Labouring Feminism and Feminist Working-Class History in Europe and Beyond. International Conference 28-31 August 2008 in Stockholm, at the Norra Latin conference centre.

In September 2005 the first “Labouring feminism conference” was held at the Munk Centre, University of Toronto. LABFEM2 continued this initiative to focus on labour and gender from a historical perspective.

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Thursday August 28

From 13.00 Registration at Arbetarrörelsens arkiv och bibliotek, Upplandsgatan 4

18.00 Conference opening (AULAN)

18.15 Wanja Lundby-Wedin, president of the Swedish LO (The Swedish Trade Union Confederation)

18.30 – 19.30 Professor Alice Kessler Harris, Columbia University: Gendering labour history

19.30 – 20.30 Reception at Norra Latin, (LJUSGÅRDEN) sponsored by the Labour Movement Archives and Library

Friday August 29

8.00 – 8.25 Tai-Chi (outside the conference centre)

8.30 – 10.00 Parallel sessions

Fri 1 Feminist advocacy, labor activism, and the expansion of the socio-economic rights of the workers: creating new transnational alliances for change (PELARSALEN)

Chair: Ulla Rosén, Växjö University
Comment: Eileen Boris, University of Santa Barbara

  • Anna Guevarra, ”Upgrading and (Dis)empowering Filipinas: The Philippines’ Super Maid Program”, University of Illinois, Chicago
  • Suzanne Franzway & Mary Margaret Fonow, ”Feminism, Queer Labor Organizing and Transnational Labor Activism”, University of South Australia and Arizona State University
  • Kathie Muir, ”Families, thugs and fairness: gender and activism in the Australian Rights at Work campaign”, University of Adelaide

Fri 2 Politics at the point of consumption: women and community organizing (ROOM 252)

Chair: Birgit Karlsson, University of Gothenburg

Comment: Mercedes Steedman, Laurentian University, Sudbury Ontario

  • Julie Guard, ”The Politics of Milk: Canada’s Housewife-activists in the Great Depression”, University of Manitoba
  • Karen Hunt, ”The politics of food as a site for women’s neighbourhood activism in First World War Britain.”, Keele University
  • Judith Smart, ”Consumption, Collectivism and Conservatism: Food in the Mobilisation of Housewives in Interwar South-eastern Australia”, RMIT University, Melbourne

Fri 3 Exploring the historical regulation and reproduction of working bodies through the lens of gender and commodification (ROOM 254)

Chair: Joan Sangster, Trent University
Comment: Leah F. Vosko, York University

  • Julie Dowsett, ”Lighting the Torches of Freedom: Commodity Feminism and a Century of Buying and Selling ’Empowerment’.”, York University
  • Jesse Goldstein, ”Gendering Primitive Accumulation: Workfare and the ’Universalized Male-Breadwinner Norm’, City University of New York
  • Sandra Ignagni, ”Eight hours work. Eight hours sleep. Eight hours play.”: The Gendered Regulation of Leisure in Canada, 1950-1968, York University

Fri 4 Representations of women and work I (ROOM 255)

Chair: Ebba Witt-Brattström, Södertörn University College
Comment: Ruth Percy, University of Southern Mississippi

  • Hilde Danielsen, ”Socialism, psychoanalysis and Feminism. Nic Waal on Frigidity in 1932.”, Rokkan Senter
  • Ylva Mannerheim, ”Swedish working-class women going abroad – a study tour to Moscow in April and May 1934”, Stockholm
  • Danielle Thornton, ”’You can’t do without the girls’: Popular Culture and Political Activism. London’s Factory Girls and the Spectacle of Protest, 1908-1911.” University of Melbourne.
  • Renée Frangeur, ”Kerstin Hesselgren a bordercrossing pioneer”, Linköping University

10.00 – 10.30 Coffee

10.30 – 12.00 Parallel sessions

Fri 5 Representations of women and work II (ROOM 255)

