Call for Papers – One-day, international symposium examining gender, citizenship and subjectivity in revolutionary Ireland and Europe, 1917-c. 1922

One-day, international symposium examining gender, citizenship and subjectivity in
revolutionary Ireland and Europe, 1917-c. 1922

Friday 26th May, 2017,
Trinity College Dublin.

In the decades since the cultural and linguistic turns in the humanities, academic and public interest in what personal experience, despite its clear subjectivity, can tell us about the past has increased significantly. The new bottom-up approach which this has engendered has been prominent in the publications, cultural events and official ceremonies marking the centenary of the Great War and its aftermath. These developments have placed particular emphasis on the study and public dissemination of ego documents, autobiographical sources that, in their many forms, give the reader a privileged insight into the self that created them.

In Ireland, many of the commemorative activities that have taken place since the beginning of the State’s Decade of Centenaries programme in 2012 have sought to move beyond the officially sanctioned narratives of the past, which tended to overemphasise the role of nationalist elites, in order better understand the experiences of the ordinary and subaltern people who were affected by the violence that would lead to the establishment of the Free State and partition in 1922. As these developments have been occurring, the interrelationship of gender and subjectivity in war and revolution has been the focus of significant academic interest internationally; yet it in the Irish case it remains largely underexplored. Relatively little is still known about the ordinary, everyday experiences of civilians and non-combatant women during this time, or about how women understood their place in their changing societies and negotiated their corresponding identities during this period.

This symposium will gather international scholars with interests in the subjects of gender, citizenship and subjectivity in the years of the Great War and its aftermath in Europe, and in how these ideas were narrated by ordinary women themselves. In doing so, it aims to place the Irish late- to post-war experience in its international context through comparative examination. The topics that will be discussed can be interpreted broadly and may include periods of war, revolution and counter-revolution in any European country. The symposium will end with a keynote address from Professor Alison Fell of the University of Leeds, a leading academic in the field.

We invite proposals for 20 minute papers from any field in the humanities on themes that
include, though are not limited to:

  • the effects of war and revolution on ideas of gender and citizenship.
  • the interrelationships of men and women in wartime.
  • interactions between the non-combatant civilian and the State.
  • family and everyday life in war and revolution.
  • the wartime gendered body.
  • the way in which any of the above was narrated by ordinary people, particularly women.
  • literacy and other means of self-expression.
  • the nature of ego documents (theories, approaches, limitations, sources, etc.)

The organisers particularly welcome submissions by early-career researchers. Bursaries will be provided to speakers to assist with travel costs. The symposium and the accompanying public lecture by Professor Alison Fell are both free and open to all to attend. It is anticipated that select contributions will be collected for a scholarly publication based on the proceedings.

The symposium is sponsored by the Irish Research Council under Strand Two of its New Foundations Scheme and forms part of the Irish Decade of Centenaries Programme ( It is also kindly supported by the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute.

Applicants are asked to send a short biography (100-150 words) and a 250 word abstract to
Richard Gow and Dr Fionnuala Walsh at by 15 February
2017. All other inquiries may be directed to the same address.

Press release

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