Reinventing the Archive – a postcolonial analysis of feminist activism in India and Ireland

Helen Sunderland

Last Tuesday, the Gender and Sexuality History workshop heard from Dyuti Chakravarty, a PhD student in Sociology at University College Dublin. Her research compares two contemporary feminist movements for ‘bodily autonomy’: ‘Pinjra Tod’ (Break the Cage), a campaign against gender-discriminatory policies in Delhi universities and student accommodation, and the campaign to Repeal the Eighth amendment of the Irish constitution, which secured two-thirds of votes in the referendum in May.

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Physical Culture, an intellectual and practical exploration!

George Severs

Last week, Conor Heffernan from University College, Dublin, put the ‘work’ into workshop. His paper on ‘The Irish Sandow School: Physical Culture in Fin de Siècle Ireland’ investigated the various cultures and networks of masculinity which emerged from ‘physical culture’. And it began by involving attendees of the workshop in some gentle exercises!

Physical culture, Heffernan told us, could be seen as the emerging trends of body building, muscle measurement and generally public forms of exercise. Journals quickly emerged to meet the needs of the (mostly) men who became fixated with tracing their physical progress, and who developed a desire to share the measurements of their ever-increasing muscles with the journals’ growing readership. Read widely across Ireland at the fin de siècle, these journals are a fascinating echo of the modern-day trend of body builders and those who ‘go gym’ to record their corporeally expanding exertions and to share them on social media.

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