I am currently working on a longer-term large-scale environmental and cultural history project focused on farming, gender and food production in the Modern period, for example, the industrialisation of poultry keeping, its standardisation and consumption. I have had articles published on this and others articles are in process; I have been invited to speak at research seminars and conferences at other institutions on the topic of ‘Animal Machines’ as part of this work and contributed to staff seminars at Leeds Trinity on this area. This has emerged from earlier work on concepts of rurality and ‘Nature’ as they relate to gender & class.
My research also includes critical pedagogic work on issues of ‘race’ and diversity within history. I have also participated in scholarly activity relating to this (see ‘Contribution of research and scholarship to learning’ below).
Country Cottages: a Cultural History (Manchester University Press, Manchester, 2000)
Women of the Fields: Representations of Femininity in Nineteenth Century Rural Society (Manchester University Press, Manchester, 1995)
Victorian Space(s) (Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies, 2006) – sole editor
Victorian Gothic (Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies, 2003) with Rosemary Mitchell
Science Fiction: Critical Frontiers (Macmillan, London, 2000) with John Moore
Two York Notes: Tess of the Durbervilles (1998, revised 2005) and Jane Eyre (1998, revised 2003)
Refereed Journal Articles:
‘Battery Birds, 'Stimulighting' and 'Twilighting': the ecology of standardised poultry technology’, History of Technology – Special Issue on Standardisation – edited, awaiting proofing, forthcoming 2008/09
‘‘Let Nature be your Teacher’: W. B. Tegetmeier’s Distinctive Ornithological Studies’, Victorian Literature & Culture, (2007), 35, pp. 589-605
‘”A Sufficiency of Clothing”: Dress and Domesticity in Victorian Britain’ in Textile History Vol. 33, No. 1 May 2002.
‘A Cottage in the Country’, Imprimatur; a Journal of Criticism and Theory, Vol. II, Nos. 1/2, 1996.
‘Slaves and Infanticide in the Heart of Darkest England: Representations of Children in the Victorian Countryside’, Imprimatur; a Journal of Criticism and Theory Vol. I, No.1, 1995.
‘”Field Faring Women”: The resistance of women who worked in the fields of nineteenth century England’, Women's History Review, Vol. 2, No. 2, 1993.
‘Utterly Shameless Women, Representations of women who worked in nineteenth century agriculture’ Bulletin of the Society for the Study of Labour History Vol. 55, May 1990.
The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Love, Courtship, and Sexuality through History [Six Volumes], 2007, Greenwood Press.
Encyclopedia of Play in Today's Society: A Social History by Rodney P.Carlisle (Editor) Sage Publicatios, Inc (10 Jun 2009). Entries on:'Tree Houses', 'Folk Dancing', 'Play as Mastery of Nature','Girls' Play'
A ‘Rural women and girls’ entry for Greenwood Encyclopaedia of Love, Sex, and Culture: The Nineteenth Century & the Victorian Age – in press
‘The life of a Country Cottage’ in Jo Croft & G. Smyth (eds.) Our House: The Representation of Domestic Space in Modern Culture (Rodopi, 2006)
‘The Labourer’s Welcome: Border Crossings in the English Country Garden’ in (ed) Bonj Szczygiel et al Gender and Landscape (Routledge, 2005)
‘Paradoxical places: imagining the urban and the rural in Victorian Britain’ in W. Findlay (ed.) Paradoxe(s) Victorien(s)/Victorian Paradox(es), (Presses Universitaires Francois-Rabelais, Tours, France, 2005)
‘Modern Women’s History: A Historiography’, T. Curtis (ed.) Proceedings of History Week, (Veritas Press, Zabbar, Malta, 2004)
‘The Witches’, in A. M. Butler, E. James, F. Mendlesohn (eds) Terry Pratchett: Guilty of Literature (Science Fiction Foundation, Reading, 2000; second edition, Old Earth Books, 2004)
‘”This was our world and they made it their’s”: Reading Space and Place in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel’, in R. Kaveney Reading the Slayer (I.B. Taurus, 2001; revised 2004)
‘The Cottage Homes of England: Victorian Beau Ideal’ in Silvia Caporale Bizzini (ed.) We, the “Other Victorians”: Considering the Heritage of 19th-Century Thought (Publicaciones De La Universidad De Alicante, San Vincente, Spain, 2003).
