Ireland s Magdalen Laundries and the Nation s Architecture of Containment

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Ireland s Magdalen Laundries and the Nation s Architecture of Containment

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Description

The Magdalen laundries were workhouses in which many Irish women and girls were effectively imprisoned because they were perceived to be a threat to the moral fiber of society. Mandated by the Irish state beginning in the eighteenth century, they were operated by various orders of the Catholic Church until the last laundry closed in 1996. A few years earlier, in 1993, an order of nuns in Dublin sold part of their Magdalen convent to a real estate developer. The remains of 155 inmates, buried in unmarked graves on the property, were exhumed, cremated, and buried elsewhere in a mass grave. This triggered a public scandal in Ireland and since then the Magdalen laundries have become an important issue in Irish culture, especially with the 2002 release of the film The Magdalene Sisters.

Focusing on the ten Catholic Magdalen laundries operating between 1922 and 1996, Ireland s Magdalen Laundries and the Nation s Architecture of Containment offers the first history of women