My dissertation focuses on British and Irish women, their experience of trauma during the First World War, and the potential for care and treatment they received as a result. Through this work, I interrogate gendered conceptions of trauma, specifically “shell shock,” and how medicine, culture, and society have combined to exclude women’s experiences from discussions of these conditions.
Studying the humanities thus helps us develop critical thinking skills, deeper analyses, and creative thinking. They challenge us as scholars and as individuals not to take the world at face value, but rather to challenge hierarchies, contest traditional narratives, and amplify the voices that have gone overlooked and under-valued.
Professionally, as a scholar whose work engages with so many fields of study and theory, I am very eager to learn from the fellows in my cohort, and to use their expertise to enhance and enrich my own work on gender and the expression of pain. Personally, I have spent nearly five years at Northeastern considering all the things I want to read and work on in some nebulous future when I have time. I have that time now, and that is a luxury for which I am exceptionally grateful.
Bridget Keown received her BA in History and Russian Literature and Language from Smith College and her MA in Imperial and Commonwealth History from King’s College London. Her work focuses on British and Irish women and their experience of war trauma during the First World War and Irish War of Independence. She has been awarded the Larkin Research Fellowship in Irish Studies from the American Conference for Irish Studies to continue this research. During the summer of 2017 she contributed guest blogs for the American Historical Association as one of two AHA Today Blog Contest winners (http://blog.historians.org/2017/06/gendered-treatments- trauma-first- world-war/). She is currently a contributing writer to Nursing Clio (https://nursingclio.org/author/bkeown/).