CfP: FREEDOM(S) (International Graduate Summer School in Gender History, 06/2020, Naples); by: 29.02.2020

International Graduate Summer School in Gender History for Ph.D. students (Web)

Venue: Naples
Time: 23.-25.06.2020
Proposals by: 29.02.2020

The University of Naples Federico II and the University of Naples L’Orientale, together with the Université de Rouen Normandie, the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, the Università di Roma Tre, and the Universität Wien launch an International Graduate Summer School in Gender History on the theme Freedom(s).

In recent years, the category of freedom has been the object of much debate and interdisciplinary study. The Graduate School addresses the issue of freedom(s) from a historical perspective, in order to highlight the specific gendered meaning the term freedom(s) has had for women and men across time and space.

Since Antiquity, philosophers and thinkers have tried to define the notion of freedom or free will. Roman Law stated that a free person was anyone who was not enslaved and master of himself – which excluded women and minors. This conception persisted during the Middle Ages, when thinkers also stressed the rational capacities of human beings, but had to reconcile them with the existence of an omnipotent deity. A republican tradition based on the writings of Aristotle and Polybium, alive during the Italian Renaissance and English Civil War, stressed the identification of liberty with political participation and non-domination. The gendered dimensions of all these conceptions have scarcely been studied.

The Age of Revolution introduced forms of liberalism and definitions of citizenship that largely excluded and subjugated women, along with black people and members of the working-classes. As many scholars have pointed out, the history of women’s freedom(s) and citizenship rights hardly follows sociologist T.H. Marshall’s argument that citizens acquired rights progressively, from civil rights in the 18th century, to political rights in the 19th, to social rights in the 20th century.

Women’s and gender history have highlighted the need to rethink the relationship between “dependence” and “freedom”; from a liberal perspective, i.e. from a perspective that defines freedom as the lack of constraints, this relationship is invisible. Yet, it dates back to the above-mentioned distinction between those who are masters of themselves and those who are not (women, along with slaves and minors).

Using a gender perspective, the Graduate School aims to discuss the ways in which freedom(s) were debated, redefined, experienced and practiced in different contexts and by different subjects at a local, national and transnational level, and how they changed in history, since the Middle Ages and until the 21st century. The organizers are particularly interested in papers that adopt a global perspective, and that address non-Western case-studies.

The Graduate School invites paper proposal pertaining to three main lines of inquiry, which may also intersect:

  1. How the category of freedom(s) has been defined, experienced and practiced in different contexts and moments, and how a gender perspective changes the way in which we think of freedom(s).
  2. How definitions of freedom(s) have shaped ideas of citizenship, also in relation to personal dependence, and how they have intersected with categories of race, class and sexuality.
  3. The different sites around which freedom(s) have been historically debated, such as the body, sexuality, work, the family, state borders, etc.

During the school, Ph.D. students will present and discuss their research with scholars of the partner universities.

The Graduate School invites Ph.D. students (from the second year on) who wish to participate in the Graduate School and present their ongoing research to submit their applications by sending a brief CV (max 150 words) and a short presentation, in English, of their proposals (max 500 words) by February 29, 2020 to the following email address:

The Scientific Committee will evaluate the proposals, and acceptance notices will be sent by March 31, 2020. Accepted papers must be sent by June 10, 2020.

The language of the conference is English.

Keynote speakers will be announced.

Conference presentations should last no longer than 20 minutes. Each presentation will be accompanied by comments from a member of the Scientific Committee.

Food and housing will be provided by the organizer institutions. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide funds to cover travel expenses.

Scientific Committee: Anna Bellavitis (Università di Rouen), Elisabetta Bini (Università di Napoli Federico II), Daniela Luigia Caglioti (Università di Napoli Federico II), Alessandra Gissi (Università di Napoli L’Orientale), Carmen de la Guardia Herrero (Università Autonoma di Madrid), Margareth Lanzinger (Università di Vienna), Roberta Adelaide Modugno (Università di Roma Tre), Florencia Peyrou (Università Autonoma di Madrid), Domenico Rizzo (Università di Napoli L’Orientale), Emma Sarno (Università di Napoli L’Orientale).