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A sculpture from below

On Wednesday 17 November, we were joined by Professor Corinna Peniston-Bird (History, Lancaster) who spoke on the ways in which gender hierarchies have shaped Britain commemorative landscapes.

The 21st century has proved a fascinating period in which to study the commemoration of the World Wars in Britain. Since the turn of this century, the memorial landscape of Britain has been revised through numerous new monuments seeking to emphasise old or insert new narratives into public representations of war. This is particularly striking in terms of gender: whereas civilian men remain marginalised, in representations of women the breadth of roles adopted in wartime are increasingly acknowledged. However, their potential to disrupt the gender order is consistently contained.  Drawing on a wide range of monuments, some archival holdings and a smattering of oral interviews, the paper reflected on the sculptural renderings of wartime hierarchies of service. This event was organised by Birmingham Research Institute for History and Cultures (BRIHC), in collaboration with the Centre for War Studies (CWS).