Chair: Ruth Percy, University of Southern Mississippi

Comment: Ebba Witt-Brattström, Södertörn University College

  • Karin Carlsson, ”A heroine of Domestic Service? The Swedish Social Home Help Programme during the 1950s”, Stockholm University.
  • Denyse Baillargeon, ”The housewife and the Miraculous Pill: Advertisement for Medicine and the representation of women’s work and body in Montréal newspapers, between the wars”, University of Montréal
  • Andrée Lévesque, ”Montreal Ladies Garment Workers in the late 1930s: labour, ethnic and gender culture”, McGill University

Fri 6 The communist woman and twentieth-century female activism (Pelarsalen)

Chair: Lars Björlin, Södertörn University College

Comment: June Hannam, University of the West of England

  • Elina Katainen, ”Negotiating gender in the Nordic communist movement in the 1920s and 1930s”, University of Helsinki Rhonda L Hinther, ”Generation Gap: Negotiating Space in the Postwar Canadian Ukrainian Left”, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Gatineau
  • Eva Schmitz, ”Organizing an international communist women’s movement in the 1920s in the context of the Bolsjevik Revolution 1917”, Halmstad University College

Fri 7 Politics of Food and Cultures of Citizenship: Bodies, Boundaries, and Identities (ROOM 254)

Chair: Irene Andersson, Malmö university college

Comment: Kirsti Niskanen, Nordic Centre for gender research, Oslo

  • Marlene Epp, ”Mennonite Cookbooks in Twentieth Century North America: Women’s Labour as Community Identity”, University of Waterloo
  • Lisa Helps, ”’Alleged to be Hungry’: Work, Family, and Food in 1930s North America”, University of Toronto
  • Franca Iacovetta, ”Community, Boundary, and identity: Banquets, Beauties, and Christmas Parties….” University of Toronto

Fri 8 Positioning women in the eighteenth-century European town (ROOM 252)

Chair: Anu Lahtinen, University of Turku
Comment: Elaine Chalus, Bath Spa University

  • Deborah Simonton, ”Negotiating the economy of the eighteenth-century town: gender and space in Northern Europe”, University of Southern Denmark
  • Kirsi Vainio-Korhonen, ”Women workers in relation to the market in eighteenth century Turku (Åbo)” University of Turku
  • Lauri Suurmaa, ”Women in the craftsman’s household in Tallinn in the 18th century”, Tallinn University

12.00 – 13.00 Lunch at Norra Latin

13.00 – 14.00 Professor Miriam Glucksmann, Essex University: Feminist Labouring – 30year reflections on women on the line(PELARSALEN)

14.00 – 15.30 Parallel sessions

Fri 9 The Labour of Politics: women as paid political workers and union organisers in early twentieth century Britain (ROOM 252)

Chair: Linda Lane Gothenburg University
Comment: Pat Thane, University of London

  • June Hannam, ”’Dedicated work and the joy of comradeship’: women as paid organizers and propagandists for the British Labour Party between the wars”, University of the West of England
  • Cathy Hunt, ”’Women will not organise on a sex basis´ sex versus class in the two British trade unions in the early twentieth century”, Coventry University
  • Krista Cowman, ”For labour or for women? From socialism to suffrage with Mary Gawthorpe”, University of Lincoln

Fri 10 Tensions over working women’s activism in the women’s co-operative guild, England and Scotland (ROOM 254)

Chair: Yvonne Hirdman, Stockholm University
Comment: Pernilla Jonsson, Uppsala University

  • Eileen Yeo, ”Is Hairdressing Feminist? Tensions over Activism in the Scottish Women’s Co-operative Guild, 1892-1920”, University of Strathclyde
  • Gill Scott, ”Votes for Which Women? The English Women’s Co-operative Guild and the Suffrage, 1904-1914”, University of Brighton.
  • Valerie Wright, ”The Use of a Gendered Citizenship. The Scottish Co-operative Women’s Guild, c. 1918-1939”, University of Glasgow

Fri 11 Transnational perspectives on feminist labour history (Pelarsalen)

Chair: Silke Neunsinger, Labour Movement Archives and Library, Stockholm
Comment: Camilla Elmhorn, Stockholm University

  • Ann Ighe & Birgit Karlsson, ”International migration, paid domestic work and the modernisation of the labour market in Sweden 1945-1970 – a project outline”, Gothenburg University
  • Dorothy Sue Cobble, ”Transatlantic Labour Feminism in the Post-World War II Era”, Rutgers University
  • Lars Olsson, ”Gendered labor migration. Polish women and men at work in southern Sweden, 1904-1914”, Växjö University

