The limits of agency: Emily Hobhouse's international activism and the politics of suffering

Rebecca Gill, Cornelis Muller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This article pieces together the activism of the British welfare worker and feminist-pacifist Emily Hobhouse (1860–1926) during two largely unrecorded episodes of transnational activism: firstly, her ministry of Cornish miners in Virginia, Minnesota, in the United States; and secondly, her interventions during the period of reconstruction following the South African War (1899–1902). The article endeavors to contextualize Hobhouse’s activism and offer a broader understanding of the limitations and restraints on her actions. Ultimately, her activism required a platform that was in the gift of political actors and establishment figures, and dependent on fluctuations within specific political and bureaucratic situations. Based on close inspection of undocumented material in both South African and British archives, the article investigates Hobhouse’s repertoire of missionary and philanthropic roles within a wider context of humanitarian politics. It demonstrates how women’s activism and their behind-the-scenes politicking informed political decision-making in modern imperial and international affairs.
LanguageEnglish
Pages16-35
Number of pages20
JournalSafundi
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2018

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welfare worker
political decision making
miner
missionary
political actor
gift
fluctuation
ministry
reconstruction
politics
Activism

Cite this

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The limits of agency : Emily Hobhouse's international activism and the politics of suffering. / Gill, Rebecca; Muller, Cornelis.

In: Safundi, Vol. 19, No. 1, 19.01.2018, p. 16-35.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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