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Jennifer Hall-Witt received her B.A. in history from Northwestern University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in history from Yale University. Previously, she has taught at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and at Denison University in history and women's studies. She specializes in the cultural history of 18th and 19th century Britain, with a particular interest in gender history, the history of the arts, and political culture.
Her book, Fashionable Acts: Opera and Elite Culture in London, 1780-1880, was published by the University Press of New England in July 2007. This study approaches the opera as a social (and gendered) space, using it to develop new perspectives on the decline of the British aristocracy by exploring changes in the elite's cultural practices and modes of public display from the 1780s to the 1880s. More recently, she has completed an essay on the formation of an operatic canon at the Italian Opera in London in the nineteenth century.
Her teaching interests focus especially on women's history. In addition to classes on Gender and the British Empire and the history of European women from 1789-1917, she has also offered courses organized around the rich materials in the Smith College archives. These include a course on women and higher education that uses the archives to explore the first three generations of Smith students and a senior research seminar on women and WWI that uses the papers of the Smith College Relief Unit, the first women's college relief unit to do reconstruction work in France during WWI. At Smith, she has also taught courses on British cultural history and the history of sexuality and co-taught the Introduction to the Study of Women and Gender in the Program for the Study of Women and Gender.