorota Dias-Lewandowska; Pam Lock

The ‘Women and Alcohol‘ cluster has been formed to bring together the wide range of existing interests and expertise of DSN members on this topic. We are keen to stimulate, facilitate and develop conversations about the particular, gendered difference in representations of the relationship between women and alcohol, whether that be the drinking or abstinence of women, the cultural expectations that frame women as preservers of sobriety or moderation, changing notions of female expertise in the creation and connoirseurship of alcoholic drinks, or cultural differences between expectations of men and women in terms of drinking and drunkenness. We are aware that there is already some extremely interesting and diverse research going on and we would like to take this opportunity to bring together researchers with these shared interests to see whether there are any interesting synergies between these varied research areas. With this in mind, this cluster is intended to be interdisciplinary, spanning a broad chronology. We are also particularly keen to bring together research from a range of countries to better understand the cultural and national differences between these representations and to identify similarities and synergies. 

Research in this cluster is likely to focus on: 

  • Gender and particularly women‘s studies
  • Concepts of identity
  • Social and cultural norms
  • Challenges to stereotypes and gendered assumptions, and acts of rebellion
  • Excess, moderation and abstinence (eg. why is a drunken woman so differently perceived to a drunken man)
  • The real, lived experience of women; the practicalities of drinking and drunkenness as a woman 
  • Publications and broadcasts about women and by women associated with drink
  • The cultural responsibility placed on women regarding propriety, morality, and tradition as seen through expectations about their relationship to and with alcohol.

Bios of coordinators:

Dorota Dias-Lewandowska – historian, anthropologist, post doc at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology Polish Academy of Science in Warsaw. Her research interest evolved from early modern history of alcohol (project: ‘Cultural history of French wine in Poland’) and culinary recipes (project: ‘Old Polish culinary recipes. Compilation and edition of dispersed source material’) to drinking cultures and discourses concerning sobriety and drunkenness (project: ‘The culture of drinking in Poland in the second half of the 18th century. Alcohol, consumption patterns and images of drinking’).

Pam Lock – literary scholar based at the University of Bristol, UK. Her research interests are in alcohol in Victorian literature and culture. She recently completed her doctoral thesis on ‘The Habitual Drunkard in Victorian Literature and Culture’ which included signficant focus on the fictionalisation of female drunkenness and the figure of the female drunkard. 

If you are interested in joining the cluster and being added to our mailing list please contact Pam Lock (pam.lock@bristol.ac.uk). 

s3_V0019000_V0019066Wellcome Library no. 130i

Cover image: Wellcome Library no. 11889i