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Call for papers “Migration and Gender: relationships, economic resources and institutions in historical perspective (15th-20th centuries)


8-9-10th November 2018 (exact dates tbc) at the University of Cambridge (UK).


Migration and mobility were common experiences among individuals of the past. If for a long while the young male has epitomised “the migrant”, since the 1980s, a new wave of studies pointed out the relevance of women. In addition, the notion of gender has called into question traditional female and male roles. Nevertheless, many key issues of the history of migration have not been considered according to a gendered perspective, and in turn, many crucial topics for gender history have been overlooked when studying migrants and mobile people.
This workshop aims to bring together researchers working on migration according to a gendered perspective and to a micro-historical perspective from the late Middle Ages to the early twenty century. Its purpose is to encourage a more incisive dialogue between migration studies and gender studies, taking into account the fact that female and male roles were, and are, the result of social, cultural and economic construction. Together with gender, proposals might consider how marital status, age and ethnicity shaped
migration and settlement patterns in specific economic, cultural and political contexts.
In this workshop, migration is not exclusively understood as a lineal process, but also as result of multiple intermediary steps. At the same time, the achievement of permanent settlement was not necessarily the (first) aim of the movement. For all these historiographical questions, a gendered approach has not yet been sufficiently developed: we invite therefore papers taking into account all kinds of mobility and migration, i.e. temporary or seasonal mobility, economic, political or religious migration, domestic/international migration and mobility between the town and its outskirts.

  • A first group of questions concerns the material and economic resources mobilised by migrants. Proposals might investigate what means women and men used to move and settle down or might study how they manage to maintain – or abandon – assets and/or relationships in their birth community. From another point of view we need to know more about places where newcomers met other people and/or were able to find useful information (i.e. inns, taverns, lodging in private houses etc.).
  • A second bundle of questions concerns the nature and the extension of social resources newcomers were able to mobilise, to build and to use in migration and/or settlement paths or, at least, during their temporarily stay in the town. Research might investigate how these ties – made up by professional intermediaries, individuals or institutions – influenced, successfully or not, the daily life, the research for a job or a house, the access to credit networks, to poor relief or to other urban resources etc…
  • A third bundle of questions concerns laws and customs, and more generally authorities and institutions (guilds, charity institutions, citizenship etc…) monitoring and regulating the presence of newcomers. Proposals might consider whether these norms existed, whether they had a gendered impact on the behaviour of migrants, and what where the factors at stake (marital status, age, specific economic sectors etc…).


Please submit an abstract in English (500 words maximum) to by 15th July 2018 with MIGRATION AND GENDER WORKSHOP 2018 in the subject line. For further enquires please do not hesitate to write to Beatrice Zucca : Accommodation in Cambridge, a dinner and refreshments will be provided by the organisation. Limited funds for travel will be available.
The selected authors will be required to present their research in a 20 minutes presentation. The language of  the workshop is English.
After the workshop a selection of papers will be considered for publication. Some funds will be available for the translation in English of the selected articles.

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