Assoc. Professor Cara Delay Wins Gold Award

delayThe Coordinating Council for Women in History has given Dr. Cara Delay its first annual Gold Best Article award. The $500 prize is given to the best article published in a peer-reviewed journal in the year prior to the award year. The CCWH announced the award in its winter newsletter, excerpt below:

The CCWH is pleased to an-nounce that the first recipient of the Gold Award goes to Dr. Cara Delay of the College of  Charleston. Her article is titled “Women, Childbirth Customs, and Authority in Ireland, 1850-1930.” Delay’s article explores childbirth in modern Irish history, with a focus on popular belief (folklore and oral traditions, attitudes, and under-standings of birth) and religious rituals. Through an analysis of oral histories, diaries, memoirs, autobiographies, and folklore narratives, it illuminates wom-en’s experiences, with a par-ticular focus on poor rural and working-class urban women. Local customs such as fairy belief and centralized Church rituals including the churching of women highlight the ways in which ordinary women faced layers of regulation by both their local communities and the Catholic Church. Tensions be-tween local communities’ super-vision of reproduction, the Catholic Church’s views of childbirth and its surrounding rituals, and the ways in which women themselves viewed preg-nancy and birth provide a window into changing authority structures in modern Irish history as well as women’s abilities to negotiate these changes. The ex-amination reveals that some women challenged the dom-inance of patriarchal and Church authorities, hoping to secure a comfortable place for themselves and retain autonomy in modern Ireland. The newly established Gold Award is named for longtime member, activist, and scholar, Carol Gold whose life and work exemplify the mission of the CCWH – to promote women’s history and to support women in the historical profession.

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