Universiteit Leiden

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Helen Steele


Dr. H.L. Steele
+31 70 800 9500

Helen Steele is a lecturer at International Studies.

More information about Helen Steele

Fields of interest

Women’s and gender history, modern European history, social history, Alltagsgeschichte, networks, memory sources, history of modern Austria, women’s networks.

My PhD was awarded by Swansea University and funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (UK). I focused on the social history of Viennese women during the later stages of the Second World War and the early years of the Allied occupation of Austria. Detailed examination of women’s letters, diaries and memoirs were used throughout to provide a range of ‘voices’ from daily life. These were supported with contemporary newspaper articles, court files, police files and records of the Allied administration. In the final phase of my PhD I was the grateful recipient of a scholarship from the research platform ‘Repositioning Women’s and Gender History in a Changing European Context’ at the University of Vienna. 

My recent work has developed key strands identified during research for my thesis. In particular I have returned to cases of bigamy in postwar Austria and the moral and social questions that such a crime addressed. My next research project will look at antifascism, pacifism and feminism in the life of Emma Cadbury (1875-1965), a prominent member of the Quaker family. 

During my PhD I taught seminars at Swansea University and Bath Spa University on Europe of Extremes (1789-1989), The Third Reich, Theories and Methods of History, and London (1660-1960). Most recently I taught a seminar at Loughborough University on Cold War Vienna (1945-1955).

International and work experience

As part of my Bachelor studies I spent a year at the University of Vienna. This was a transformative year for me: broadening my knowledge of European history by attending lectures, meeting students from all over the world and learning German. During my Masters studies I was able to return to Vienna for a short period of archival research. 

Before starting my PhD I enjoyed a few years working as a Project Editor for Adam Matthew Digital. This took me to libraries and archives all across Europe and North America and enabled me to work on projects as diverse as Medieval Travel Writing and the Virginia Company Archives. However, my love of modern European history remained strong and I decided to return to the Austrian archives for my doctoral studies. 

After finishing my PhD I worked at the University of Leicester in the Library’s Research Services team. I supported researchers from across the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, the majority of whom were international students. I helped them search for literature, organise their research, and stay up to date in their field.


  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Faculteitsbureau
  • International Studies

Work address

Schouwburgstraat 2
2511 VA The Hague
Room number B1.10


No relevant ancillary activities

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