NeMLA 2024 From Redundancy to Citizenship: Publication as a Path to Women’s Citizenship (55th Annual Convention of the Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA))
Event: 55th Annual Convention of the Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
Abract: Women increasingly countered their remaindered status in society as the nineteenth century advanced. Many did this through large scale philanthropy in the cause of social justice. Social reformers like Louisa Twining (workhouses), Mary Carpenter (juvenile criminal justice), Elizabeth Fry (prisons), Florence Nightingale (nursing), Emily Davies (education), Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon (women’s rights), Ellen Ranyard (community nursing), Josephine Butler (women’s rights) and many others worked tirelessly to improve social conditions and to promote greater fairness in society, on behalf of both women’s causes and society in general. These pioneering women recorded their activities, observations and agendas through the printed word in pamphlets, books and published speeches. They wrote to inform and inspire other women, but also to spread their ideas and change perceptions. Gradually women began to appear on school boards, within local government, and as expert witnesses to Parliamentary Commissions.
This panel explores non-fictional writing by the women of Great Britain and Ireland as they moved from a position of superfluity in society to one of citizenship. The role of women journalists and editors who promoted women’s work and the Women’s Cause also falls within the remit of 'Publication as a Path to Women’s Citizenship'.