Dr Sarah Bendall

Research Fellow - Gender and Women’s History Research Centre

ACU Researcher

Areas of expertise: women and gender; material culture and dress; histories of trade and consumption; artisans, guilds and production; experimental history; early modern ecologies.

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-6078-4244

Phone: +61 03 9953 3213

Email: Sarah.Bendall@acu.edu.au

Location: ACU Melbourne Campus

Sarah A. Bendall is a Research Fellow at the Gender and Women’s History Research Centre in the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences. She is a material culture historian whose work specialises in the gendered and embodied experiences of dress, particularly those of women, as well as the roles of gender in the production, trade and consumption of global commodities and fashionable consumer goods between 1500-1800.

She is the author of several journal articles on gender and early modern dress, on early modern women’s garment production and on experimental history approaches. She is the author of Shaping Femininity: Foundation Garments, the Body, and Women in Early Modern England (Bloomsbury, 2021). Sarah has been awarded fellowships from The Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford and the Folger Shakespeare Library, and during her doctoral research she was a visiting research student at Kings College London. Prior to joining ACU, she held postdoctoral and lecturing positions at the University of Western Australia, the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne.

Her current research examines the widespread use of whaling products such as baleen in dress and decorative arts between the years 1500-1800 to explore the complex historical relationship between fashion, gender, global trade and the environment. She is also developing projects on women and the garment-making trades during the seventeenth century in England, and on making, experimental history and embodiment.

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Select publications


  • Sarah A Bendall, Shaping Femininity: Foundation Garments, the Body, and Women in Early Modern England (forthcoming with Bloomsbury, 2021)

Journal Articles

  • Sarah A. Bendall, ‘Whalebone and the Wardrobe of Elizabeth I: Whaling and the Construction of Aristocratic Fashions in Sixteenth-Century Europe’, Apparence(s): Histoire et Culture du Paraître, Special Issue: Animal Fashions edited by Ariane Fennetaux and Gabriele Mentges (forthcoming, 2021).
  • Sarah A. Bendall, ‘Adorning Masculinities? The Commissioning and Wearing of Hat Badges during the Habsburg-Valois Italian Wars’, Sixteenth Century Journal (forthcoming 2021)
  • Sarah A. Bendall, ‘Women’s Dress and the Demise of the Tailoring Monopoly: Farthingale-makers, Body-makers, and the Changing Textile Marketplace in Seventeenth-Century London’, Textile History (2021): DOI: 1080/00404969.2021.1913470.
  • Sarah A. Bendall, ‘The case of the “french vardinggale”: A Methodological Approach to Reconstructing and Understanding Ephemeral Garments’, in Fashion Theory, Special Issue on ‘The Making Turn’, edited by Peter McNeil and Melissa Bellanta, 23, 3 (2019): 363-399. DOI: 10.1080/1362704X.2019.1603862.
  • Sarah A. Bendall, ‘“Take Measure of your Wide and Flaunting Garments”: The Farthingale, Gender and the Consumption of Space in Elizabethan and Jacobean England’, Renaissance Studies, vol. 33, 5 (2019): 712-737. DOI: 10.1111/rest.12537.
  • Sarah Anne Bendall, ‘To Write a Distick upon It: Busks and the Language of Courtship and Sexual Desire in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century England’, Gender & History, 26, 2, (2014): 199–222. DOI: 10.1111/1468-0424.12066.


  • From Whale to Wardrobe: The Whaling Trade, Gender and Fashionable Consumer Goods in Early Modern Europe. This project examines one of the key turning points in fashion, trade and industry: the widespread use of whale products in clothing and decorative arts between 1500-1800.
  • Before the Mantua-Maker: Women and the Garment-making Trades, 1550-1690. This project seeks to understand the role of women in the production of clothing in England and France during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century.
  • Making and Embodiment: Making and Embodiment in Early Modern Europe: Gender, Material Culture and the Body. With Serena Dyer.

Accolades and awards

  • Publication Grant awarded by the Pasold Research Fund (2020)
  • McKenzie Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, The University of Melbourne (2020)
  • University of Sydney, Dean’s Unit of Study Commendation (2020)
  • H2020 Marie Curie Sklodowska Curie Actions-IF-2018 Seal of Excellence (2019)
  • Society for the Study of Early Modern Women (SSEMW) Margaret Hannay Visiting Fellow at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington D.C. (2018)
  • David Walker Memorial Visiting Fellow in Early Modern History at The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, UK. (2018)
  • Research Project Grant awarded by the Pasold Research Fund (2018)

Public engagement

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