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Katie Barclay

Katie Barclay

The Neil Sutherland Article Prize


Katie Barclay. “Love, Care and the Illegitimate Child in Eighteenth-Century Scotland,” Transactions of the RHS 29 (2019), pp. 105-125.

With sophisticated style, Barclay illustrates how legitimacy – alongside gender, class, and parentage – shaped children’s experiences of love and care in eighteenth-century Scotland. The committee was particularly impressed with the distinction Barclay makes between caring for and caring about children, reframing our understanding of children’s material and affective circumstances. Her careful analysis of court and church session documents and personal letters between the relatives of illegitimate children reveals the kinds of “dispersed” parenting illegitimate children received. “Love,” she argues convincingly, “was a social product, framed and shaped by and through the social, economic and legal networks in which the child was positioned.”  Barclay’s article is beautifully written and engages with the literature of mothering, emotions, and the law, while presenting a new lens through which to consider affection and family ties.

Honourable Mention

Erin Millions. “Portraits and Gravestones: Documenting the Transnational Lives of Nineteenth-Century British-Métis Students,” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association 29:1 (2018): 1-38.

The experiences of young people travelling between their homes in Hudson Bay Company territories to Canadian colonies and Britain for their education are the subject of Millions’ fascinating study. Millions analyses her sources perceptively, connecting the portraits and gravestones of British-Métis youths to archival records to illuminate an overlooked area of fur trade history: the transnational mobility, kin ties and multicultural identities of English-speaking, Protestant children of fur-trading families. Her rich discussion of the sources raises important methodological questions about children’s visibility in the archival record, and her analysis reveals the privileges and risks conferred on British-Métis youth by their educational experiences far from home. Millions’ highly readable piece sheds light on colonial educational practices that pre-date industrial and residential schools in the west.