Fri 12 Women in parliaments (ROOM 255)

Chair: Josefin Rönnbäck, Södertörn University College
Comment: Christina Florin, Stockholm University

  • Gisela Notz, ”Labour feminism and female activism in Germany after World War II”, Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation, Bonn
  • Christl Wickert, ”Labour feminism and female activism in Weimar Germany”, Berlin
  • Camilla Norrbin, ”In Their Own Words. Women in the Swedish Parliament 1922-1970.”, Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research Gothenburg

15.30 – 16.00 Coffee

16.00 – 18.00 Roundtable Alice Kessler Harris work revisited (PELARSALEN)

Chair: Franca Iacovetta, University of Toronto

Discussants: Daniel E. Bender, University of Toronto, Gro Hagemann, University of Oslo; Alice Kessler-Harris, Columbia University; Kimberley Philipps College of William and Mary; Cirila Quintero-Ramirez, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte; Leah Vosko, York University; Ulla Wikander, Stockholm University

19.00 Conference Dinner at Norra Latin

Saturday August 30

8.00 – 8.25 Tai-Chi (outside the conference centre)

8.30 – 10.00 Parallel sessions

Sat 1 Organizing across divides: women workers and working class politics in India (ROOM 252)

Chair: Ragnheiður Kristjánsdóttir, University of Iceland

Comment: Amrita Chhachhi, Institute of Social Studies, The Hague

  • Piya Chatterjee, ”Hungry for Justice: Alliance Work and the Politics of NGO-ization in Indian Plantation Women’s Labor Activism.”, University of California Riverside
  • Jayati Lal, ”Citizenship, Labor, and the Limits of Rights Based Claims for Women Garment Factory Workers in India”, University of Michigan
  • Svati Shah, ”Sex Workers’ Organizing in India: Historical and Political Perspectives.”, Wellesley College

Sat 2 Work in and outside home (PELARSALEN)

Chair: Sandra Ignagni, York University
Comment: Anna Thoursie, The Swedish Municpial Workers’ Union

  • Nathalie Le Bouteillec, ”Maternal leave: For the Protection of Women or for the Well Being of the Nation?”, University of Picardie-Jules Verne, CURAPP and INED
  • Tobias Karlsson & Maria Stanfors,”Gender and the role of unions: earnings differentials among Swedish tobacco workers in 1898″, University of Lund (paper will be presented by Maria Stanfors only)
  • Majda Hrzenjak, ”The Status of Domestic Work and Women’s Position in the Labour Market: A Pilot Experiment of Paid Domestic Work in Households with Small Children (the Case of Slovenia)”, Peace Institute Ljubljana
  • Inger Jonsson, ”Restructuring gendered working time regimes? Experiences from the Swedish elderly care”, Uppsala university

Sat 3 Gendered divisions of labour I (ROOM 254)

Chair :Yvonne Svanström, Stockholm University
Comment: Lena Martinsson, Göteborg University

  • Cynthia Loch-Drake, ”Unpacking ’Alberta beef’: Women and work in Edmonton packinghouses, 1947-1979”, York University
  • Maria Vallström, ”Fathers little helper – the construction and contradiction of gender in a lumberjack village”, Uppsala university
  • Stephen Meyer, ”’She-town’: Mechanization, Unemployment, and Male Fears of Women on the American Automotive Shop Floor from the 1920s to the 1940s”, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Sat 4 Feminist organizing I (ROOM 255)

Chair: Ulla Wikander, Stockholm University
Comment: Dorothy Sue Cobble, Rutgers University

  • Christine Collette, ”Feminism, the British Labour Party and, the Women’s National Joint Committee, 1960s – 1980s”, independent scholar, France
  • Jana Günther, ”German Socialist Women – A Difficult Task in German Women’s History”, Humboldt university
  • Cathy Brigden, ”Organising by women for women: the impact of separate organising by Australian women trade unionists in the inter-war years”, RMIT University, Melbourne

10.00 – 10.30 Coffee

10.30 – 12.00 Parallel sessions

Sat 5 Social reproduction and intersectionality in memory of Christiane Harzig (Pelarsalen)

