Dr Tanya Cheadle
- Lecturer (History)
Sexual Progressivism : Modern Esotericism : Global Masculinities
I am a modern historian of masculinities, sexualities, and esoteric and progressive subcultures in Scotland and the wider world. Focusing primarily on the late-Victorian and Edwardian periods, I examine the significance of heterodox belief systems to the emergence of global modernities, in relation to gendered and sexual beliefs, practices and identities.
In 2020, I was awarded a Carnegie Research Incentive Grant for a project entitled Adepts of Manhood: Masculinity and Power in Scotland's Occult Revival, 1880-1914. The project asks, given the occult revival’s known accommodation of feminist politics, its beliefs in gender fluidity, and its tolerance of forms of queer sexuality, to what extent did participation in Scotland’s occult subculture allow men to reject or transform normative, bourgeois codes of masculinity? Did esoteric organisations act as crucibles for the forging of a new, more progressive masculine identity? Finally, were male occultists feminist allies, or was their reconfiguration of manhood more a form of ‘hybridisation’ which ultimately perpetuated patriarchy? (Demetriou, 2001)
In related work, in May 2023 with Dr Justine Bakker from Radboud University, I began a project supported by the Glasgow-Radboud Collaboration Fund, entitled Normative Esotericism: A New Agenda for the Critical Interrogation of Whiteness, Masculinity and Straightness in Esoteric Belief and Praxis. One of the foundational narratives of esotericism studies—a multi-disciplinary and rapidly expanding field—is that it concerns 'rejected knowledge': knowledge that was or is deemed heterodox, deviant, and subversive. This has frequently precluded sustained and rigorous engagement with the complex ways in which normative constructions of race, gender and sexuality have influenced esoteric knowledge. This project will harness key specialisms in the two partner institutions in the history of gender and sexuality (Centre for Gender History, Glasgow) and critical race theory (Race-Religion Constellation Project, Radboud) to set a vital and timely new agenda for research in “Normative Esotericism.”
In 2020, I published a monograph entitled Sexual Progressives: Reimagining Intimacy in Scotland, 1880-1914 (Manchester University Press). The book constitutes a major new study of the feminists and socialists who campaigned against the moral conservatism of the Victorian period. Drawing on a range of sources, from letters and diaries to radical newspapers and utopian novels, it provides the first group portrait of Scotland's sexual rebels. They include Bella and Charles Pearce, prominent Glasgow socialists and disciples of the American-based mystic Thomas Lake Harris who taught that religion needed to be 're-sexed'; Jane Hume Clapperton, a feminist freethinker with advanced views on birth control and a woman's right to sexual pleasure; and Patrick Geddes, founder of an avant-garde Edinburgh subculture and co-author of an influential scientific book on sex.
Cheadle, T. (2022) Hybrid masculinity and the H. B. of L.: practical and “progressive” occultism in Late-Victorian Northeast Scotland. Correspondences: Journal for the Study of Esotericism, 10(1), pp. 87-129.
