Rosoff to Present at Women’s History Network Conference in Cardiff, Wales

By whitlocd | August 31, 2012

Dr. Nancy Rosoff, Dean of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies, will give two presentations at the Women’s History Network Conference in Cardiff, Wales, U.K., Sept. 9 and 10.

She will present “Creating a Transnational Family: The Early Books of the Chalet School Series” on Sept. 9.

The Chalet School books written by Elinor Brent-Dyer create a family of students and teachers, an alternative community that supplants home for much of the year. The establishment of a community of schoolgirls and mistresses is not unusual in fiction written for teenage girls. However, one special quality of the Chalet School marks it out as different – the multinational nature of the pupils. While individuals retain their national identity, they create a new identity as individual members of a school that creates a transnational identity, drawn from the qualities of its students, teachers, and location. This paper’s focus will be on how a community that transcended the multiple nationalities of its members was created by Brent-Dyer in the first five books of the Chalet School series.

On Sept. 10, Rosoff will present “National, international or transnational? Constructions of femininity in the Chalet school books of Eleanor Brent-Dyer, 1925-1954” with her research colleague, Dr. Stephanie Spencer. Spencer is head of the Department of Education Studies and Liberal Arts at the University of Winchester, and Rosoff is an Honorary Research Fellow of the Centre. The paper focuses on selections from the first thirty books in the Chalet School series (published between 1925 and 1954) to reflect on how the unexpected events of the 1920s, 30s and 40s were incorporated into fictions that educated young girls into a mindset of international co-operation at a time of immense social, cultural, and political change.