Laurie Slegtenhorst invited to present a paper at the Women in Peace and Conflict-Conference in Liverpool

Laurie Slegtenhorst has been invited to present a paper at the 'Women in Peace and Conflict'-Conference on March 9 2016, during the 2nd International Women's Day.
The conference is organized by the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Centre for War and Peace Studies of the Liverpool Hope University. During her presentation, Laurie will talk about Dutch female resistance fighters during the Second World War, and how they are represented in popular musicals.

More information about the conference can be found here.

Laurie Slegtenhorst MA
Heroine or 'bad' girl? The representation of women in Dutch WWII musicals (abstract)

In the Dutch historiography after 1945, there has only been little consideration for the role of female resistance fighters. The famous Dutch WWII historian Loe de Jong for example hardly wrote anything about their role in his magnum opus The Kingdom of the Netherlands during WWII (1969-1988). Furthermore, from the 1960s onwards, the Dutch resistance during WWII was generally viewed in a more critical way.
This changed over the past few years and more historical research has been done on the role of the resistance, both from a heroic and a female perspective. Moreover, in several musicals WWII resistance fighters are the main subject and are represented as heroes again. Surprising is, that female resistance fighters play an important role in these musicals.

The best example is The Girl with Red Hair (Het meisje met rode haar, 2015) about the female resistance fighter Hannie Schaft. Also in the musical Soldier of Orange (Soldaat van Oranje, 2010), women play a very important part in the story. In this last musical a female resistance as well as a female collaborator are represented.
In this paper, the author analyses how women of the resistance are represented in the two aforementioned musicals. In addition, she will make a comparison to the way in which a female collaborator is represented in the musical Soldier of Orange. For this last musical, the author also did an audience survey and asked the public if they felt connected to the actors. Striking is that visitors mentioned both the female resistance fighter as well as the female collaborator. This result shows, that seventy years after the war, people can understand that women could also made the ‘wrong’ choice. Moreover, both musicals show that there is more attention for the part women played in WWII, not only in historiography, but also in popular culture.

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