Cheadle, T. (2017) Music hall, 'mashers' and the 'unco guid': competing masculinities in Victorian Glasgow. In: Abrams, L. and Ewan, E. (eds.) Nine Centuries of Man : Manhood and Masculinity in Scottish History. Edinburgh University Press: Edinburgh, pp. 223-241. ISBN 9781474403894
Cheadle, T. (2020) Sexual Progressives: Rethinking Intimacy in Late Victorian Scotland, 1880–1914. Manchester University Press: Manchester. ISBN 9781526125255 (doi: 10.7765/9781526125262)
- Normative Esotericism: A New Agenda for the Critical Interrogation of Whiteness, Masculinity and Straightness in Esoteric Belief and Praxis' (2023-24)
Radboud-Glasgow Collaboration Fund, 2023-24: £10,000
With Dr Justine Bakker, Radboud University
- Adepts of Manhood: Masculinity and Power in Scotland's Occult Revival, 1880-1914
Carnegie Research Incentive Award, 2021-22: £14,100
With Co-I Prof Christine Ferguson, University of Stirling and RA Dr Hannah Telling
- Fostering Collaborative, Interdisciplinary and Intersectional Learning: Creating COIL Resources with the Smithsonian Institution
Learning, Teaching and Development Fund, University of Glasgow, 2022-3: £20,000
With Lead Applicants Dr Katherine Lloyd and Dr Margaret Jago, and Co Applicants Dr Nicole Smith, Dr Rosie Spooner and Dr Amy Johnstone
- Gender Theory, Online Pedagogy: Co-Creating Online PGT Resources using an Intersectional Feminist SSP Approach
Learning, Teaching and Development Fund, University of Glasgow, 2021-22: £3,081
- Partners in Pedagogy: Synthesizing Feminist and Student-Staff Partnership Approaches in the Co-creation of Online Teaching Resources
Learning, Teaching and Development Fund, University of Glasgow, 2021-22: £2,928
With Co Applicants Dr Adele Redhead, Dr Katherine Lloyd, Dr Lisa Kelly
- Pedagogical Exchange with Institute of Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Stduies, McGill University
International Experience Fund, University of Glasgow, 2017: £4,722
With Dr Catriona Macleod and Dr Emily Ryder
- The Occult Revival in Late Victorian Scotland: Gender, Sexuality, Subjectivity
Centre for Scottish and Celtic Studies Seedcorn Award, 2017: £202
- Realizing a ‘More Than Earthly Paradise of Love’: Scotland’s Sexual Progressives, 1880 – 1914
AHRC Doctoral Fellowship, 2010-14
I would welcome any research projects that fall broadly within my areas of research expertise on the modern history of gender and sexuality, global masculinities, and esoteric and progressive currents.
I currently supervise the following PhD students:
- Carver, Caroline Fyke
Identity and Material Culture: Female Militants at the turn of the 20th Century in the British Isles
- Speed, Hannah
Women’s life-writing and the suffrage campaign in Scotland c.1870s-1970s.
I have previously supervised the following MRes student:
- Ashley Brown, '"burdenit … with the bringing up of the yowth": A study of masculinities at the University of St Andrews, 1580-1606'
Hybrid & Online : Intersectional Feminist Pedagogy : Student-Staff Partnerships
Over the past six years, I have successfully pursued a digital strategy for the teaching of gender history at the University of Glasgow. This has entailed the development of a suite of innovative learning and teaching methods, including student-staff partnerships in course co-creation, MOOCs and the development of COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) resourses. In 2019, with colleagues Prof Maud Bracke and Dr Hannah Telling, I launched a FutureLearn MOOC on A Global History of Sex and Gender, which has since attracted over 9,500 international learners. Through a series of LTDF grants (Learning, Teaching and Development Fund), I have run projects in which students, staff and external partners have collaborated in the co-creation of postgraduate teaching materials, working closely with institutions including Glasgow Women's Library, the Smithsonian Institute's American Women's History Initiative, and the Hunterian. With postgraduate student Dr Alana McPake, I have convened a cross-College Feminist Pedagogies Reading Group. I convene the in-person MSc Gender History and the online MSc Global Gender History. I am also the co-director of the Centre for Gender History.
- Gender, Sexuality and Modernity in Scotland, c.1800-1918
- Manliness to #MeToo: A Global History of Modern Masculinities (Special Subject)
- Enchanting Modernity: Gender, Sexuality and Esotericism
- Gender History Applied (online)
- Gender History Concepts (online)
- Gender, Politics and Power
Professional activities & recognition
Prizes, awards & distinctions
- 2020: Monograph 'Sexual Progressives' Highly Commended in First Book Prize (Women's History Network)
- 2009 - 2014: Doctoral Fellowship, Arts and Humanities Research Council
- 2021: Book Reviews Editor, Women's History Review
Professional & learned societies
- 2020: Fellow, Royal Historical Society
- 2020: Committee Member, Women's History Scotland
- 2019: Member, European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism
- 2011 - 2014: Committee Member, Women's History Network
Selected international presentations
- 2022: European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism Conference (Cork)
- 2021: European Social Science History Conference (Online)
- 2019: European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism Conference (Amsterdam)
I had a previous career as a documentary director, making historical television programmes for the BBC, Channel 4 and PBS in America. I have maintained strong contacts within the media industry and seek out opportunities to make connections between the worlds of academia and broadcasting.