Weil, Rachel : Small Grant, 2015-2016


Rachel Weil (History)

Arts & Sciences
Project Title: 
Custodial Detention in Early Modern England
Project Abstract: 
The grant will fund four weeks of research in the National Archives and several county record offices in the UK to be used in a book-length study of custodial detention in early modern England, 1600-1800. The book will address a range of questions addressed include: how did early modern English society handle the task of detaining people? How did men and women come to find themselves in prison? What was the experience of detention like? What was the relationship between prisoners and their keepers, and how did they negotiate for limited freedoms? How did money and status affect the experience of detention? How did news travel among prisoners, and between prisoners and the outside world? What was the role of non-confined family members in prisons and the lives of prisoners? What do practices of detention tell us about contemporary notions of freedom and unfreedom? How did places of detention figure in the great early modern political debates about rights, tyranny, abuse, freedom and legality? The summer research will enable the researcher to write a mature and persuasive application for an NEH, ACLS or other large research grant for writing a monograph on custodial detention in Early Modern England (c. 1600-1800). In the shorter term, the results of the summer research are being made available to a wider audience in the form of short essays and document transcriptions through a WordPress website, https://earlymodernprisons.org/.