‘Lucy M Boston’s The River at Greene Knowe (1959) or How to “Dip Happily” Between Reality and Fantasy’ Imperium, Vol. III, Spring 2002, accessible at http://www.imperiumjournal.com/0pages/30005.html
‘“Every Station has its Phantoms”: Uncanny Effects and Hybrid Spaces’, in Edward James and Farah Medlesohn (eds) The Parliament of reams, conferring on Babylon 5 (Science Fiction Foundation, Reading, 1998)
‘”Something Vaguely heretical”: Communicating Across Difference in the Country’, with Gail Fisher, in P. Mahoney & C. Zmroczek (eds) Class Matters; ‘Working-Class’ Women’s Perspectives on Social Class (Taylor and Francis, London, 1997).
‘Feminism and History’, Modern History Review, 6 (2), November, 1994.
Review of A. Roger Ekirch, At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past (W. W. Norton & Company, New York & London, 2005) for Social History – forthcoming 2008/09
Review of Kristine Huneault Difficult Subjects: Working Women and Visual Culture, Britain 1880-1914 (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2002) for Women’s History Review – submitted
Review of Nicola Verdon Rural Women Workers in 19th-Century England: Gender, Work and Wages (Boydell 2002) for Journal of Agrarian Change, 2004, Vol. 4, No. 3
Review of Virginia J. Scharff (ed.) Seeing Nature Through Gender (University Press of Kansas, Kansas, USA, 2003) for History: Reviews of New Books Spring 2004, Vol. 32, No. 3
Review of Mark Freeman Social Investigation and Rural England 1870-1914 (Boydell, 2003) for American Historical Review December 2003, Vol. 108; Part 5
Review of Nicola Verdon Rural Women Workers in 19th-Century England: Gender, Work and Wages (Boydell 2002) for Reviews in History http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/paper/sayerK.html 2003, (last accessed 24th March 2004).
Review of Jane Long Conversations in Cold Rooms: women, work, and poverty in nineteenth-century Northumberland (Boydell, 1999) for the American Historical Review February 2001.
Conference and seminar papers:
· November 2003 – ‘Modern Women’s History: A Historiography’, for Malta Historical Association, Valletta, Malta.
· June 2003 – ‘“Strolling Through Cottage England”: women, home and landscape in C19th Rural England’, for Women and Country: Rural Life, Landscape, and Nation conference, University of Exeter.
· September 2002 –‘Paradoxical places: imagining the urban and the rural in Victorian Britain’, for Victorian Paradoxes conference, Tours, France.
· February 2001 – ‘Using Concepts of Place to Explore the Narrative Possibilities of Specific Texts and Genres’, for Fictional Architecture: the Space and Place of Narrative conference, Liverpool John Moores.
· March 1996 – ‘Current Issues in Women's History’, for Women's History Network Eastern Region, Nene.
. Karen Sayer 'Battery birds, 'stimulighting' and 'twilighting': the ecology of standardized poultry technology'
in History of Technology Volume 28 Special Issue: By whose standards? Standardization, stability and uniformity in the history of information and electrical technologies - 31 May 2009
· September 2008 – 'Battery Birds: The Animal in the Machine' for workshop on The Health and Welfare of the Manufactured Animal, Centre for the History of Science Technology and Medicine, University of Manchester
· June 2008 – ‘Stimulighting and twilighting battery birds: reassessing the animal as machine in the twentieth century’, Centre for History of Science, Technology & Medicine seminar, University of Manchester
· September 2006 – ‘Battery Birds, 'Stimulighting' and 'Twilighting': the ecology of standardised poultry technology’, Electrifying Cultures Conference, University of Leeds
· June 2006 – ‘‘”His Footmarks on Her Shoulders”: women, eggs and commodity culture’, Food History Conference, University Central Lancashire, Preston
· September 2005 – ‘His Footmarks on Her Shoulders’: women, eggs and commodity culture’, Women’s History Network Annual Conference, Southampton Institute
· June 2005 – ‘Rural Women and Frontier Farming: C19th American Women at Work’, for Visible Women colloquium, Kings College, London
· March 2004 – ‘Starry, Starry Night: Explorations in the History of Light’, for Social and Economic Research Seminar, University of Leeds.
· February 2003 – ‘A Fine Lady Farmer: Victorian Farm Women, Perceptions and Perspectives’, for Seventh Conference on Rural and Farm Women in Historical Perspective, with Association for Living Historical Farms and Agricultural Museums, New Mexico, USA.
