The mid-twentieth century saw seismic shifts for British women, including those living under British rule in the colonies, in the public and private spheres. These years are often imagined as a wave of expansion and constriction, with the swelling of economic and political freedoms for women in the 1930s, the cresting of women in the public sphere during the Second World War, and the resulting break as employment and political opportunities for women dwindled in the 1950s when men returned home from the Front. But this narrative needs reexamining. This book aims to revivify studies of the female writers living or working in Britain, or under British rule, during the mid-century while also complicating extant narratives about the divisions between domesticity and politics.
We are looking for essays that explore how women represented the transformation of the quotidian, including the home, employment, family life, religious participation, etc. Specifically, we seek contributions that examine how women writers addressed political and wartime upheaval in the 1930s and 1940s along with the substantial shifts that occurred as war-torn countries attempted to adjust to a fraught peacetime in the 1950s, which also saw domesticity reconceptualized as a form of public duty.
We seek contributions to this volume that engage with a variety of fields including (but not limited to) journalism, photojournalism, fiction, archival discoveries, life writing, poetry, and film. We welcome abstracts that focus on single author or comparative, transnational approaches on the following topics:
- How politics shaped, limited, and/or expanded women’s domestic experiences in the mid-century
- The interactions between women and the public sphere, including industry, medicine, education, and politics
- Transnational writing: travel writing, journalism, ex-patriate accounts
- The intersectional politics of race, class, and gender in the domestic and public spheres
- Reconceptualizing the public/private divide in the mid-century
- Colonial and Commonwealth perspectives
If interested, please send a short bio and an abstract of 300 words to Melissa Dinsman (firstname.lastname@example.org), Megan Faragher (email@example.com), and Ravenel
Richardson (firstname.lastname@example.org) by November 1, 2020.
Final chapters of 6000-7500 words will be requested by August 15, 2021.