CfP: Tracing Social Change: „Family Planning“ since the 19th Century (Event: 01/2022, Marburg); by: 20.03.2021

Project „‚Family planning‘ in East Central Europe from the 19th Century until the approval of the ‚pill'“ (Web)

Venue: Marburg
Time: 26.-28.01.2022
Proposals by: 20.03.2021

Social change caused by industrialization and urbanization as well as by cultural and political modernization provoked a reconfiguration of family conceptions. The demand to determine the number of offspring became a major political claim of women’s rights movements before it became part of “normality” within family life. “Family planning” as a practice was hence a result of value changes caused by social changes: since then, it developed step-by-step from a major individual practice to a human right. During social, political, and economic crises and periods of rapid social change, “family planning” has become a target of political attacks, for example as revealed by the new Polish anti-abortion law and discussion about sexual education.

Once again, women’s reproductive and sexual rights have become highly politicized, and the question of family planning has become a state interest rather than an individual choice. Today’s changes in political and social beliefs, challenges for gender equality, and obvious attacks on women’s reproductive rights suggest that understanding the past can help identify, analyze, and recommend tools to prevent such populist and undemocratic efforts.

The conference „Tracing Social Change: ‚Family Planning‘ since the 19th Century“ aims to trace the social transformations which effected changes in the understanding of „family planning,“ and thus of family conceptions, in Eastern Europe and aims to compare these changes and turning points with processes in Western Europe.

This call for papers intends to initiate scholarly collaboration, resulting in cutting-edge research on the past and present of family planning and its impact on states, nations and communities in Eastern Europe and beyond. With this call for papers we wish to offer a space for mutually beneficial conversation and connect researchers’ expertise and historical knowledge on many Eastern European and international contexts, concluding with a publication. The planned process regarding the publication is outlined below.

Papers should explore the past and present of family planning as a practice and value in and beyond Eastern Europe, addressing a variety of topics. The project team wishs to provide a space for papers that introduce new knowledge on and develop creative approaches to studying family planning. They encourage applications that

  • explore a topic which has been under-researched
  • re-think established and unquestioned knowledge
  • include comparative approaches to family planning
  • provide new research methods.

All papers should present original research based on primary and secondary sources.

Deadline for submitting paper proposals (in English, approx. 300 to 500 words) and short (15-line) biography: March 20, 2021. Proposals should be sent to: Notification of acceptance of the paper proposals: April 15, 2021.

Meeting and publication scenario: In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the project team proposes a two-step meeting scenario:

1) Participation of all invited presenters in a workshop to introduce and discuss ideas and drafts of papers: July 12, 2021

1.1) Selection of papers presented for the edited volume (about 12 to14, as part of the book series New Perspectives on Central and Eastern Europe): by end of July 2021

1.2) Deadline for draft chapters (in English, approx. 5,000 to 7,000 words): December 1, 2021. The word count leaves space for further elaboration after the conference, see point 2) below. The draft papers will be pre-circulated among participants before the conference.

2) The second step will be a two-day international conference at the Herder-Institute in Marburg, Germany, in which findings will be presented. The conference brings together workshop participants and invited international experts to discuss the draft chapters. All participants are asked to give a 20-minute presentation of their approaches and findings. The project’s final conference will take place January 26-28, 2022. Travel and lodging expenses will be covered by the project „‚Family planning‘ in East Central Europe from the 19th century until the approval of the ‚pill,'“ funded by the German Ministry of Science and Research.

2.1) Deadline for submission of finalized chapters (max. 9,000 words): February 28, 2022

PD Dr. Heidi Hein-Kircher