cocoa party

A cocoa party from Royal Holloway College, London (circa 1890). From Bluestockings by Jane Robinson (Penguin Books, 2009).

The In Parenthesis Group hosted our first Cocoa Party for women philosophers this week in the Fellow’s Lounge of the Institute of Advanced Study at Durham University. A group of women philosophers which included lecturers, readers, PhD students, research fellows, teaching fellows and a publisher met over mugs of hot cocoa and brandy. We are following the tradition of cocoa parties for young woman students in British Universities at times when women were not allowed to mix with men or leave their colleges without chaperones. These parties afforded young women an opportunity to socialise but also to talk about their university work. One of the aims of the In Parenthesis project is to find out more about women’s cocoa parties and the role they played in young women’s university life, particularly in the context of women studying philosophy at Oxford during wartime. These all women’s spaces were significant for sharing ideas and creating a philosophical community outside of the formal classroom. We will be hosting cocoa parties each term in Durham, get in touch and let us know if you host your own!