Centre Maurice Halbwachs

Group:Chercheurs et Enseignants chercheurs, Chercheurs Permanents

Clyde Marlo Plumauzille

Chargée de recherche, CNRS
Discipline: Histoire
EUR Sciences sociales du genre et de la sexualité

Personal informations


Presentation Recruited at the CNRS in 2018, my research lies at the intersection of the socio-history of the working classes, gender studies and a history of women's work in industrial societies. I am currently conducting an investigation on wet nurse and childcare work in France (18th-20th century) in order to appreciate the dynamics of gender, class, and race, but also the power relations and multiple links that are played out in the sharing of child rearing in industrial societies. As a member of the executive committee of the EUR School of Gender and Sexuality Studies (EHESS/Ined) and deputy head of the Master in Gender studies at EHESS, I strive to promote research training in gender studies through research. I am also a member of two editorial boards, that of the journal Clio. Femmes, Genre, Histoire and the journal Genèses. Histoire, Sciences sociales. Finally, I co-direct with Caroline Ibos the Interdisciplinary Research Group on Domesticity, and with Anaïs Albert, Fanny Gallot, Anne Jusseaume, Eve Meuret-Campfort and Mathilde Rossigneux-Méheust the Research Group on Gender and the Working Class.

Research project's summary

At the crossroads of the history of women and gender, the history of work and the history of the family, this research aims to make the history of wet nurses and their paid maternity in France, when wet nursing is a key form of childcare, reaching peaks that are nowhere equalled in Europe. Attentive to its massification and institutionalisation, this study runs from the first attempts by the State to regulate this market in 1715 to the end of the wet nurse’s status with the creation of the function of maternal assistant on 2 October 1945. It is based on a multi-situated approach between town and country, metropolis and empire, France and neighbouring countries, with the aim of restoring the interplay of scales and the spatial, economic, social and family interdependence that underpins childcare. “Women with mercenary breasts” (Louis-Sébastien Mercier), essential childcare providers until the beginning of the 20th century, wet nurses are at the heart of this survey. By shedding light on these “mothers in the shadows”, grasping the logics that structure the wet nursing market and studying the relations of mutual dependence at play in the wet nursing trade, I wish to understand to what extent this domestic and reproductive work has been a central link in the social organisation of modernity.

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