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Project to explore the experiences of women who entered into mixed Black Caribbean and White British relationships in Leicester between 1948 and the 1970s

Posted by ap507 at Mar 28, 2017 10:40 AM |
University of Leicester study seeks to interview women throughout Leicestershire

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 28 March 2017

To arrange an interview with Sue Bishop please contact her on sb649@student.le.ac.uk

A local mature student studying at the University of Leicester is keen to hear from women willing to share information about relationships they are in/have had with men of different ethnic backgrounds to themselves.

The study will specifically examine relationships between Black Caribbean and White British heterosexual couples that were formed between 1948 and the 1970s.

Sue Bishop, currently studying for a Master’s degree in History, is just about to start her postgraduate dissertation in the University of Leicester’s School of History, Politics and International Relations.

As we head towards the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the SS Empire Windrush in 1948, the project aims to uncover the critical role played by local women in a key aspect of British social history.

Sue’s work aims to uncover the memories women have of their daily lives as girlfriends, partners, wives, possibly mothers and widows. She wants to identify where women found support for their relationships and the strategies they used to mitigate familial and social objections if they came across them. The project will also assess the impact of the relationships on the women’s sense of identity.

Sue said: “For many people during that early period after the Second World War, the idea of a woman entering into a romantic relationship with someone with a different ethnic heritage, would have been considered a significant transgression of social norms. I want to explore what being in such relationships was really like for women.

“The focus of the study is to uncover how these relationships began and then developed, for example, where courting took place, and where and how the couples lived. Much has been written about the children born to mixed couples in Britain, but little research has been carried out to uncover the personal experiences of their mothers, and those women in similar relationships who did not have children, who were living in a society that was coming to terms with the effects of post-war Commonwealth immigration.”

As part of the project, Sue is keen to hear from Black Caribbean and White British women who, respectively, entered into relationships with White British and Black Caribbean men between 1948 and the 1970s, and who would like to be part of this study.

She added: “At the time, many women may have felt that starting a relationship with someone of a different ethnic background to themselves was nothing out of the ordinary. However, my initial research already shows that the choices they made reflected real assertiveness and an independence of thought. Existing history does not tend to associate these personal attributes with women entering adulthood in the 1950s and 1960s and I want to challenge this traditional thinking. Collecting the women’s personal stories will also help to highlight the significant historical part that their decisions played in the development of everyday multicultural living.”

Simon Gunn, Professor of Urban History, from the University of Leicester’s Centre for Urban History added: "Sue’s project will uncover an aspect of Leicester’s history that, surprisingly, has so far been neglected. It will add a new dimension to our historical understanding of gender and race dynamics in the British city.”

The research project is to be completed by the end of summer 2017.

ENDS 

Notes to Editors:

For more information please contact Sue Bishop on sb649@student.le.ac.uk

 

 

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