Jennifer Regan-Lefebvre is an assistant professor of history at Trinity and taught a new course, “Downton Abbey in Historical Context,” during January Term last month. She has published two books on the history of modern Britain and Ireland and is writing a new historical monograph entitled Imperial Wine: How the British Empire Made the New World. So it is not surprising that the popular wine website VinePair turned to Regan-Lefebvre for her expertise for its recent article, “Ask a Historian: How to Drink Like You Lived in Downton Abbey.”
Acknowledging the millions of viewers addicted to the PBS series Downton Abbey, now in its fifth season, VinePair quotes Regan-Lefebvre: “All of us could throw a Downton-themed dinner party if we wanted. You’ll just need a set of silver fish knives, a copy of the Larousse Gastronomique, a strong constitution, and a trust fund.” Read the entire article here.
Regan-Lefebvre’s January Term class grew out of a similar course she developed for Trinity’s Academy of Lifelong Learning, through which courses on a wide range of subjects, taught by distinguished current and former faculty members, are offered to adults in the community at large.
Regan-Lefebvre explains, “Downton Abbey is set in such an exciting period of political, social, and cultural change in Britain. It’s a fantastic way to draw students into big debates in British history, and also to take advantage of the Watkinson Library’s rich collections of early 20th-century material.” Students in the January Term class enjoyed playing the gramophone and pouring over World War I recruitment posters in the Watkinson Library. “Rick Ring and the Watkinson staff have been so enthusiastic about my projects,” Regan-Lefebvre continues, “that I now try to use the Watkinson’s material in all my classes. The ability to incorporate this special resource is one of the things I enjoy most about teaching at Trinity.”
Regan-Lefebvre, who joined the Trinity faculty in 2013, earned her B.S. from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Queen’s University Belfast. She has taught at the University of Exeter, the American University of Paris, and Cambridge University, where she was a fellow, the director of studies in history, and the assistant tutor at King’s College. She was named one of University of Exeter’s “Top 10 Most Innovative Teachers” in 2010. She is a fellow of the British Royal Historical Society.