Humanities lecture series announces final spring event

Tennessee author and English professor Nancy Henry will be the final guest Wednesday, April 10 for Mississippi State's Institute for the Humanities' Distinguished Lecture Series.

Free and open to all, her 4 p.m. presentation, titled "Women and the Victorian Culture of Investment," takes place in McCool Hall's Rogers Auditorium.

A University of Tennessee faculty member since 2008, Henry is an authority on Victorian literature and culture.

"Her work focuses on Victorian literature and culture, with an emphasis on 19th-century finance, imperialism and colonialism," said Shalyn Claggett, associate professor of English at MSU who also specializes in Victorian literature.

Henry's discussion will focus on how 19th-century women used monetary investments to become more independent, as well as the ways that society reacted to them. She said this topic is particularly relevant to modern women in the 21st-century global society.

Not only did famous Victorian novelists, including Charlotte Bronte and Mary Ann Evans, better known by her pseudonym George Eliot, invest the money they earned from their successful novels into railway shares in England and India, single women could vote in shareholder meetings even though they could not vote in political elections, Henry said.

"So women have been investing for a long time, and yet even today women are not as knowledgeable about managing their money as men," she said. "By studying the past, we can see that the subject of women's financial independence has an interesting history, and that the history continues today."

A University of Chicago doctoral graduate, Henry is the author of "The Life of George Eliot" (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), "Victorian Investments: New Perspectives on Finance and Culture" (Indiana University Press, 2008) and "George Eliot and the British Empire" (Cambridge University Press, 2002). She also has edited scholarly editions of works by George Eliot and Elizabeth Gaskell.

The Institute for the Humanities is part of MSU's College of Arts and Sciences. In addition to the college, the lecture series is made possible by support from the Office of Research and Economic Development and the Apgar Foundation, based in Indianapolis, Ind.

For more information about the event, contact Claggett at 662-312-8688 or William Hay, associate professor of history, at 662-494-2289.

Leah Barbour | University Relations

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