Jill Bender : “The ‘Marriage Force’: Mid-nineteenth-century Irish female migration to southern Africa” (28/02)

Jill Bender, de University of North Carolina at Greensboro, présentera sa communication “The ‘Marriage Force’: Mid-nineteenth-century Irish female migration to southern Africa” le jeudi 28 février de 17h30 à 19h30. Maison de la Recherche, 28 rue Serpente, Paris 6e , salle D421.

During the mid-nineteenth century, colonial officials proposed sending impoverished Irish women to the distant colonies of the British Empire, where they might marry restless settlers. On the surface, these migration schemes appeared to benefit both Ireland and the colonies of destination, including Australia, Canada, and southern Africa. According to colonial officials, Ireland would be rid of a superfluous population, the Irish women would attain social and economic advancement, and the colonies would gain much-needed female migrants. Yet, authorities quickly found their optimism tempered by realities, as they faced difficulties posed by religious and cultural differences before the migrant ships had even departed. In this paper, Jill Bender examines an 1850s migration scheme designed to send Irish women to marry members of the British German Legion in southern Africa. Her study not only addresses questions of migration and gender, but also explores the ways in which local concerns in Britain and Ireland could and did shape imperial policies.

Discutante : Marie Ruiz (Université Jules Verne, Amiens)