22 Feb 2023

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CFP: Women and Alcohol conference workshop: Drinking studies. Crossing Boundaries 2023

The women and alcohol project team are excited to announce a conference workshop on women and alcohol as part of the ‘Between the drunken ‘mother of destruction’ and the sober ‘angel of the house’. Hidden representations of women’s drinking in Polish and British public discourses in the second half of the 19th century’ project’. Although the project focuses on 19th C culture, the workshop will cross chronological and disciplinary boundaries. 

This conference workshop will take place at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw on 25 and 26th July 2023. There will also be the opportunity to attend a special workshop by historian and psychiatrist, Dr Iain Smith, on finding and using medical sources on the afternoon of 24th July 2023. 


The conference workshop will be designed to encourage conversations across a range of academic and cultural boundaries (eg. geographical, disciplinary, linguistic, chronological, etc). Many of us in drinking studies are proud of the truly interdisciplinary nature of our field. There is a building consensus that the next step for our field is to increase international cooperation and cross more boundaries. We, as a team, have found it inspiring to work with colleagues across national and linguistic boundaries and we are aware of several other teams in drinking studies who have thrived for the same reason, so this conference workshop aims to support the development of that approach in drinking studies more widely. 
As such, this conference workshop is designed to encourage more discussion and networking than more traditional models. Attendees and speakers will therefore not be required to give the usual 20-minute papers but instead, we ask you to propose: 

themes for possible round-tables
hands-on mini workshops
stimulus talks (of no more than 7 minutes)
other interactive approaches (we are open to your ideas on this)

We will also invite you to be ready to join in the wide-ranging discussions in a range of interesting and stimulating ways so if you don’t want to bring something specific, you can join in the two days as an active audience member. Some sessions will involve walking tours and museum visits and talks.
At this stage, we would like expressions of interest to get an idea of who would like to attend. Please include any ideas for the sort of session you’d like to offer, or any questions at this stage but the first thing we need to know is who would like to come so we can get an idea of numbers and the range of research interests that might be involved. 

Please e-mail Dr Dorota Dias-Lewandowska and Dr Pam Lock on dsnwomencluster@gmail.com by Friday 30 March 2023. 

16 Feb 2023

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Women, Home, and Alcohol: Constructed Façades and Social Norms in Nineteenth-Century Polish and British Representations of Female Drinking Practices

 



Our first article, published in the Journal of Victorian Culture, is now available on their website. It is Open Access so everyone can read it: 

Dorota Dias-Lewandowska, Pam Lock, Women, Home, and Alcohol: Constructed Façades and Social Norms in Nineteenth-Century Polish and British Representations of Female Drinking Practices, Journal of Victorian Culture, 2023;, vcad004, https://doi.org/10.1093/jvcult/vcad004

Abstract

Drinking practices are closely connected to human geography. No matter whether we choose to drink in public, private, or secretly, where we drink is closely connected to how and what we drink. Alcohol-related behaviour by women, enacted at home, can undermine or challenge social norms. However, the transgressive nature of drinking could lead to physical exile or the masking of women’s desire for self-determination. We explore how the social construct of the respectable, decent home relied heavily on façades to ‘keep up appearances’. We demonstrate the place of alcohol in building these façades, and revealing them for what they were. Alcohol in this context was much more than a simple relief for women whether they were a stressed entrepreneur, a violent spinster, or a suicidal mistress. The tensions between the actions of the eight figures examined and the expectations of patriarchal culture represented in these façades demonstrate the extent to which society shaped women’s behaviour towards alcohol in Poland and Britain in the second half of the nineteenth century.

14 Feb 2023

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Team meeting in Glasgow (2022)


Team meeting

Glasgow

1-5 August 2022 


The team behind the NCN funded project, ‘Between the drunken ‘mother of destruction’ and the sober ‘angel of the house’. Hidden representations of women’s drinking in Polish and British public discourses in the second half of the 19th century’ met for their first in-person team meeting in August 2022. We divided our time between discussing the project and working together in a number of archives.

The team meeting was divided into two parts. In the morning, we focussed on discussing the methodology we are developing and had a useful discussion with our mentor, psychiatrist Iain Smith, on medical approaches to women’s drinking in the 19th Century and beyond. In the afternoon, we invited a selection of local scholars from the DSN Women and Alcohol cluster to join us. This gave us the opportunity to share our progress on the project to date and to find out more about their ongoing and related work. These useful conversations were continued over drinks and dinner at the famous Ubiquitous Chip. We examined a range of sources from two archives while we were in Glasgow. We spent two days at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons with their knowledgeable and helpful archivist, Ross MacGregor to unearth some of the gems they have in their stores which have not yet been digitised including papers and artefacts from the famous Glasgow police surgeon, William Mcewan. We spent a further two days in the Glasgow City Archives based at Mitchell Library looking through the undigitised notes from local inebriate asylums and other local hospitals with the assistance of several of their brilliant and helpful archivists. Overall, it was an inspiring and stimulating trip and we are grateful to the NCN for funding this project and helping to bring us together.