Chair: Elisabeth Elgán, Södertörn University College
Comment: Lars Olsson, Växjö University

  • Paula Mulinari, ”It is so much more than cleaning tables and smiling – you have to be exotic to” Examining the ways in which service work is gendered and racialized. University of Linköping
  • Eileen Boris, ”The Intimate as Public: The Bonds of Home Care”, University of Santa Barbara
  • Franca Iacovetta, ”A Labour Feminist’s Transnational Journey: Christiane Harzig’s Domestic Workers Around the Globe Project”, University of Toronto

Sat 6 Citizenship or survival: the gendered possibilities of working class citizenship in interwar Canada (ROOM 252)

Chair: Joan Sangster, Trent University
Comment: Magda Fahrni, Université du Québec à Montréal

  • Shirley Tillotson, ”Paying the Price of Citizenship: Taxpaying, Working Class Family Finances, and the Municipal Franchise, 1894 to 1936”, Dalhousie University, Halifax
  • Suzanne Morton, ”The Montreal Women’s Directory: Charity, Redemptive Citizenship, and Unmarried Mothers in Interwar Quebec”, McGill University, Montréal
  • LiLynn Wan, ”’Keep Canada Canadian’: Race, and the Rights and Restrictions of Citizenship in Vancouver, 1919-1939”, Dalhousie University, Halifax

Sat 7 Gendered Division of labour II (Room 254)

Chair Yvonne Svanström, Stockholm University
Comment: Alice Kessler-Harris, Columbia University

  • Eva Schandevyl, ”Women’s access to Law courts in Europe: The (Late) Case of Belgium” Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • Cristina Borderías, ”The politics of women’s work: (Spain, 1836-1936)”, Barcelona University
  • Jean Franklin Hancher, ”Please, Teacher! Help me do up my buttons!: Labour Market Segmentation in the Public Elementary Schools of Ontario”, York university
  • Rosemarie Fiebranz, ”I never liked doing housework” A discussion on intersections of norms, made visible by a woman doing men’s work in forestry in mid-20th century Sweden, Uppsala University

Sat 8 Feminist Organizing II (Room 255)

Chair: Ulla Wikander, Stockholm University
Comment: Cirila Quintero Ramirez, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte

  • Dominique Clément, ”’Matrimony is the Most Important Career of All for a Woman.’ Sexual Discrimination in the Workplace in Canada, 1953 -1984”, University of Victoria
  • Kristina Lindholm, ”The Swedish Social Democratic Youth League (SSU) constructing feminism 1970 – 2001” Linköping University

12.00 – 13.00 Lunch at Norra Latin

13.00 – 14.00 Dorothy Driver, University of Adelaide:
Women writing Africa (PELARSALEN)

14.00 – 15.30 The world in the basement. Sources on
gender and women’s history in labour movement
archives (PELARSALEN)

Chair: Anette Eklund-Hansen, Labour Movement Archives and Library & Workers Museum, Copenhagen

  • Ilse Fischer, Archiv der sozialen Demokratie, Friedrich-Ebertstiftung, Bonn
  • Ulf Jönson & Kalle Laajala, Labour Movement Archives and Library, Stockholm
  • Jenneke Quast, International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam
  • Berith Backlund, University Library of Gothenburg

15.30 – 16.00 Coffee

16.00 – 17.30 Parallel sessions

Sat 9 Delivering Cleanliness: Laundry Workers, Office Cleaners, and Wives in the US, Canada and Britain (ROOM 252)

Chair: Franca Iacovetta, University of Toronto
Comment: Annelise Orleck, Dartmouth College

  • Susana Miranda, ”Portuguese Immigrant Women Resist Contracting-Out in Toronto’s Building Cleaning Industry, 1970s-1980s”, York University
  • Jenny Carson, ”Corporate Bullies, Laundry Organizing and Union Renewal in the 21st Century”, Ryerson University
  • Ruth Percy, ”Representations of Womanhood in the Labour Press in 1930’s Britain”, University of Southern Mississippi

Sat 10 Representations of women and work in national censuses (ROOM 255)

Chair: Anita Nyberg, Stockholm University
Comment: Lisa Helps, University of Victoria

