Irish Studies, News

Moving Histories author Jennifer Redmond attends International Women’s Day event with the President of Ireland

On Friday 8th March 2019, Moving Histories author Jennifer Redmond was invited to an event with President Higgins to celebrate “Women In The Sciences” for International Women’s Day at Áras an Uachtaráin.

The reception at Áras an Uachtaráin aimed to apply the 2019 theme of  #BalanceforBetter to the realm of academia, highlighting the benefit of diversity in academic work and paying tribute to the work of Ireland’s female researchers. You can watch, listen to, or read President Higgins’ speech from the event on the President of Ireland website, as well as find out some more information about the event.

Below are some photos from Jennifer’s day which the team at Áras an Uachtaráin have kindly shared with us.

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Moving Histories explores the story of Irish female emigrants in Britain, from their working lives to their personal relationships. Using a wide range of sources, including some previously unavailable, this book offers a new appraisal of an important, but often forgotten, group of Irish migrants.


For more information about Moving Histories, please visit the Liverpool University Press website.


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Art, Enlightenment, History, Irish Studies, Jewish Studies, Literature, Modern Languages, News, Poetry

International Women’s Day 2019

To celebrate International Women’s Day this year, we’ve curated a list of recent work by our brilliant female authors. Keep reading to find out more about some of the key titles by women from across our disciplines!


Sarah Schenirer and the Bais Yaakov Movement by Naomi Seidman

Sarah Schenirer and the Bais Yaakov movement she founded represent a revolution in the name of tradition in interwar Poland. The new type of Jewishly educated woman the movement created was a major innovation in a culture hostile to female initiative. Naomi Seidman provides a vivid portrait of Schenirer that dispels many myths.


Moving Histories by Jennifer Redmond

Moving Histories explores the story of Irish female emigrants in Britain, from their working lives to their personal relationships. Using a wide range of sources, including some previously unavailable, Jennifer Redmond’s book offers a new appraisal of an important, but often forgotten, group of Irish migrants.


Middlebrow Matters by Diana Holmes

Middlebrow Matters is the first book to study the middlebrow novel in France. It asks what middlebrow means, and applies the term positively to explore the ‘poetics’ of the types of novel that have attracted ‘ordinary’ fiction readers – in their majority female – since the end of the 19th century.


Chronicle of Constantine Manasses by Linda Yuretich

Linda Yuretich translates the mid-12th-century Synopsis Chronike by Constantine Manasses, covering a history of the peoples of the East, Alexander the Great’s conquests, the Hellenistic empires, the Trojan War and early empire until the reigns of Constantine I in the East, finally focusing on New Rome and its emperors.


Tyranny and Usurpation by Doyeeta Majumder

Doyeeta Majumder investigates the political, legal, historical circumstances under which the ‘tyrant’ of early Tudor drama becomes conflated with the ‘usurper-tyrant’ of the commercial theatres of London, and how the usurpation plot emerges as one of the central preoccupations of early modern drama.


The Unfinished Revolution by Karen Salt

In The Unfinished Revolution, Karen Salt examines post-revolutionary (and contemporary) sovereignty in Haiti, noting the many international responses to the arrival of a nation born from blood, fire and revolution. Using blackness as a lens, Salt charts the impact of Haiti’s sovereignty—and its blackness—in the Atlantic world.


Wolfe Tone by Marianne Elliott

The paperback version of the second edition of Marianne Elliott’s award-winning and highly acclaimed biography of Theobald Wolfe Tone (1763-98), the founder of Irish Republican nationalism, published earlier this month. Elliott has updated the work with new scholarship, new historical insights and fresh insights, making it a crucial publication for all scholars and readers of Irish history.


A Scientific Companion to Robert Frost by Virginia Smith

Virginia Smith’s A Scientific Companion to Robert Frost, represents the first systematic attempt to catalogue and explain all of the references to science and natural history in Frost’s published poetry.


Les Lumières catholiques et le roman français by Isabelle Tremblay

A pious expedient between philosophy and anti-philosophy can be found in some eighteenth-century novels. The collected essays in this volume edited by Isabelle Tremblay study how French novels of the Catholic Enlightenment contributed to the great debates of the eighteenth century and to the transmission of ideas. They also aim to restore those novels to the literary constellation of the age.


Pavilion Poetry

Pavilion Poetry is Liverpool University Press’ poetry imprint which so far is made up of entirely female poets. In April, the next set of collections will be publishing – Hand Over Mouth Music by Janette Ayachi, Dear Big Gods by Mona Arshi, and The Following Scan Will Last Five Minutes by Lieke Marsman, translated by Sophie Collins.


