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Anna Pravdica

History, University of Warwick

Thesis title:

Sincerity, Deceit, and Social Identity in Britain, 1640–1770

My doctoral thesis is supervised by Dr Naomi Pullin and Professor Mark Knights in History at the University of Warwick (see my ePortfolio here), as well as Dr Kate Loveman in English at the University of Leicester. My research investigates the cultural, religious, and sociopolitical realities that influenced contemporary ideas about sincerity and deceit in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Britain, and how attitudes about these concepts were affected by categories of social identity like rank, gender, and race. It explores how understandings of sincerity and deceit affected the lived, everyday contexts of family, friendship, community, and polity amongst non-elite people of the lower orders and middling sorts, seeking to construct a social history of sincerity from below.

Research Area

  • Cultural History
  • History


Articles & Chapters

'True Crime in the Archives: The Eighteenth-Century Old Bailey and the Emotions of Sensationalism', in Emotions and Archives volume for Bloomsbury's History of Emotions series (forthcoming 2024)

'"See sincerity sparkle in thy practice": Antidotes to Hypocrisy in British Print Sermons, 1640–1695', under review for the Ecclesiastical History Society's 'Church and Hypocrisy' issue in Studies in Church History (forthcoming June 2024)

Blog Posts 

'Sincerity', in 'Keywords', King's College London Centre for Early Modern Studies 'Key' blog series (forthcoming Autumn 2023)

'Sincerity, Deceit, and Occupational Identity', Northern Early Modern Network blog (forthcoming December 2023)

'Room for the Cobler of Gloucester and His Wife', in 'Key Texts', King's College London Centre for Early Modern Studies 'Key' blog series (August 2023)

Book Reviews 

'Pravdica on Schwartz, Unmoored: The Search for Sincerity in Colonial America', for the H-Net Humanities and Social Sciences Online network H-Early-America (forthcoming Autumn 2023)


'Refashioning the Seventeenth-Century Self: A Case Study of John Taylor the Water Poet', for  Newberry Library Center for Renaissance Studies workshop and Warwick-Newberry Research Fellowship (May 2023) 


'The Barber's Daughter: Seventeenth-Century Occupational Identity and Aphra Behn's Social Origins', Aphra Behn and Her Restoration, Eighth International Conference of the Aphra Behn Europe Society, University of Kent, July 2024

'Sincerity, Deceit, and Social Identity in Early Modern Britain', History PG Work in Progress, University of Warwick, April 2023

'Sincerity, Deceit, and Occupational Identity in Seventeenth-Century Britain', British History in the Seventeenth Century, Institute of Historical Research, March 2023

'How to Get to Heaven in Early Modern England', Nuneaton Historical Association, co-speaker with Kristi Flake (University of Warwick), December 2023

'Annesley v. Anglesey and Douglas v. Hamilton: Social Uncertainity and Emotional Anxiety in Eighteenth-Century British Filiation Cases', Unsettling Certainties, Fourth Biennial Conference of the Society for the History of Emotions, University of Adelaide, December 2023

'"The honour of a Lord Bishop, and the honour of a cobler': The Dissenting Pamphlet Literature and Marginal Nonconformity of Ralph Wallis, 1662–1668', Margins and Peripheries, Ecclesiastical History Society, University of Warwick, July 2023

'"Oaths of the Many Great and Worthy Persons by Whom They Were Regarded": Politically Potent Sociability in the Douglas Cause', Sociability in Food, Politics, and Travel in the Early Modern Era, EMECC and GIS Sociabilités, University of Warwick, June 2023

'Printed English Sermons on Sincerity and Hypocrisy, 1640–1695', The Church and Hypocrisy Conference, Ecclesiastical History Society, January 2023

'Letters to the Spectator: An Early Eighteenth-Century Periodical's Project of Emotional Refuge and Education', EMECC Work-in-Progress series, University of Warwick, October 2022

'True Crime in the Archives: Researching and Feeling the Eighteenth-Century Old Bailey', Archives and Emotions Conference, Aston University, Birmingham and University of Malta, October 2022

'Letters to the Spectator: An Emotional Community of Early Eighteenth-Century Readers", North American Chapter on the History of Emotion Conference, George Mason University, June 2022

'"Wild and Incoherent in Her Desires": Fantomina and the Passions in Early Eighteenth-Century England', Eliza Haywood: 300 Years of Love in Excess, Purdue University, April 2019

Public Engagement & Impact

I am currently the Communications Officer for the North American Chapter on the History of Emotion, which involves publicising work in the field, organising events like colloquia and conferences, and managing the chapter's Twitter account, @NACHEmotion.

