One thing that has been on my mind this week, especially in the lead up to my presentation, is structure and how most effectively to convey the information I have. While this includes sorting, planning and rearranging, I also want to make sure I am clear in terms of concepts, definitions, and generally with the information I am using and conveying.
One aspect of this is in terms of language and uses of specific terms, which can sometimes be slightly confusing and misleading, including for me. Some scholars use ‘transnational’ and ‘international’ interchangeably when describing the nature of women’s organisations, despite the different meanings of these terms. This is compounded by the fact that many of the organisations had ‘international’ in their name, but were transnational in nature. Some, such as the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, were quite clearly transnational, bringing women together to work on issues such as peace while overall disregarding national frameworks. Yet, those such as the International Council of Women had both transnational and international features. This includes being comprised of various national boards but facilitating transnational work, exchange and idea flows. While this can make it a bit confusing at times and slightly blur the lines, I am just trying to remember that it is these transnational aspects I am focusing on, and make this clear in my work.
I also think that I am going to adjust the title of my project. Initially, as I stated in my proposal, I was planning to go with ‘International Women’s Movements and Transnational Feminism: International Women’s Organisations in the Interwar Years’. However, much of my current argument focuses on the Eurocentricity of the main organisations, including in terms of locations, conferences, and where members came from. As Bernhard pointed out to me, by framing the period of study as the ‘interwar years’, I am further contributing to a Eurocentric discourse. Therefore, ‘the 1920s and 1930s’ seems more appropriate. I am also considering adjusting the first part of be more reflective of my emphasis on transnational rather than international aspects of international organisations. However, I feel I may be getting slightly bogged down with the terms at the moment, so I am yet to fully decide…
Finally, my research so far is overall going well. While there are limits to accessing certain primary sources such as some conference reports, I am finding alternatives, including newspapers, letters, and organisations’ publications to gain insight into such events and gatherings. I am excited to see what more I can still find and how it will continue to mould and shape my final project!