New proposals wanted for Ashgate series Women and Gender in the Early Modern World

Gender and Work in Early Modern Europe

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New proposals are welcomed for both single-author volumes and edited collections for the Ashgate series Women and Gender in the Early Modern World. For over a decade the series has published innovative research on all aspects of the field. The series includes titles on the family, on education, poor relief and religion, on lactation, menstruation and procreation, on Queenship, the book trade and on Ottoman women builders -to name but a few. Readers of this blog will no doubt be familiar with the excellent volume The Marital Economy in Scandinavia and Britain 1400-1900 edited by Maria Ågren and Amy Louise Erickson.

Proposals are sought for research which expands this evolving field and challenges current scholarship on the early modern period. Interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary in scope, the series strives to reach beyond geographical limitations to explore the experiences of early modern women and the nature of gender in Europe, the Americas…

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CFP: Project Afterbirth

INTRODUCTION

Most of us dare not question our pregnancy, birth or early parenthood experience for fear of seeming ungrateful, difficult or concerned with ourselves when we should be focused on our children. Most of us simply try to get on with our new lives as best we can, as soon as we can, without acknowledging the long-term impact this short but intense period is likely to have on our sense of self and our relationship with our partners and children.

Yet, some of us are artists as well as parents, sensing the urgency and possessing the skills to commit deep and complex feelings such as those originating from new parenthood to paper, paint, sculpture, poetry, film or other media, thereby rising to the challenge of translating precisely those things often left unsaid into the universal language of art and opening up the crucial debates that eventually break down barriers.

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Using the “poisons of sterility”: Women and contraception during the Middle Ages

The Perceptions of Pregnancy blog, like the Researchers’ Network, aims to reach beyond boundaries and borders, and to facilitate an international and interdisciplinary conversation on pregnancy and its associated bodily and emotional experiences from the earliest times to the present. Today’s post is contributed by Dr Gillian Kenny.

Medieval women not only often had the care of children on their minds, they also had the prevention of more children on their minds too. It is difficult to assess to what extent women and couples acted to control their families during the medieval period (for example by using coitus interruptus) but it seems clear from a myriad of sources that women in particular were aware of contraceptive methods and used them. Thomas of Chobham, writing in c. 1216, contended that women engaged in anti-conception acts when engaging in illicit sexual activity in order to avoid the outcome and that others did it to avoid the pain of childbirth.[1] It is important to note that during the medieval period the difference between contraception (preventing conception) and abortion (the termination of a pregnancy) was not clearly understood largely because the fetus was not really considered as such until ‘ensoulment’ had taken place (known as the ‘quickening’ or when the woman first felt it move).

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‘It was quite shocking’: The Day the Government Leader Voted Against his Government’s Legislation on Contraception

The Perceptions of Pregnancy blog, like the Researchers’ Network, aims to reach beyond boundaries and borders, and to facilitate an international and interdisciplinary conversation on pregnancy and its associated bodily and emotional experiences from the earliest times to the present day. The latest blog post is contributed by Ciara Meehan and explores the ill-fated attempt to legalise the sale of contraception in Ireland in the early 1970s.

Portrait of Liam Cosgrave, on display at Leinster House.

Portrait of Liam Cosgrave, on display at Leinster House.

In 1974 Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Liam Cosgrave took the most unusual decision to vote against his own government. His Minister for Justice, Patrick Cooney, had introduced legislation designed to amend the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1935, under which the importation, display or sale of contraceptives was illegal in Ireland. Cosgrave, however, was a devout Catholic, and Pope Paul VI had re-affirmed the Church’s opposition to artificial contraception when he issued the encyclical Humanae Vitae in July 1968. Cosgrave did not pre-warn any members of his Fine Gael party, nor did he alert his coalition partners in Labour. As the whip had been removed and a free vote allowed, he was not obliged to inform his colleagues. But he was not just an ordinary TD (MP); as the leader of the government, there were certain expectations. As John Bruton (Taoiseach, 1994-97) — normally a supporter of Cosgrave — put it, ‘it was quite shocking … It just wasn’t good leadership’.[1]

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Irish Abortion Literature

The Perceptions of Pregnancy blog, like the Researchers’ Network, aims to reach beyond boundaries and borders, and to facilitate an international and interdisciplinary conversation on pregnancy and its associated bodily and emotional experiences from the earliest times to the present day.

Anyone paying attention to news coverage of Irish politics will know that the parliament recently voted against the fatal foetal abnormality bill introduced from the opposition benches by Independent TD/MP Clare Daly. Or perhaps you saw BBC 3’s recent documentary, Abortion: Ireland’s Guilty Secret? Our latest post is courtesy of Alan Kinsella who has made documents relating to the Irish abortion debate in his election literature archive available to us.

Ireland has had five different Abortion referenda, the first of which was in 1983. In my own material the first time I see abortion mentioned is at the 1981 Fine Gael Ard Fheis (Annual Conference) with the motion ‘That this Ard Fheis calls on the Fine Gael Party to reject abortion’. We also have a commitment on an Abortion Referendum from a 1981 Fianna Fail canvassers’ guide.

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Improving maternal health on a global scale, 5 March 2015

Improving maternal health on a global scale: A historic perspective on the work of WHO and partners

Date: Thursday 5 March 2015
Time: 12:45 pm – 2:00 pm
Venue: Lucas Room, LSHTM, Keppel Street, London, WC1E 7HT, UK
Type of event: Seminar
Speaker(s): Julianne Weis, University of Oxford, Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine

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