In the past, I have worked as a docent and program assistant at the Gibson House Museum in Boston and as an Education Intern at the Shirley-Eustis House Museum in Roxbury, Massachusetts. At each I was tasked with interpreting the historical significance of the house museums for visitors, as well as designing lesson plans for visiting student groups. 

Other Research Interests

More broadly, my research interests include seventeenth- and eighteenth-century British print culture; categories of early modern identity like social status and gender; religious history and popular piety; family, friendship, and community; early modern crime and legal history; and the history of emotions and history 'from below'.


Academic Profile

20222026, PhD History, University of Warwick

Thesis: 'Emotional Sincerity, Social Authenticity, and Performance in England, 16601760', supervised by Dr Naomi Pullin, Professor Mark Knights, and Dr Kate Loveman

Funded by the AHRC M4C Doctoral Training Partnership 

20192020, MSc History, University of Edinburgh (Distinction)

Dissertation: 'Feelings, Family, and Community in English Witchcraft Pamphlets and Plays, 15661634', supervised by Professor Adam Fox

Funded by the School of History, Classics, and Archaeology's Fennell Masters Scholarship

20152019, BA History & Literature Honours, Suffolk University, Boston (First Class)

Minors in Classics and Women’s & Gender Studies

Dissertation: '“Aids from Nature, Join’d to the Wiles of Art”: Emotional, Social, and Theatrical Performance in Eliza Haywood’s “Fantomina” and Early Eighteenth-Century England', supervised by Professor Michèle Plott and Professor Hannah Hudson

Teaching and Professional Experience

Funding, Awards, and Honours

  • UKRI-AHRC International Placement Scheme (IPS) Fellowship at the Huntington Library, 2024
  • M4C Research Development Fund to present at Ecclesiastical History Society's Margins and Peripheries conference, July 2023
  • M4C Research Development Fund to conduct research at the National Archives and Parliamentary Archives, May 2023
  • Warwick-Newberry Research Fellow, Centre for the Study of the Renaissance Newberry Library Consortium Grant, April 2023 (read report here)
  • M4C Research Development Fund to conduct research and attend workshop 'Refashioning the Seventeenth-Century Self: A Case Study of John Taylor the Water Poet' at the Newberry Library, April 2023
  • M4C Engagement Fund for English Palaeography, Autumn 2022
  • AHRC Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership, University of Warwick, 20222026
  • The Fennell Masters Scholarship, University of Edinburgh, 2019–2020
  • Conference Student Support Fund, University of Edinburgh, Autumn 2019
  • Excellence in Honours Award for an Outstanding Senior Project in the Humanities Division, Suffolk University, Spring 2019
  • Excellence in Honours Award for an Outstanding Senior Project in History and Literature Honours, Suffolk University, Spring 2019
  • Departmental Distinction in History Award, Suffolk University, Spring 2019
  • George J. Levy History Prize, Suffolk University, Spring 2019
  • Women’s & Gender Studies Book Prize, Suffolk University, Spring 2019
  • English Department Recognition Day Scholarship, Suffolk University, Spring 2019
  • CAS Honours Travel and Research Fellowship, Suffolk University, Spring 2019
  • History Department Travel and Research Funding, Suffolk University, Spring 2019
  • U.S. Department of State's Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, Summer 2018
  • History Book Prize, Suffolk University, Spring 2018
  • Honours in History – Member of Phi Alpha Theta, Spring 2018
  • Peter Caputo Memorial Scholarship for Academic Excellence in English, Suffolk University, Spring 2018
  • Honours in English – Member of Sigma Tau Delta, Spring 2017
  • Stanley M. Vogel Scholarship, Suffolk University, Spring 2017

Courses and Qualifications