Call for Papers: Professional Women: the public, the private, and the political. London, 6-7 September 2019

2019 marks the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act in Britain, which opened all ‘civil professions or vocations’, including the civil service and legal profession, to women. It was a significant landmark – but neither a beginning or an end – in the history of professional women.

This conference will explore not only the significance of the 1919 Act, but also the ‘professional woman’ in all periods, nations and forms. She is found far beyond ‘the professions’, in fields ranging from agriculture to industry, from education to the arts. She has worked with or without official sanction and recognition, in widely varying conditions, for typically unequal wages. She has created her own professional niches, from domestic trades to feminist organisations – or forced her way into traditionally male domains. Her professional life has been influenced by sex and gender, but also by class, ethnicity and race, sexuality, disability, age, nationality and family situation.

We look forward to welcoming established scholars, postgraduate researchers, independent scholars, museum curators, archivists, local history groups and practitioners from a wide range of disciplines researching professional women in Britain and elsewhere in the world, to this conference to be hosted at LSE Library, the home of the Women’s Library, on 6-7 September 2019.

Possible topics include, but not limited to:

  • Women’s entry into the professions
  • The impact of the 1919 Act
  • Professional activists
  • Women in domestic service
  • Trade unionism
  • Representations in film and media
  • Race, class, age, sexuality and disability
  • Working-class women
  • Negotiating the public / private
  • Biographies and autobiographical writing

Individual papers and panel discussions. The conference welcomes proposals for 20 minute papers. We are also interested in innovative ideas for panel discussions (maximum three speakers plus chair). Please specify which you are applying for in your abstract and include the email addresses and any institutional affiliations of all participants.

Roundtable/Workshop/Object-Handling. The conference is interested in roundtable / workshop / object handling sessions which would be a maximum of 90 minutes in length. Your proposal should include a themed title, a named organiser as contact (who will be responsible for communicating with the remaining panel members).

Performance. The conference welcomes proposals for a dramatic performance or film screening which should be no longer than 60 minutes. You must cover your own expenses.

Posters. The conference welcomes proposals for posters, particularly from PhD candidates and new researchers / presenters. Posters will be on display during the conference, with a prize for the best one.

Please email abstracts of 300-500 words to Gillian Murphy at g.e.murphy@lse.ac.uk. Deadline for submissions is 15 February 2019.

The abstract should be in Word format as an attachment with your Surname and Initials as the file name and please make sure you put WHN19 in the subject line. Please also include a 50 word biography. Please include your NAME, EMAIL ADDRESS AND INSTITUTION (if any) on the proposal/abstract itself. If you are proposing a panel/roundtable/workshop/object-handling/dramatic performance, please give emails / contact details for all panel members and for all the performers in the dramatic performance.

You will be notified regarding acceptance of your proposal after all submissions have been reviewed and, if successful, you will be expected to book for the conference by 30 June 2019.

Authors who approve may have their abstracts posted on the WHN Blog before the conference.

More information can be found here.

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