Interview of the month: Mnémosyne (2/2015)

Every month, EPWS presents the characteristics and activities of one Member Association.

Read all the previous Interviews with our Members here

 

Our Member for February 2015 is the French association Mnémosyne – association pour le développement de l’histoire des femmes et du genre

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Association website: www.mnemosyne.asso.fr/mnemosyne
Contact this association: www.mnemosyne.asso.fr/mnemosyne/contact
Contact this member: myriam.boussahba-bravard@univ-paris-diderot.fr

For Mnemosyne, Myriam Boussahba–Bravard, Professor at the University Paris Diderot – Paris 7, has accepted to answer the EPWS questionnaire.

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EPWS: If you wanted to describe your association in one sentence, what would you say?

M. B.-R.: Mnemosyne is a vibrant association with many projects and dedicated members.

EPWS: What are the objectives of your association?

M.B.-R.: Mnemosyne has three main objectives:

1. Organize a national network about gender issues; be a resource for institutional demands and act as a lobbying force in national current issues
2. Promote research activities in the history of women and gender
3. Provide knowledge to the general public as well as secondary teachers through participating in the History Fair in Blois; providing teachers and voluntary groups with tools and resources in the history of women and gender ; awarding its yearly prize for a Master degree dissertation

EPW: what is the history of Mnemosyne, in a few words?

M.B-R.: Mnemosyne was set up in 2000 with the will to promote the history of women and gender in France. To forward this objective, it has its online review, genre & histoire that publishes 2 issues a year (genrehistoire.revues.org/) and welcomes younger researchers ‘work. Since 2003, Mnemosyne has awarded a prize for a second year Master dissertation dealing with the history of women and gender. The award-winner gets 800 euros and a help from a Mnemosyne member to turn her/his dissertation into a book published by Rennes University Press for which we fund publication. When members pay their registration fee, they are given one copy of the prized book. Since 2010, Mnemosyne has organized its presence in Blois, the biggest history fair in France, where we book a stall to sell our literature and talk with visitors. We also organise a round table about the fair theme as applied to women and gender (see our website, Facebook and twitter).

EPWS: Could you explain the organization of your association?

M. B.-R.: Members are mostly academics and secondary teachers, mostly women, without exclusive. Our executive committee (12 women and men) works on our three remits: networking about gender issues in France, researching and transmitting about the history of women and gender.

EPWS: What are its recent achievements?

M. B.-R.: We survive with members’ registration fees, (irregular) state funding and since 2010 royalties. In 2010, Mnemosyne published a textbook with lots of iconography to help secondary teachers to address the history of women and gender with their classes. The 33 contributors (mostly Mnemosyne members) left their individual royalties to Mnemosyne: La Place des femmes dans l’histoire (Belin, 2010) got excellent reviews and has already gone through two reprints, to our great pleasure (See the reviews on www.mnemosyne.asso.fr/mnemosyne/).

Every year, our general meeting is the opportunity to meet members. On the same day, open to everybody, we organize a conference on a topic and in a location, different every year. On 24 January 2015, we co-organised a very stimulating conference in and with Les archives nationales, «Dans les coulisses des archives: où sont les femmes? »; in January 2014, Mnemosyne discussed « Genre et medias en France: de la Fronde à Causette ». Mnemosyne conferences can be listened to on our website.

 

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EPWS: What is your agenda for the coming months?

M. B.-R.: There is the yearly business to be organised as well as possible. But we have several specific projects sponsored or co-organised by Mnemosyne for 2015.

8 march 2015 (Women’s Day): a conference in Memorial de la Paix in Caen, France, with Mnemosyne members’ contribution

25-27 March 2015 :
a conference “Les femmes dans le monde académique” with Mnemosyne members’ contribution, university consortium, Sorbonne Paris Cité April to June 2015: establish a list of and contact individually all local equality staff appointed to schooling boards. And then write to them.

2014-2016: We (8 members of Mnemosyne) have been collaborating to a university-based editing to publish (2016) a textbook about European primary sources/ texts in the history of women and gender. Our idea is to provide an effective tool for secondary teachers here in France and why not in Europe if there is some interest.

EPWS: Are you collaborating with other EPWS members?

M. B.-R.: For Mnemosyne, I have recently joined the meetings of the French EPWS section. Exchanging about our practices with the representatives of EPWS French associations is very interesting and it certainly helps to make EPWS also part of the national picture.

EPWS: What do you expect from EPWS? In what ways can it help you develop your action?

M. B.-R.: We examine EPWS information about European gender issues and its review of European research literature and legislation. It is useful for us as individual researchers and as a national network promoting gender. Mnemosyne is also keen to liaise with other national EPWS associations whether they work in history or not. We already have international members, but would like to have more European individual members to make the most of their commitment to gender and their networks.

 

www.mnemosyne.asso.fr

 

 

Read all the previous Interviews with our Members here

 

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