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History of Women in Britain since 1900

Mumsnet Academy

Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 10:00 AM - Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 5:00 PM (BST)

History of Women in Britain since 1900

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  • On this 2 day course you will discover the stories of women traditionally hidden from history – and learn about how they helped shape the Britain we live in today.

    Through a series of lectures, group study sessions and talks, you will explore how women fought their way into workplaces and universities, the role of women in war and peace, the longstanding problem of who does the dishes, and the myths and realities of marriage and motherhood. Along the way you’ll learn more about the kinds of sources you can use to find out more about women in the past, by working with diaries, autobiographies, family history, press reports and art. 
    No prior knowledge of the subject is required.
  • What's Included

    All sessions will last 1 hour and 15 minutes. Most involve a whole-group activity/talk as well as work in smaller groups, all led and facilitated by Selina Todd.

    DAY 1
    10.00-11.15 Session 1
    From the Flappers to the Feminists: introduction to women’s history.
    - Overview talk on women in modern British history
    - Group study on why flappers incurred the wrath of politicians and the press in the ‘Roaring Twenties’.
    11.15-11.30: Break
    11.30-12.45: Session 2
    Storming the Citadel: women as educational pioneers. Often the history of women’s advancement focuses exclusively on suffragettes. We examine a much less well-known, but equally important, fight, as women sought to storm the citadels of British education.
    - Overview talk and possible film showing
    - Group study of diaries and memoirs of pioneers including those of Vera Brittain
    (Testament of Youth) and Winifred Holtby (South Riding).
    12.45-1.45: Lunch
    1.45-3.00: Session 3
    Women, War and Film
    The two world wars made a huge difference to women’s lives. We examine the new ways that women were represented during the Second World War, and how valuable film can be as a source for historians of women’s lives.
    - Introduction to film as an historical source
    - Film showing
    - Group discussion
    3.00-3.15: Break
    3.15-4.30: Session 4
    War and social change
    This session focuses on women’s personal experience of war. We examine social surveys of women’s lives, and their own diaries, to explore how far the Second World War brought new freedoms for some women – and how far war was a time of trauma and family breakdown.
    - Introductory talk.
    - Group study of women’s diaries (including that of Nella Last, the ‘Housewife 49’ dramatized by Victoria Wood).
    10.00-11.15: Session 5
    The Servant Problem, or: who does the dishes?
    Domestic servants were the largest single group of workers in Britain until the 1940s, and domestic work remains a large employer today – yet we know little of domestic workers lives, or of the experiences of those women who employed them. This session explores the relationship between maids and their mistresses, and discusses how far men have ever contributed to domestic duties.
    - Introductory talk
    - Group study of press reports and diaries relating to the ‘servant problem’
    11.15-11.30: Break
    11.30-12.45: Session 6
    The ‘golden age’ of the family? Sex, family and friendship This session challenges the myths about women’s place in families over the 20th
    century. We uncover the different kinds of family and friendship networks in which women have lived to learn that there was no ‘traditional’ or ‘normal’ wife, mother or family in history. We also examine how far family life provoked women to become feminists in the 1960s and 1970s. By using oral history transcripts and census returns, we will study how you can find out about women in your own family’s past.
    - Introductory talk/film showing
    - Group study of family life using oral history transcripts and census returns
    12.45-1.45: Lunch
    1.45-3.00: Session 7
    The feminist challenge
    We discuss the aims and achievements of feminists in the 1970s and beyond. Using the knowledge we’ve gained in previous sessions, we’ll reflect on how far their aspirations were new. We’ll also examine why so many feminists have chosen to write their autobiographies and what these tell us about who became a feminist, and why the movement became so vilified in popular culture.
    - Introductory talk and film showing
    - Group study of feminist memoirs and texts
    3.00-3.15: Break
    3.15-4.30: Session 8
    The future for women’s history
    This session reflects on how far women’s lives have changed across the twentieth century, and how the writing of women’s history has developed since the 1970s. We will explore whether we feel able to write ourselves into women’s history by trying to create our own short memoirs.
    - Introductory talk and group discussion
    - Group work on writing a memoir
    - Question time: your chance to ask any questions about where to take your interest in
    history next, whether through family history research, more formal study, or through
    writing your own autobiography or history book.
  • Tutor Details

    Selina Todd is a Lecturer in History at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St Hilda’s College. She researches and writes on many aspects of modern history and contemporary society, including class and inequality, women’s lives and feminism, and education.

    Her next book - The People: A History of the Working Class in Twentieth Century Britainwill be published in 2014 by John Murray. Based on oral histories, autobiographies, and the hitherto-overlooked archives of myriad social surveys, the book argues that class was the strongest continuity in twentieth-century society. 

    Her book sprang from her desire to rewrite the history of a century often narrated in the words, and seen through the eyes, of the upper and middle classes. This book is about the experience of ordinary people – and tells how they made history, as well as responding to the actions of those more powerful than themselves.
Have questions about History of Women in Britain since 1900? Contact Mumsnet Academy


Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 10:00 AM - Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 5:00 PM (BST)

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