In December 1922 the US magazine Radio Broadcast published a beautifully written article by Alice R. Bourke. Bourke’s short account of the installation of radio in her family home heralded a set of complex and transformative potentials that were about to be realised within her own work and home life. The story of her career as a journalist, newspaper proprietor and army signals expert and ham radio operator demonstrates how everyday knowledge of radio as a medium of communication provided women with new sets of skills that contested dominant gender and national ideologies. This arrival of radio within the modern home, and the ripples it created in dominant formations of gender, class and nation bring attention to the ways that individual experiences intersect with broader social changes. This article is organised in three sections: the first briefly explains how I have reconstructed Bourke’s work in radio from available sources; the second explains how configurations of biography and history can be read through the concept of intimate geographies; and the third reflects on what Bourke’s encounter with radio tells us about intimate geographies that are still with us today.
- Alice Bourke
- intimate geographies