Constructing the Persona of a Professional Historian: On Eileen Power’s early career persona formation and her year in Paris, 1910-1911

Rozemarijn van de Wal

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    The medieval historian Eileen Power (1889-1940) was one of Britain’s most eminent female historians of the first half of the twentieth century. Becoming Professor of Economic History at the London School of Economics in 1931, Power gained academic recognition to a degree that was difficult for women to obtain in this period. Numerous writings on Power discuss the period 1920-1921, when she travelled around the world as an Albert Kahn Fellow, considering it a formative year in her career and indicating the importance of travel for achieving scholarly success. In contrast, little attention has been paid to the significance of Power’s first academic journey in 1910-1911, when she spent a year in Paris. This stay abroad would however be equally important since it was then that she decided to pursue a career in medieval history.

    At the time, even if women had an academic degree, they were not self-evident, professional scholars. Therefore, the main question in this article is whether and how Power started to build her scholarly persona while in Paris, attempting to construct an identity for herself as a credible and reliable academic. This will be addressed by analysing her personal writings; specifically, her diary and her letters to her close friend, Margery Garrett
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)32-44
    Number of pages13
    JournalPersona Studies
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    • Scientific persona
    • GENDER
    • Life-Writing

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