Audrey Rousseau, University of Quebec, Seminar 10th November

Nov 03 2022 Posted: 13:09 GMT

The School of Political Science and Sociology invite you to a research seminar with:  

 Prof. Audrey Rousseau 

‘Exploring testimonial sensibilities and credibility judgments with regards to the Magdalen Laundries and the Mother and Baby Homes’ 

Supported by Global Women’s Studies 

Cairnes Building, CA110 

Thursday 10th of November, 2022, 1-2pm 

All Welcome

 For decades, women and children, survivors of institutional and state violence, have kept silent with regards of what was considered immoral whether giving birth out of wedlock, being so-called “illegitimate”, or solely not adjusting to gendered societal norms. In 1990s, but more audibly from 2000s, witnesses have bravely started to tell their story publicly, offering a vivid analysis of how oppression have affected their lives but also, in many cases, the lives of their descendants. Today, their claims for recognition and reparation are taken up in the media and the political realms, including the Ryan report, the McAleese report, the Mother and Baby Homes report. Of course, those committees or inquiries are to be acknowledged, but they also need to be questioned notably in how they treated survivors accounts, and the way they often missed opportunities in challenging official historical accounts on violence. Firstly, drawing on observations from my PhD thesis, which aimed at reflecting on the capacity “as a giver of knowledge” involved in the act of remembering in the struggle for recognition of the Irish Magdalen Laundries, 1993-2014, I wish to discuss the defamatory discursive ethos (based on suspicion and blame) that has long stood in the way of women's experiential narration. Secondly, I will explore the bases of a new comparative discourse analysis challenging the differential logic at work between the Magdalen Laundries and Mother and Baby Homes in the Republic of Ireland (1993-2022). In doing so, I hope to investigate how prejudice based on gender, class, and age, may still be at work in depicting and distributing a capital of sympathy and veracity judgment while listening sensitively to survivors, activists, and their descendants.


Audrey Rousseau is an Associate professor in sociology at the Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO), Canada. She specializes in the study of contemporary memorial processes, including the politics of recognition and redress of historical injustices in relation to colonial and gender-based violence experienced by Indigenous peoples in Canada, as well as the confinement and forced labour of thousands of women in religious institutions in Ireland (18-20th centuries). Aside from two book chapters (University Press of Florida and Manchester University Press), she has mostly published in French-speaking journals such as Études Irlandaises, Études Féministes, and Criminocorpus