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Past Caring? Gender, Work and Emotion - A talk by Professor Barbara Brookes

How do we write a history of caring? This became a central question for Barbara Brookes in writing A History of New Zealand Women. There have been major transitions in the locus of care over time. In the early twentieth century, for example, unmarried daughters might be expected to care for their parents in old age. In the mid-twentieth century, married women with children were expected to care for them. The care of children and the elderly, expected in the past to be the responsibility of families and to take place in family homes, or benevolent or church institutions, might now take place in a commercial context. In the twenty-first century, such caring – both for the elderly and the young – may be part of the market economy. This talk will consider the changing landscapes of care and their implications in the twenty-first century.

Time and place for the August talk:

Wednesday 2 August 2017 at lunchtime: 12.15pm to 1.00pm

Please come to Te Ahumairangi (ground floor), National Library Building, corner of Molesworth and Aitken Streets, Thorndon, Wellington. 

Image ref: Audrey and Gladys Thetford cooking dinner together. Ref: O.027961/3, Te Papa

Barbara Brookes is Professor of History at the University of Otago. Her most recent book A History of New Zealand Women (Bridget Williams Books, 2016), won the Ockham Award for Best Illustrated Non-Fiction.

Professor Barbara Brookes with her award-winning book ' A History of New Zealand Women'.

These free public history talks are a collaboration between the National Library of New Zealand and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. We look forward to seeing you at the Library on Wednesday 2 August at 12.15pm.  

No need to RSVP but seating is limited so please come along in time to be seated for a prompt start.

Note: talks are recorded and will be available online at

Updated on 2nd August 2017