Researcher Dagmar Wernitznig participated at international conference organised by Society for the History of Emotions. The event “Going Places – Mobility, Migration, Exile, Space and Emotions” was held from 30th August to 2nd September, online as well as in person in Florence, Italy. More about the event here.
‘My Dear Child:’ Refugeeism and Gender in Trans-Generational
Ego-Texts after the Second World War
Dagmar’s paper contextualizes post-conflict emotions at the intersections of refugeedom and maternalism. Focus of this analysis are archival files by female displaced persons, who documented their experiences as mothers during the wake of the Second World War in the ethnic, cultural, and linguistic triangle of Austrian, Italian, and Slovene borderlands.
By utilizing material housed at local depositories, such as correspondence, diaries, and poems, the narratives of women refugees at the dawn of the Cold War are unpacked regarding intra-family trauma and auto-therapy as well as emotional expressions of motherhood. Frequently recorded and preserved for their offspring, such texts by mothers illuminate migratory experiences in the vicinity of the newly drawn Iron Curtain and through a gendered lens. For instance, E. P., exiled from her home near Maribor during the wake of the First World War, preserved a journal about her post-1945 fears, hopes, and anxieties that she later presented as an ‘heirloom’ to her adult daughter, then a toddler. In Dagmar’s presentation, the ramifications of micro-historical sources like E. P.’s trans-generational diary are also related to contemporary and global issues of alienation, affections, and asylum.