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Dana van Beurden MA

PhD candidate


Christine Mohrmann: scholar at the intersection of gender, religion and academic culture

Radboud Universiteit
Promotor(es): Prof. Marjet Derks, Prof. Maarten Depourcq, Dr Jan Brabers
Aanstelling: vanaf 1 januari 2020

The (inter)nationally renowned classicist Christine Mohrmann was the first female professor to be
appointed at the Catholic University in Nijmegen in 1953. Mohrmann was a woman ahead of her time in certain respects, whilst in other respects she was a child of her time and clung strongly to tradition. While many people in the 1920s and 1930s still had to get used to the idea that women were going to university, Mohrmann was ready to occupy the highest position in the academic world. However, she found herself in the conservative corner when it came to the democratization of the university and the renewal of the church.
In order to do justice to this complex and seemingly contradictory woman, I would like to study the dynamics between her identity as a woman, a Catholic and a classicist in the context of the construction of the predominantly male academic culture and the confessional context. Questions that come to mind: How did Mohrmann perform her identity in different social and professional contexts? What role did masculinity, femininity, religion and her discipline play in the construction of her scientific identity? How did Mohrmann deploy religion and her field of the classics in all kinds of debates in the course of time? How was Mohrmann portrayed by others and for what purposes?
In order to answer, amongst others, these questions I will conduct a discourse analysis. Besides words, I am also interested in studying the embodied aspects of identity, which may contribute to a better understanding of identity constructions.