  • Eric W. Sager, ”Women, work and wages in early twentieth-century Canada”, University of Victoria
  • Hege Roll Hansen, ”The construction of work and gender in Norwegian Census”, Oslo University
  • Jennifer Stephen, ”Waiting on the ’long run’: Robert Hamilton Coats and the politics of unemployment at the Dominion Bureau of Statistics, Canada, 1935-1940”, York University

Sat 11 Women’s work in long lines (ROOM 254)

Chair: Anu Lahtinen, University of Turku
Comment: Deborah Simonton, University of Southern

  • Giovanna Benadusi, ”Women and Work in Early Modern Italy”, University of South Florida
  • Maria Ågren, ”Gender and work in the early modern world: some questions and preliminary answers” Uppsala University

Sat 12 Feminist working-class literature (PELARSALEN)

Chair: Dorothy Driver, University of Adelaide
Comment: Ebba Witt-Brattström, Södertörn University College

  • Janet Zandy, ”Writing the Common Woman: Formations of American Working-Class Women’s Literature”, Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Soma Marik, ”The Love of Worker bees: Cultural Construction of Gender in Early Post revolutionary Soviet Russia 1918-25”, RKSM Vivekananda Vidyabhavan
  • Kirsti Salmi-Niklander, ”Burst soap bubbles – representations of the ”backlash” of women’s emancipation in Finnish working-class culture during the 1910s and the 1920s.” University of Helsinki.

19.30 – 22.00 Conference Pub

at Rydbergs Bar & Matsal, Drottninggatan 88

Sunday August 31

9.00 – 10.00 Professor Anita Nyberg Stockholm University, Labour force data – ideology or reality? (MUSIKSALEN)

10.00 – 10.30 Coffee

10.30 – 12.00 Feminist theory and working class history

Chair: Ann Ighe, University of Gothenburg
Comment: Elizabeth Jameson, University of Calgary

  • Joan Sangster, ”Words of Experience/Experiencing Words: Reading Working Women’s Letters to Canada’s Royal Commission on the Status of Women”, Trent University

The uses of Joan Scott: Concepts and theories in Nordic studies of gender and work in the 1990s

  • Ulla Manns, ”Joan Scott in a Nordic gender context”, University College of Södertörn
  • Ann-Catrin Östman, ”The Uses of Joan Scott: Nordic women’s history and challenges of mainstream historiography”, Åbo Akademi

12.00 Closing comment

by Yvonne Svanström, Stockholm University

13.00 – 18.00 Excursion: A feminist sightseeing tour to Stockholm’s working women’s history

Planning committee

  • Perihan Aydin, Labour Movement Archives and Library, Stockholm
  • Dr. Silke Neunsinger, Labour Movement Archives and Library, Stockholm
  • Dr. Yvonne Svanström, Department of Economic History, University of Stockholm
  • Dr. Anna Thoursie, Agora, Stockholm
  • Prof. Ulla Wikander, Department of Economic History, University of Stockholm
  • Prof. Ebba Witt Brattström, Comparative Literature, University College of Södertörn

International advisory committee

Professor Eileen Boris, University of California, Santa Barbara; Professor Dorothy Sue Cobble, Rutgers university; Professor Dorothy Driver, University of Adelaide¸ Professor Miriam Glucksmann, University of Essex; Professor Gro Hagemann, Oslo university; Professor Karen Hunt, Keele University; Professor Franca Iacovetta, University of Toronto; Professor Alice Kessler-Harris, Columbia University; Nathalie Le Bouteillec, Université Picardie-Jules Verne, Dr Gisela Notz, Friedrich-Ebert Foundation Bonn; Professor Bente Rosenbeck, university of Copenhagen; Associate Professor Kimberly L. Phillips, William and Mary, Williamsburg

Sponsors and co-operation

Agora, Stockholm

The Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation (Riksbankens Jubileumsfond)

Canadian Committee on Women’s History

Department of Economic History, Stockholm University

FAS Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research

Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES)

The International Institute of Social History (IISH), Amsterdam

International Conference of Labour and Social History (ITH)

Labour Movement archives and library, Stockholm

Stockholm Transport Museum (Spårvägsmuseet)

Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet)