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Symposium will Explore Women’s Experience of Post-war

22 May 2017 - An international, cross-disciplinary symposium on Friday, 26 May 2017, will explore how non-combatant women narrated their experiences of the revolutionary period of 1917 to 1922 in Ireland and the rest of Europe.

Women's Day

The symposium is led by Dr Fionnuala Walsh, an Irish Research Council Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Department of History, Trinity College Dublin and Richard Gow, a Trinity Long Room Hub Graduate Fellow from the Department of Hispanic Studies, and combines their two primary areas of research. Fionnuala works on women in Ireland during the First World War, while Richard looks at letters and letter-writing to the government in Spain in the 1920s.

The conference is funded through a grant awarded by the Irish Research Council under Strand Two of its New Foundations scheme for 2016 and forms part of the Decade of Centenaries programme.

Richard explains the idea behind the project: ‘There have been a lot of events surrounding the First World War and you also have the Decade of Centenaries organised by the Irish State, but these have mainly a focus on the war itself. We wanted to look at the post-war and the changes that the war-time period brought to questions of gender, though particularly to women and their experience.’
The project starts in 1917, the year of the Russian revolution, when the post-war period begins for some countries. It then continues into the 1920s and the interwar period. The symposium will include three panels looking at distinct aspects of the period, including the war time experience of women; questions of citizenship and nationality in the changing borders of the war and post-war; and on how women interacted with the State through petitioning.

One way of examining the narratives of women during this period is by looking at what historians call ‘ego-documents’ or letters and diaries. Petitioning the post-war state is the subject of the first panel and will look at the types of letters which were sent to the State by women during this time. ‘These are documents produced by individuals and they reflect that person – the subject, the self. Although sometimes hard to come by, they are quite revealing in the sense that they reflect certain aspects of people’s lives that you wouldn’t see otherwise’, argues Richard whose talk will look at ‘The public and the private in women’s petitions to General Primo de Rivera in Spain, 1923-1930.’

The keynote lecture will be delivered by Professor Alison Fell from the University of Leeds, who is a prominent scholar on the First World War. Her talk is entitled ‘Female ‘veterans’: war service, gender and citizenship in France and Britain after the First World War’.

The one-day symposium is free of charge and will take place in the Trinity Long Room Hub from 9.30am on Friday, 26 May 2017. A full overview of the programme is available here

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