Meet our last panel of Wednesday’s conference

Translating Feminism


The last panel of our Wednesday conference will talk on the topic of ‘The Transnational and ‘Second-Wave’ Feminism.


SPEAKER 1. Hannah Yoken , University of Glasgow, United Kingdom

‘From Books to Letters – Textual Communication and Transnational Nordic Feminism’


The Nordic countries are globally perceived as exemplar nations for gender equality, particularly women’s socio-political leadership and state welfare provisions. Yet, feminism did not develop in these settings uninfluenced. From the 1960s to the 1990s Nordic feminist thought and action has been influenced by the cross-cultural exchange of ideas, texts and individuals. My doctoral research investigates how and to what extent transnational influences affected the development of feminism in the Nordic region since the 1960s. Specifically, this study critically assesses how Nordic feminist activists appropriated and reinterpreted incoming ideas and political practices to fit their local needs. It is asked whether a distinguishable ‘Nordic feminism’ exists and what impact it has had in the international feminist arena during the second half of the twentieth century. Methodologically this study combines printed primary sources and personal testimony, including oral history. The proposed paper analyses the ways in which information from abroad was transmitted into and circulated within the Nordic region. This will be done by focusing specifically on various forms of textual communication from the early 1970s to the late 1980s. The paper therefore focuses on three categories of text: 1) women’s calendars, 2) books, and 3) letters. I will utilise women’s calendars to characterise the feminist movement(s) in the Nordic countries and contextualise their transnational links. Various feminist books will then be used to answer the following key questions: how were key feminist texts imported into the Nordic countries, which books from abroad were considered important enough to translate into the Nordic languages, and what international topics captured the imaginations of Nordic feminist book production. Finally, personal and organisational letters will be used to illustrate the extent to which written communication created a concrete transnational network among feminist activists in the Nordic countries, and beyond. Questions concerning language and translation will be interwoven throughout these three categories of primary source analysis, and I will posit that in the Nordic case necessity and practicality often trumped theoretical and complex approaches to translation.


Hannah Yoken is a Finnish-American SGSAH / AHRC funded PhD candidate at the University of Glasgow researching transnational Nordic feminism from a historical perspective. During her studies Hannah has specialised in the development of various social movements and countercultures in post-war Europe and North America. Methodologically, she has a strong interest in oral history and social theory.


SPEAKER 2. Elissa O’Connell, University of Bristol, United Kingdom

‘ ¡Mujer, Vida, Acción! Translating the Universal in Latin American Feminist Magazines and their Translocal Solidarity Networks’


This paper explores how an emerging praxis of feminist archival translation may reconcile the ‘collaborative (un)learning’ of transnational feminism’s dominant narratives of a ‘global sisterhood’ with a re-envisioning of the universal ‘in translation’. Through an analysis of 1970s and 80s Peruvian and Chilean feminist magazines Acción, Vida and Mujer this paper considers how solidarity pages publishing letters and news acted as ‘multilingual strategies of connectivity’ between transnational feminist alliances and transversal spaces for the renegotiation of the universal and translocal. This research paper forms part of a wider inter-disciplinary collaborative project based at the Feminist Archive South which seeks to bring to light under-explored narratives of intersectional activism and question the power dynamics between networked transnational and translocal feminist movements. Drawing on a decolonising feminist translation politics that de-privileges dominant voices from the Global North, these magazines reveal how ‘the transnationalization of feminisms requires local knowledge and experience in order to establish those commonalities upon which these alliances may be built. With this logic, this archival praxis attempts to evolve an understanding of transnational feminist solidarities as translocal connections contingent on socio-spatial temporalities in flux and contested universals ‘in translation’. Archival material spanning over two decades enables a mapping of the networks of indigenous women and women of colour in the Global South, thereby highlighting shared creative strategies to confront ‘scattered hegemonies’. In particular, the solidarity alliances documented in Peruvian and Chilean feminist publications exemplify how their universal ‘in crisis’ was redefined as the patriarchal oppression of dictatorship and the displacement of exile. In conclusion, this paper will reflect upon how Tissot’s idea of the universal ‘in translation’ and Butler’s conceptualisation of the universal ‘in crisis’ allow us to revalue the transgressive and transformative power of ‘sisterhood in solidarity’ from new perspectives.


Elissa O’Connell is a feminist teacher, activist and translator of Spanish studying an MA in Comparative Literatures and Cultures at the University of Bristol. As well as researching transnational feminist networks in the Feminist Archive South, she leads the education strand of a cross-disciplinary project working to collectively research, translate and digitise the unexplored narratives of intersectional feminist activism within the archive.


SPEAKER 3.  Penny Morris, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom

‘Translating Feminism in the 1970s Italian magazine Effe’


The magazine Effe was published from 1973 until 1982, the longest-running Italian feminist publication of the period. In marked contrast with the strategies adopted by other Italian feminist publications of the time, it was the only one to have national distribution and to be sold on news stands. References to feminist movements and initiatives beyond Italy were a constant feature of the magazine throughout the decade. Translations of extracts of texts produced in other languages also appeared very frequently. This paper will analyse the way that Effe used non-Italian texts and will consider the processes involved in their selection, contextualisation and translation. It will also consider the process of political translation in a broader sense, examining the way that Effe positioned itself as a point of mediation between Italy and the wider world, and within Italy between the feminist ‘movement’ and a broader, non-activist, female readership.


Dr Penny Morris research interests lie in the social and cultural history of modern Italy, with a particular emphasis on the history and writing of women, the intersection between public and private, and the role of emotions in history. She has written on the writer and resistance activist Giovanna Zangrandi, on women in postwar Italy, on the writer Alba de Céspedes, on the reception of the Kinsey reports in the 1950s, and on feminism and affect in 1970s Italy. Dr Morris has organised, with Franceso Ricatti and Mark Seymour, the collaborative Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of Modern Italy on the theme of ‘Italy and the Emotions: Perspectives from the 18th century to the Present’ (IGRS, London, 2009), and in addition to chairing the Translating Feminism steering committee, she was a lead investigator on the AHRC funded network ‘La Mamma: Interrogating the National Stereotype’ (2012–2014). Dr Morris is author of Giovanna Zangrandi: Una vita in romanzo (Cierre, 2000), as well as multiple articles and book chapters. She is editor of Women in Italy 1945–1960 (Palgrave, 2006); Italy and the Emotions, Special Issue of Modern Italy 17.2 (2012); and Politica ed emozioni nella storia d’Italia dal 1848 ad oggi (Viella, 2012). She is currently working on a critical anthology of Alba de Céspedes’ letters column in the 1950s as well as a book-length investigation into the role of advice columns and emotions in Italy.

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