History of WISPS

By Maria Montt Strabucchi • • 18 Jun 2018

History of WISPS

WISPS began in 1998 with some informal meetings between colleagues drawn together under the initiative of Professor Dorothy Severin, Gilmour Professor at the University of Liverpool and, until then, the only female professor in the UK.

The first advertised formal meeting was held on 30 October 1999 at Senate House, University of London. It was a Business meeting and Study day with presentations by Carrie Hamilton, on History, and Lesley Twomey, on Catalan Studies.

The first WISPS conference was held 11-12 May 2000 also at Senate House and marked the formal launch of the Association. The association was to provide a centre for all women working in University departments as well as women working on a wide range of research areas: philosophy, history, feminist theory, linguistics, literature, cultural and textual theory, audio and film studies, performance studies, politics, anthropology and theatre studies, within Luso-Hispanic and Latin American Studies.

The key theme for the First WISPS conference was ‘women and their image’ and papers were given by Nuria Capdevila-Arguelles, Marta Crosby, Nuala Finnegan, Mercedes de Grado, Carmen Herrero, Susana Lorenzo, Andrea Noble, Amparo Quiles Faz and Esther Zaplana Rodríguez, among many others. Papers arising from the conference were published in Donaire 15 (November 2000), edited by Dorothy Severin.

The second WISPS conference was also held at the Institute of Romance Studies, 29/30 June 2001. The keynote speaker was Eukene Lacarra (Universidad del País Vasco) speaking on aspects of prostitution. The proceedings of the second WISPs conference were published in the Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (79, 2002). Speakers included Elena Carrera, Amanda Tozer, Claire Williams, Shelley Godsland, Paul Julian Smith, Susana Lorenzo, and Lisa Clughen.



10th Anniversary of WISPS published volume (includes a short history of WISPS by Dorothy Sherman Severin): Making Waves, edited by Ann Davies, Parvathi Kumaraswami and Claire Williams (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008).

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