CfP: Women as Political Actors in History: The Central European Context (Publication: Gender, rovné príležitosti, výzkum / Gender, Equal Opportunities, Research); DL: 30.09.2015

Special issue of the journal Gender, rovné príležitosti, výzkum / Gender, Equal Opportunities, Research (Web), Guest editors Jitka Gelnarová and Marie Fousková

Abstracts by 30 September 2015

The topic of women’s political agency in Czech, Slovak and Central European history provides rich research opportunities. Central Europe itself represents an interesting area for comparative study. Besides its shared communist past and the post-communist transformation, it is both connected and divided by the deeper history of the multinational Habsburg monarchy, which bestowed unequal power status upon its nations.

The dominant notions of political agency and political actor are deeply gendered. While history textbooks and museum exhibitions are permeated by the image of the masculine political actor, women are often shown as objects or victims of politics, rather than actors in their own right. Writing about women as actors in political history thus takes two basic forms. The first one uncovers women’s political activities in the conventional sense of the word, long neglected by the mainstream political science and history. The second form follows the motto “personal is political” and assigns political status to activities which have been traditionally represented as apolitical, thus redefining the very concepts of political action, political sphere and space, and politics itself.

This issue welcomes both of these forms of writing. Its aim, on one hand, is to disrupt the dominant concept of the political actor by uncovering types of political activity differing from those which have traditionally been noticed. On the other hand, it is important to avoid sequestering women in the ghetto of motherhood, domesticity and everyday life. Similarly, women’s political activity cannot be reduced to feminist activity only. The issue is open to papers on female political actors who were not involved in the feminist movement or who were even explicitly opposed to it.

The discussion shall focus on the following central research areas: constructs of political agency, delimitations of political sphere and space, and the study of historically defined subjectivities of female actors. The topic itself is interdisciplinary and intersectional. We encourage contributions which transcend the confines of individual disciplines and understand gender in connection with other categories such as class, nation, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation etc.

Contributions can focus on the following subjects within Central Europe from 1848 up to the present:

  • Historical constructs of women’s political agency.
  • Female political actors’ concepts of politics and delimitations of the political sphere and space.
  • Women in political structures and structures of power. The interplay between structure and actor.
  • Women’s self-understanding as political actors and their strategies for coping with the gendered nature of the political sphere.
  • Women’s activities in protests and revolutions. War-time resistance, dissent, collaboration. Social movements (anarchism, feminism, anti-feminism, environmentalism, religious social movements etc.). Political extremism.
  • Argumentation strategies of female political actors.
  • Female political subjects as objects – women as objects of propaganda or election campaign. Representations of politically engaged women in the media, in literature and the cinema etc.
  • Renouncing one’s status of a political actor as a form of political action.
  • Methodological aspects of researching women’s political agency in history.

If you are interested in publishing a paper, please send your abstracts by 30 September 2015 to the editorial board at and to the guest editors at and The deadline for accepted papers is 15 March 2016, followed by a double-blind peer review process. Papers must be submitted in Czech, Slovak or English (if authors do not speak Czech or Slovak). Submissions of topic-relevant book reviews and reports are welcome. Please see for submission guidelines. The issue is planned to be published in autumn/winter 2016.

Jitka Gelnarová and Marie Fousková, guest editors