Cindy Aalders, D.Phil., (Oxon) 

Dr Aalders recently completed her D.Phil. at the University of Oxford, where her doctoral thesis examined the spiritual lives of eighteenth-century English women through an analysis of their manuscript letters, diaries, and poetry. A monograph based on her thesis is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. As a research fellow in Manchester, Dr Aalders used Methodist manuscript collections at the John Rylands Library to explore the ideas, beliefs, and emotions of eighteenth-century Methodist children. Rather than using a top-down or ‘adultist’ perspective, in this new research project she gives priority to children’s own voices as they have been preserved in letters, diaries, and more ephemeral sources. Taking the child’s perspective allows for an exploration of children’s reception of adults’ efforts to educate and initiate them into religious communities, whilst also enabling a ‘trickle up’ consideration of the impact of children’s behaviour, words, and actions upon the world around them.

Recent Publications

Writing Religious Communities: The Spiritual Lives and Manuscript Cultures of English Women, 1740–90 (Oxford University Press, forthcoming, 2016).

‘“Your journal, my love”: Constructing personal and religious bonds in eighteenth-century women’s diaries’, Journal of Religious History (2015).

‘“A garden inclosed is my sister”? Eighteenth-century Baptist women’s self-understandings and literary culture’, in Douglas Weaver (ed.), Mirrors and Microscopes: Historical Perceptions of Baptists (Paternoster, 2015).

To Express the Ineffable: The Hymns and Spirituality of Anne Steele (Paternoster, 2008).