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Call for papers for the conference “Recovering Women’s Identities between Centre and Periphery (XVI-XX Centuries)”.


The conference will be hosted at Senate House, Malet Street, London on 5 – 6 March 2020.


This two-day conference aims to recover and put across the voices of women in France, Italy and across Europe who defied the existing order and the rules of society. It intends to recover the forgotten voices and experiences of these women, who might not have had a prominent role in their world during their lifetimes, but, nevertheless, contributed to shape our present.

For centuries, concepts such as infirmitas, imbecillitas and levitas were considered key characteristics of women. Therefore, the construction of the identities of both women and men was framed by the dichotomy between the private and the public sphere, and by the opposition between obedience, a woman’s virtue, and command, the prerogative of men.

Beyond the conceptualisation and idealisation of the female sex, however, a close investigation of everyday realities questions this long-standing, stereotyped notion of women, uncovering a different scenario, including women who did not passively accept their status. In a static, hierarchical, male-dominated society, some of these women reacted against the constraints imposed upon them and challenged their family, their society, their worlds. Theirs were small, but powerful acts of resistance against and disruption of the status quo.

Confirmed keynote speakers include: Professor Helena Sanson (University of Cambridge) and Professor Alberto Mario Banti (University of Pisa).


Proposals for 20-minute papers should be submitted to Dr SaraDelmedico ( by 30 November 2019, and should contain the following information: name, email, title of the paper and abstract (max 300 words) and a short bio.

The attendance fee (£35) will cover the costs for lunch and other refreshments.

Organisers: Dr Katia Pizzi (University of London) and Dr SaraDelmedico (University of Cambridge).

The organisers are grateful to the Cassal Trust, University of London, and Il Circolo for their sponsorship of this event.

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