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Personal profile


Research interests

Early modern drama and performance; material culture; food history; history of intoxicants; history of the body; gender studies. I am the recipient of a techne doctoral studentship, funded by the AHRC.

My research investigates the emergent relationship between sugar, sweetness and the cultural construction of femininity in early modern England c.1590-1642. It is my contention that at the turn of the seventeenth century, sugar’s increasing ubiquity as a commodity began to link diverse performance networks across the social spectrum: the royal court, the humble household, and playhouse. The commodity played a role in court, civic, commercial, academic and household dramatic contexts. As sugar increasingly permeated textual, literary and material culture, its affective life underwent a protean shift in the early modern imaginary.

My research examines how women became implicated in processes of refinement, global exploitation, and sanitisation as feminine discourses of knowledge concerning sugar burgeoned. Sugar’s specious purity and performative capacity to deceive became culturally representative of the women who manipulated the commodity in three distinct ways: as culinary makers, attractive consumables, and voracious consumers. This project is interested in how early modern performance actively experimented with this tangled web of signification.

In 2022, I was a researcher for the BBC History Podcast 'You're Dead to Me', helping to produce shows on a range of topics, including the seventeenth century French opera singer Julie d'Aubigny, and Georgian love and courtship. I also completed a placement at The National Archives within the collection from High Court of Admiralty, working on various education, outreach and engagement projects.



Hidden London (BA)

Afterlives: Ancient Gods and Heroes in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (BA)

Writing for Young Readers (MA)



Twitter: @bethanmdavies1

Revels Office: a virtual network for early modern PhD students and ECRs, founded by Anouska Lester and Sierra Carter.


Education/Academic qualification

English Literature , BA (Hons), University of Bristol

Medieval and Renaissance Literature , MA, University of Cambridge

Postgradute Certificate in Education (PGCE), University of Cambridge, Faculty of Education