Writers and their Work

To further celebrate female authors, we’ve curated a collection of  books in our Writers and their Work series which are written either by a female author, or have a female as their subject. View the collection on our website.


For more information about any of the above books, please visit the Liverpool University Press website.


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Jewish Studies

‘Do Not Forsake the Instruction of Your Mother’ – International Women’s Day with Marjorie Lehman

This International Women’s Day, Marjorie Lehman, co-editor of Mothers in the Jewish Cultural Imagination, discusses how she is working to disentangle motherhood from idealised notions of the Jewish family and the stereotypes of the Jewish mother.

Mothers in the Jewish Cultural Imagination (eds.) Marjorie Lehman, Jane L. Kanarek and Simon J. Bronner is published by the Littman Library of Jewish Civilization.

Rooted in Jewish tradition is the notion, conveyed in Mishnah Kiddushin 1:7 and the Talmudic passage that accompanies it BT (Kiddushin 29a), that fathers are commanded to provide for their sons whereas mothers are exempt from this obligation. While the commandment to honour one’s parents obligates sons and daughters, mothers are not legally responsible for the preparation of their sons regarding Torah learning, the performance of mitzvot and/or learning a trade.  Mara Benjamin argues convincingly in her article, “On Teachers, Rabbinic and Maternal,” that we need to rethink the rabbinic model of parenting, modelled as it is on the rabbi/disciple relationship, and consider those involved in child-rearing as metaphorical sages. In making this argument she rethinks motherhood, centring it within a seminal Jewish cultural project—the Talmud–from which it was overlooked in favour of the rabbi-teacher//father-son relationship. As Rabbi Stephanie Ruskay, Associate Dean of the rabbinical school at the Jewish Theological Seminary where I am a professor has noted as part of a recent women and power initiative she is spearheading at JTS: “We want to create and model a healthy culture in which gender is made visible and everyone’s leadership and participation is honored.” For me, that includes how we bring mothers and the act of mothering (even metaphorical mothering) into our classroom discussions. It is important to think, like Benjamin did, of the ways we can not only build, or rebuild, cultures where all feel comfortable, but also recognize the role of mothering as tantamount to the role of the sage. [1]

In collecting the essays that make up Mothers in the Jewish Cultural Imagination (Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2017), of which Benjamin’s is one, we began a shared project to enhance the visibility of mothers and call attention to them as an analytic category essential for narrating Jewishness of the past, the present and the future. This was solely an academic endeavour constructed and fashioned by the theories and methods governing the fields of Jewish Studies and Jewish Gender Studies. Working to disentangle motherhood from idealized notions of the Jewish family and stereotypes of the Jewish mother, this collection of essays was designed to show how Jews use motherhood across time and place as a way to construct and comprehend their culture. Our goal was not to offer a perspective on Jewish mothering or a definition of the Jewish mother but to use “mother” as a site of academic study. Part of the motivation emerged from the fact that we recognized a gap in scholarly work in Jewish Studies regarding focused studies on the “mother.” Viewed often as outside the structures of power, relegated to the inside—to the home—we sought authors who brought complexity and nuance to our understanding of “mother.” As Joyce Antler argues in, You Never Call, You Never Write, if there was ever a successful cultural template working to disempower women, it is that of the mother (Antler 58). As academics and feminist scholars we were propelled forward by a desire to give the category of “mother,” and more specifically, the “Jewish mother” its own voice. In the process, we realized that there was much to be said about the ways in which mothers shape Jewish culture and are shaped by it. Writers, activists, rabbis, artists, book printers and poets have projected, created, engaged, and contested Jewish culture by relying on the trope of “the Jewish mother,” often breaking from biological conceptions of motherhood. The time had arrived, we believed, to intervene in the study of Jewish culture with a focus on “mother,” and spur the field to notice what the study of mothers can contribute.

However, inasmuch as publishing a book on mothers became for us an important scholarly undertaking, we wanted this book to incite greater discourse about mothers and motherhood in general, even beyond the academy. For example, Mary Beard, in her book Women and Power: A Manifesto stresses the degree to which women have been silenced and asks us to think about how to “resuscitate women on the inside of power (Beard 79).” Unfortunately, we have no template for what a powerful woman looks like (Beard 54). And so that leads me now to pose the question: What if we turn to the mother? Is there a way to get to the core of what mothering is so that we can think with it to redefine power? Can thinking about mothering offer us new ways of living in the world, not as mothers necessarily, but as people? In fact, it is just these questions that have led me to begin writing my next book, focused on Talmudic mothers, in order to rethink the role of “mother” in the Jewish culture we imagine for our students, our children and for ourselves today.

