Alone against Secularisation? Gender identity in Anglican and Catholic women (England-Spain, 1960-2015)

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This project’s overall objective is to carry out a comparative study of the construction of the self of both Anglican and Catholic women during the last five decades. Following a gender perspective, it will analyse how women belonging to these Churches have reacted to the recent transformations experienced by the English and Spanish societies.

Particularly, this project will focus on two of these changes. Firstly, the accelerated secularisation of both societies, a process which started in the late eighteenth century and was consolidated during the cultural revolution of the 1960s. Since that point, established Churches, such as the Church of England and the Catholic Church in Spain, lost on a great part of their former social support and cultural influence.

The second aspect will be the emergence of second-wave feminism during the 1960s and 1970s, which broadened the feminist agenda to a wide range of issues, such as sexuality, family and reproductive rights.

By relying on oral history methods, especially useful to analyse the complex process of identity construction, this research project wants to know how these women dealt with those social and cultural transformations in order to shape a particular gendered and religious identity.

Three main questions will be addressed by this project:

  • Why and how have these women managed to preserve a strong religious identity within a context of intense secularisation?
  • How has the different evolution of Catholicism and Anglicanism from 1960s onwards affected female believers?
  • How have interviewees managed to reformulate the role of religion in their lives before the feminist claims?

There will also be a workshop at the end of the project, Losing her religion? Gender and religious identity in Anglican and Catholic women (England, Spain, 1960–2020). It will take place online on 29 and 30 September 2021. The definitive program will be announced in early September.

This project is conducted by Dr. Raúl Mínguez and supervised by Dr. Gregorio Alonso, both from the University of Leeds (UK).


Publications and outputs


Conference papers and seminars

  • (with I. Blasco) Chair in the workshop Religión y género en la historia contemporánea within the XV Congreso de la Asociación de Historia Contemporánea, Córdoba (Spain), 9–11 September 2021.
  • Alone against Secularisation? Gender and Religious Identity in Anglican and Catholic Women (England–Spain, 1950–2020), seminar at the Centre for Religion and Public Life, University of Leeds, 3 June 2021.
  • The Council Generation. Gender and Religious Identity in Progressive Catholic Women (Spain, 1960–2020), seminar at the Centre for the History of Ibero-America, University of Leeds, 12 May 2021.
  • Comentario de Sex and Secularism, de Joan W. Scott, seminar of the research group Experiencia Moderna, University of the Basque Country, 14 April 2021.
  • (with Eider de Dios) Fear, Hope and Disappointment. Changing Identities of Progressive Catholic Women in Spain (1939–2015), European Social Science History Conference, International Institute of Social History, Leiden (online), 24–27 March 2021.
  • Con hambre de cultura. Los Centros de Promoción de la Mujer, Seminario Internacional Mujeres fuera de la escuela. Otros espacios de conocimiento femenino, University of Cádiz and UNED, Cádiz (online), 30 November–1 December 2020.
  • ‘Religión, género e historia oral. Una aproximación a las actitudes sociales de las mujeres católicas durante el franquismo’, X Encuentro Internacional de Investigadoras e Investigadores del Franquismo, University of Valencia, Valencia, 13–15 November 2019.

Project website