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Place, life histories and the politics of relief: episodes in the life of Francesca Wilson, humanitarian educator activist

Roberts, Siân Lliwen (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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This study adopts an auto/biographical approach to explore episodes in the life of the teacher, author and humanitarian activist Francesca Wilson (1888-1981). It is concerned with the process of researching and telling aspects of her life history as a means of contributing to the emerging historiography of women educator activists and Quaker women in international humanitarian relief in the first half of the twentieth century. It is structured around the concept of place as an interpretative device, and explores how three particular cities - Vienna (1919-22), Birmingham (1925-39), and Murcia (1937-39) - influenced her sense of identity and self and the trajectory of her subsequent life and activism on behalf of displaced people. Among the methodological aspects considered are issues of ‘truth’ and authorial voice, archival ambiguities and silences, and the role of networks and their representation in the archive. The study analyses her use of life histories for political and educational purposes, a theme that in itself raises other issues. Consequently, the use and exhibition of children’s art as a vehicle for giving ‘voice’ to displaced children is also considered, alongside an examination of the visual and textual representation of children by humanitarian activists and non-governmental aid agencies.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Grosvenor, Ian
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:School of Education
Subjects:LC Special aspects of education
HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Institution:University of Birmingham
Library Catalogue:Check for printed version of this thesis
ID Code:848
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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