· July 2002 – ‘The Pigsty & The Cottage: Thresholds of dirt & disease in the C19th rural community’, for Infection and Contamination conference, Edge Hill College.
· May 2002 – ‘The Door on the Latch: accessing the rural home’ for Investigating the Home, Charles Booth Centre for the Study of Social Investigation study day, Open University, Milton Keynes.
· December 2001 – ‘”Good Servants, good wives and happy homes”’: The Rev. T. H. Walker and idealised domesticity’, for Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies.
· September 2001 – ‘“Penetrating and Witnessing”: William Howitt’s strolls through the rural life of England’, for One Man in His Field conference on the farmer, British Association of Agricultural History, University of Reading, Rural History Centre.
· June 2001 – ‘The Sykaos Papers: History, Politics and Imagination’, for Science Fiction Foundation conference, University of Liverpool
· November 2000 – ‘The Cottage Homes of England’, for Historical Association, University of Reading.
· September 2000 – ‘Revisiting Nature/Culture: the Structuring and Re-structuring of Rural Spaces in the Nineteenth Century’, for Victorian Cultures, inaugural conference of the British Association, Victorian Studies, University of Hertfordshire.
· November 1999 –‘‘A Sufficiency of Clothing’: Dress and Domesticity in Victorian Britain’, for The Dress of the Poor conference, Oxford Brookes University.
· May 1999 – ‘The Labourer’s Welcome: Border Crossings in the English Country Garden’, for Gendered Landscapes international conference, University of Philadelphia, USA.
· October 1998 – ‘The Door on the Latch: the Charm of the English Country Cottage’, for Cottage Study Day, University of Nottingham
· September 1998 – ‘The Labourer’s Welcome: Border Crossings in the English Country Garden’, for Borders and Frontiers, Women’s History Network Annual Conference, Glasgow.
· July 1998 – ‘Jurassic Park: popular culture and environmentalism’, with Pat Brereton, for Culture and Environmentalism, Bath Spa.
· December 1997 – ‘Babylon 5, an Ideal Home?’, for Babylon Five Academic Conference, Rippon & York St John
· November 1997 – ‘”Some piece of antiquity”; Representations of the Rural Labouring Woman, Home and Family at the End of the Nineteenth Century’, for Victorian Labourers Colloquium, Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies.
· April 1996 – ‘A Cottage in The Country: an Ideal Home?’, for Reading the Nineteenth Century Domestic Space, Winchester.
· April 1996 – ‘In Parenthesis: disciplines at the margins in Virginia Wolf’, with Ruth Robbins, for Literature and History, History and Literature conference, Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education.
· July 1995 – ‘A Cottage in The Country’, for Applied Derrida conference, University of Luton.
· December 1994 – ‘The Forgotten Labourers: Women in the Fields in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, the UK experience’, with Jennifer Francis, for the Fifth Conference on Rural and Farm Women in Historical Perspective, international conference, Washington, USA.
· November 1994 – ‘The Discourse of Women’s History in the Context of Women’s Studies vs. Gender Studies’, for History Workshop 28, University of Brighton.
· July 1994 – ‘Slaves and Infanticide in the Heart of Darkest England: Representations of Children in the Victorian Countryside’, for Victorian Literature/Contemporary Theory conference, University of Luton.
· March 1993 – ‘Not a “China Doll”: Arthur Munby and Representations of Women in C19th Agriculture’, for Women’s History Network Eastern Region Conference, Bedford College of Higher Education.
· December 1992 – ‘When is a Demon not a Demon? Field-Faring Women and the Langham Place Feminists’, for Mary Wollstonecraft, 200 Years of Feminism conference, University of Sussex.
· September 1992 – ‘Current Issues in Women's History’, for Women’s History Network, Annual Conference, University of Nottingham.
· January 1990 – ‘”Utterly Shameless Women”: Representations of Women in Nineteenth Century Agriculture’, for the Victorian and Edwardian seminar, the Institute of Historical Research, London.
· November 1989 – ‘”Utterly Shameless Women”: Representations of Women in Nineteenth Century Agriculture’, for Conference of the Society for the Study of Labour History, University of Sheffield.
· November 1989 – ‘”Utterly Shameless Women”: Representations of Women in Nineteenth Century Agriculture’, for Work in Progress seminar, University of Sussex.