par Masquelier, Juliette ;Thomas, Aline
Référence Women History Network 2023 Annual Conference: Women and Migration (1-2 septembre 2023: online)
Publication Non publié, 2023-09-01
Communication à un colloque
Résumé : There is relatively little historical research available on 20th century women in political exile. Typically, the figure of the political exile-activist has been built on the model of masculinity, a tendency that also applies to Belgian historiography. Entirely missing is a more general overview of the phenomenon of women in political exile in Belgium, based on administrative serial sources, without prior choices for particular national groups or links to specific issues.The National Archives of Belgium conserves thousands of files concerning migrant women. These files produced by the Belgian services in charge of immigration and the UNHCR-representation for Belgium constitute a rich and under-exploited material for studying political migration to Belgium in the 20th century. To valorize these sources, the project WOMENEXILE was set up. Firstly, the presentation discuss the possibilities and pitfalls of refugees’ and aliens’ files, as well as the quantitative research possibilities of a recently created post-war refugee database. With illustrative portraits of female aliens and refugees, the challenging search for cases of political activists (1918-1958) in Belgian central government archives will be examined.The second part of the presentation outlines research hypotheses exploring how did the Belgian Aliens Police deal with militant immigrant women, what representations were involved in their identification, with what consequences for these women.