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    Documentary Sources for Magdalen History and the Challenges

    Prunty, Jacinta (2018) Documentary Sources for Magdalen History and the Challenges. Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, 107 (427). ISSN 1912-2020

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    This paper is based on research in both an already published history of the institutions run by the Sisters of Our Lady of Refuge in Ireland (more commonly known as Our Lady of Charity, abbreviated as OLC) and a forthcoming study of the order’s archival collections. The weight of negative publicity around the Magdalen asylums, or laundries, creates special difficulties of interpretation for a project of this kind. It can be hard to read the history of OLC impartially. There is a need, as such, to handle the material with care and to step back, in order to understand it in context. At the same time one has to be sensitive in dealing with this history, respecting what it may mean for persons formerly resident in Magdalen institutions or connected with them in other ways. Self-awareness in the researcher is allimportant: awareness of one’s epistemological, methodological, ideological and practical positioning, one’s limitations as a researcher and how one’s stance is always coloured by cultural conditioning and previous experience.2 In my research, intended to be a contribution to scholarship, every effort has been made to deal critically and fairly with the available sources, drawing on historical, geographical and theological understandings that have developed over several decades. The present paper attempts to address some of the difficulties and challenges involved in establishing and understanding the historical record.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Documentary; sources; magdalen; history; challenges;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > History
    Item ID: 13861
    Depositing User: Jacinta Prunty
    Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2021 11:43
    Journal or Publication Title: Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review
    Publisher: Messenger Publications
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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