More to the point, Sarah Ruddick argues in Maternal Thinking: Toward a Politics of Peace, that motherhood offers us an alternative power model, one that is nurturing and that emerges from a commitment to protecting and preserving another (Ruddick 61-123). Indeed, in mothering we find a usable model that teaches us, even requires us, to give voice to the less powerful, the child, while giving the one in power, the one mothering, a voice as well. Mothering is an act of power, but also one of recognized powerlessness, for mothering requires the protection and preservation of a child for the purposes of enabling that child to achieve independence. And so an acknowledged powerlessness takes over where power once was. This understanding of an ideal type of mothering, taken on by all—mothers and non-mothers—is an idea that has helped me to imagine a world where we can cultivate people who never think about power without thinking about powerlessness, who do not disempower to empower themselves or dismiss anyone out of fear that what might emerge is someone better than who they are. For Ruddick, to adopt mothering as a model is to imagine a world of maternal thinkers, and in so doing, to also imagine a world of people at peace with one another.

So it is up to us, I propose, to think as Sara Ruddick does, and to take on the mission posed by Mary Beard—to contemplate a new power model for our world that is grounded in what comes naturally to so many of us, mothering and the thinking associated with it. Mothers in the Jewish Cultural Imagination is the first step in this process for me. I hope that it guides others in thinking about what mothering can be in the interest of change.

[1]. Note that since the publication of this essay Benjamin has written a monograph on this subject. See The Obligated Self: Maternal Subjectivity and Jewish Thought. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2018.



Antler, Joyce. You Never Call! You Never Write! A History of the Jewish Mother. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Beard, Mary. Women and Power: A Manifesto. New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2017.

Benjamin, Mara H. “On Teachers, Rabbinic and Maternal. In Mothers in the Jewish Cultural Imagination. Eds. Marjorie Lehman, Jane L. Kanarek, and Simon J. Bronner. Liverpool: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization in association with Liverpool University Press, 2017.

Ruddick, Sara. Maternal Thinking. Toward a Politics of Peace. Boston: Beacon Press, 1989.

Marjorie Lehman is Associate Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

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Celebrating International Women’s Day 2018

This International Women’s Day we’re paying homage to the contribution of women to academia by celebrating the work and achievements of our female authors. To capture the spirit of the event, we’ve put together a selection of interviews and original pieces by our female authors alongside the women’s studies titles to watch in 2018…


Irish Medical Education and Student Culture, c.1850-1950

Photograph from L.E. McLoughlin (ed.) Courtesy of the RCSI Heritage Collections. (

Save the Womanhood! 

Samantha Caslin

Coming April 2018

Save the Womanhood! is a fascinating new history of promiscuity, prostitution and the efforts of local social purists to ‘save’ working-class women from themselves.

‘Do Not Forsake the Instruction of Your Mother’

Editor of Mothers in the Jewish Cultural Imagination, Marjorie Lehman, discusses the volume’s role in disentangling motherhood from idealized notions of the Jewish family and stereotypes of the Jewish mother.

Women’s Literary Networks and Romanticism

Edited by Andrew O. Winckles and Angela Rehbein

This ground-breaking collection explores eighteenth-century women arguing that networks not only provided women with access to the literary marketplace, but altered their relations to each other, their literary production, and the broader social sphere.

In Our Time with Celeste-Marie Bernier

In an illuminating interview, Pictures and Power author Celeste-Marie Bernier joined Melvyn Bragg and the In Our Time team to discuss the life and work of Frederick Douglass. Find out what happened when we caught up with her here too!

All-women art spaces in Europe in the long 1970s

Edited by Agata Jakubowska and Katy Deepwell

This book brings together essays about women artists-only exhibitions, festivals, collective art projects, groups and associations. Exploring the idea of heterotopia and feminism as a travelling concept, specific collaborations and initiatives are discussed from across Europe during 1968-1984.

Irish Medical Education and Student Culture, c.1850-1950

Author Laura Kelly discusses the roles of women and religion in medical student culture, and how the student experience differed from that of modern day students.

Virginia Woolf and Her Female Contemporaries

Edited by Julie Vandivere and Megan Hicks

Virginia Woolf and Her Female Contemporaries helps us comprehend the ways that the women writers and artists contributed to and complicated modernism by contextualizing them alongside Woolf’s work.

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