Education, Identity and Women Religious, 1800-1950: Convents, classrooms and colleges, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Education, Identity and Women Religious, 1800-1950

Convents, classrooms and colleges, 1st Edition

Edited by Deirdre Raftery, Elizabeth M. Smyth


222 pages

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This book brings together the work of eleven leading international scholars to map the contribution of teaching Sisters, who provided schooling to hundreds of thousands of children, globally, from 1800 to 1950. The volume represents research that draws on several theoretical approaches and methodologies. It engages with feminist discourses, social history, oral history, visual culture, post-colonial studies and the concept of transnationalism, to provide new insights into the work of Sisters in education.

Making a unique contribution to the field, chapters offer an interrogation of historical sources as well as fresh interpretations of findings, challenging assumptions. Compelling narratives from the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Africa, Australia, South East Asia, France, the UK, Italy and Ireland contribute to what is a most important exploration of the contribution of the women religious by mapping and contextualizing their work.

Education, Identity and Women Religious, 1800–1950: Convents, classrooms and colleges will appeal to academics, researchers and postgraduate students in the fields of social history, women’s history, the history of education, Catholic education, gender studies and international education.


At the point when the number of women entering religious life continues to di-minish, the editors and authors are to be congratulated on an important addition to the growing research on women religious’ historical experience. As Raftery and Smyth note, the book “represents the energies of scholars who recognise that there is much more work to be done”

Joyce Goodman, Spring 2017 issue (vol.29, no.1) of Historical Studies in Education / Revue d'histoire de l'éducation

Table of Contents

Foreword Carmen Mangion. Introduction Deirdre Raftery and Elizabeth Smyth 1.Coming to an Edge in History: Writing the History of Women Religious and the Critique of Feminism Phil Kilroy 2. From Kerry to Katong: Transnational Influences in Convent and Novitiate Life for the Sisters of the Infant Jesus, c. 1908-1950 Deirdre Raftery 3. Continuity and Change within the Toronto Convent Academies of the Sisters of St Joseph and the Loretto Sisters, 1847-1950 Elizabeth Smyth 4. Sister Physicians, Education, and Mission in the Mid-twentieth Century Barbra Mann Wall 5. Sisters as Teachers in Nineteenth Century Ireland: The Presentation Sisters Catherine Nowlan Roebuck 6. Sisters and the Creation of American Catholic Identities Margaret Susan Thompson 7. ‘Have Your Children Got Leave to Speak?’: The Teacher Training of New Zealand Dominican Sisters, 1871-1965 Jenny Collins 8. Great Changes, Increased Demands: Education, Teacher Training and the Irish Presentation Sisters Louise O'Reilly 9. The Situational Dimension of the Educational Apostolate and the Configuration of the Learner as a Cultural and Political Subject: The Case of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions in the Canadian Prairies Rosa Bruno-Jofre 10. A Path to Perfection: Translations from French by Catholic Women Religious in Nineteenth-century Ireland Michele Milan 11. Mother Gonzaga Barry and Loreto Education in Australia Jane Kelly

About the Editors

Deirdre Raftery is Chair of Research in the School of Education, University College Dublin, Ireland, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, UK.

Elizabeth M. Smyth is Professor and Vice Dean in the School of Graduate Studies, University of Toronto, Canada.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Education

This series aims to present the latest research from right across the field of education. It is not confined to any particular area or school of thought and seeks to provide coverage of a broad range of topics, theories and issues from around the world.

Please send inquiries or proposals for this series to one of the following:

Emilie Coin: [email protected] – Editor, UK, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East

Elsbeth Wright: [email protected] – Editor, North & South America

Vilija Stephens: [email protected] – Editor, Australia & New Zealand

Katie Peace: [email protected] – Publisher, Asia


Learn more…

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