'Collective Motherliness' in Italy and Spain: Reception and Reformulation of Ellen Key's Ideas on Motherhood and Female Sexuality in a Southern European Context (1900-1939)
The project is financed by the Swedish Research Council
Project leader: Elena Lindholm
Project member: Ulla Åkerström, Gothenburg Universtity
The purpose of the project is to investigate how the Swedish pedagogue Ellen Key's ideas on collective motherliness and maternal love as a social force were received and reformulated in Italian and Spanish feminist literature of the early 20th century. The project's starting point is the hypothesis that Key's concept of collective motherliness was a notion that, for feminists in Italy and Spain, worked as a bridge between tradition and modernity in a time of rapid social change. This was due to Key's emphasis on the female body as the ethical axis for the building of modern society. It permitted an unholy alliance between traditionally catholic notions of motherhood, and women's highly controversial advances as both political and sexual subjects during the early 20th century. A broader aim is to contribute with new knowledge to the general charting of European feminist thinkers from the early 20th century, how they interacted and how their ideas were received and adapted to different contexts. The project's methodological point of departure will primarily be the reception theory developed within the field of Cultural Studies. Because of its focus on the collective production of meaning on behalf of reader communities, the concept of interpretative communities is useful for investigating the remediation of Ellen
Key's ideas in a Southern European context. The concept of modernity will also problematized as well as the intersections between woman and modernity.
Feminism and Modernity in Carmen de Burgos´ Travelogues from Europe and the Nordic North at the beginning of the 20th century
The project was financed by Riksbankens jubileumsfond, a foundation supported by the Swedish Central Bank.
At the beginning of the 20th century the Spanish writer, journalist and women´s rights activist, Carmen de Burgos, made several journeys in Europe. These journeys are reproduced in her published chronicles and three travelogues. Previous research has focused on Burgos' literary and political writings, but largely ignored her travel texts. Furthermore, research on cultural contacts between Spain and the Nordic countries has not taken into account Burgos' depiction of the Nordic North. Taking into consideration Burgos´ importance in the contemporary Spanish debate on the nation´s modernization and women´s rights, an analysis of how these issues are dealt with in her travel texts is an important task to undertake. Burgos' stances in the European geography rendered in the travelogues can be observed in a wider geographical and ideological setting, in which the female subject presented in the texts can be observed in relation to the changing and gender-coded space of travelling. The aim of the research is to investigate the travelling subject represented in the texts, and to analyse how discourses on Spanish feminism and modernity are depicted in an early 20th century European setting, and to place a special focus on Burgos' portrayal of the Nordic North. The texts will be analysed on the basis of a contextual framework consisting of Burgos' literary and journalistic production, archive material and other contemporary writers' texts in the travel genre.
In November 2008 Elena Lindholm Narváez defended her dissertation entitled "Ese terrible espejo": autorrepresentación en la narrativa sobre el exilio del Cono Sur en Suecia, which focuses on narratives representing Latin American exile in Sweden. The literary texts that constitute the source material are written by authors from Uruguay, Chile and Argentina who lived in Sweden between 1973 and 1990. The dissertation investigates how exile identity is represented in the texts, but also how time and space in exile is depicted in relation to memories of political repression from the time before the exile.