Intercontinental Crosscurrents “Transatlantic Women at Work: Service in the Long Nineteenth Century” Virtual Conversations Continued

April 7, 2 pm– 4 pm (Berlin, CET) via Zoom

The London and Berlin Lyceum Clubs – Service, Transnational Advocacies and Nationalist Self-interest before World War I” by Christine Spreizer (Queens College/CUNY)
Response by Joanne Paisana (University of Minho, Braga, Portugal)

Abstract and Bio

Lecture Abstract: My talk will give an overview of the early years of the London Lyceum Club (1904) and its first branch in Berlin (1905), highlighting their attempts to foster transnational understanding and collaboration during the early 20th century, while furthering their class-based professional, social, economic and national self-interests. The unilateral and collaborative initiatives of the London and Berlin clubs up until World War I, in many ways, shared a trajectory common to other transnational institutions of Edwardian Britain and Wilhelmine Germany – namely, the seemingly contradictory and accelerating rate of transnational- and nationalist-oriented activities as they vied with one another on the world stage.

Women’s “service” played a multi-faceted role in this regard. While each club advocated for women’s rights broadly defined and sought to move largely (upper-) middle class women to a more central role in their respective national settings, the founding London club made no secret of its service to England’s imperialist interests via its intent to establish “daughter” branches throughout the world. Likewise, the Berlin club sought to position its many service-oriented activities to Germany’s advantage during a time of tense Anglo-German relations.

As an example, my talk will focus on Hedwig Heyl (1850-1934), co-founder of the Berlin club. A successful businesswoman and committed social reformer, Heyl was an influential figure in health, nutrition, and social welfare circles from the late 1880s into the 1920s. She was well-connected within Berlin’s circle of progressive aristocratic and bourgeois liberal reformers, who in turn had deep connections to England’s most influential aristocratic families. Heyl was also adept at coupling her many initiatives in some way to Germany’s national-political self-interest to advocate a more central role for women in German society. She led the Berlin club’s Social Welfare commission for many years, co-founded the Nationaler Frauendienst upon the advent of WWI, and advocated for women’s inclusion in Germany’s imperialist designs as chair of the Frauenbund der deutschen Kolonialgesellschaft (1910 to 1920).

Short Bio: Christa Spreizer, Associate Professor in the Department of European Languages & Literatures at Queens College/CUNY, received her PhD and MA in German Literature from the University of Pennsylvania, and her BA in Economics and German from Mount Holyoke College. She heads the QC/CUNY German Program, and serves as the academic adviser for the FUBiS/CUNY Winter and Summer study program. Her research interests include nineteenth and twentieth century German literature and culture. Her most recent book project focuses on the transnational Lyceum Club network and its Anglo-German cultural collaborations during the early 20th century. Her volume on women and journalism, „Discovering Women’s History: German-speaking Journalists 1900-1950“ appeared in 2014.



Bringing Home the Bacon: Narratives and Images of the Manileña Career Women in Periodicals (1898-1938)” by Katherine G. Lacson (Ateneo de Manila University, Q.C. Philippines)
Response by Alice Bailey Cheylan (University Toulon, La Garde)

Abstract and Bio

Lecture Abstract: The increase in educational opportunities during the American occupation opened up new and varied occupations for the women of Manila. Through the usage of text and iconography in periodicals, this study will show growth in gainful occupations and how it brought about a new set of narratives and images of the Manileña as a career woman. This study will also discuss the Manileña’s trials and tribulations as her entrance to the working world pitted her against issues that concerned the male/female and public/private sphere dichotomies.

Keywords: History of Women, Philippine History, Manileña, Career Women, Periodicals

Short Bio: Katherine G. Lacson is an Assistant Professor at the Department of History at Ateneo de Manila University, Q.C. Philippines. She holds a PhD in History, University of Cote d’Azur, France. Her research interests include Philippine History, Women’s History, Visual History, and Business History. She is currently working on a book manuscript about representations of Manileña women during the American period in the Philippines.

E-mail: klacson[at]


Register in advance for this meeting at:–qpzsqGd0P9Har9g81jOH25iRUdDdo 
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Virtual conference organizers:
Laura-Isabella Heitz, MLU Halle-Wittenberg
Khristeena Lute, SUNY Adirondack
Julia Nitz, MLU Halle-Wittenberg
Sandra H. Petrulionis, Penn State University, Altoona