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Saturday, 12 March 2011

Birth of the Birth Control Clinic conference 11th March

Since I got my paper over very early on, I was able to focus a bit more on the rest of the proceedings. It was an excellent day - attendance was perhaps smaller than one might have liked, but it was a group intensely interested in and knowledgeable about the general areas under discussion, which generated a lot of excellent discussion of papers and panel sessions. Some interesting connections were made.

Because of the vigour of the discussions and the numbers of questions and comments, there was a significant amount of time-slippage over the course of the day, even though one speaker (Sarah Hodges on the neo-Malthusians of Madras) had, sadly, had to drop out.

This meant, unfortunately, that the really excellent last paper - Christina Hauck on Stopes's plays and their relationship to particular episodes in her own life - was rather more thinly attended than it deserved as attendees had to dash off to catch planes and trains or for other commitments. While I suspect anyone who has read any of Stopes's plays will have taken away the impression that the protagonists are very much Marie Sues, Hauck illuminated the extent to which particular plays were working through specific personal issues, and the problems posed by the disjuncture between Stopes's own public and private personae in how she dramatised these.

There was further good informal conversation over wine at the reception and at dinner. At least some of the presentations were recorded and should eventually be available as podcasts, but I also wonder whether the papers would not make a useful edited volume or journal special issue?

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