Call for Papers: “Archiving, Recording and Representing Feminism: The Global History of Women’s Emancipation in the 20th Century”

Second Meeting of the International Standing Working Group on Medialization and Empowerment

Convenors: Christina von Hodenberg and Jane Freeland (German Historical Institute London) ǀ Partners: Max Weber Stiftung India Branch Office, German Historical Institute Washington DC, German Historical Institute Rome, Orient Institute Beirut | Venue: New Delhi | Closing date: 14 April 2020

How have feminist stories been recorded historically? Where can we find them in the archive? And how does this shape historical scholarship on women’s empowerment?

Since the 1960s, feminist historians have sought to re-write women into history, recovering their voices and restoring them within a discipline that continues to prioritize the actions of men. As Karen Offen has highlighted, the history of feminism is political history: it is “a more expansive history of politics that incorporates women and analyzes gender politics” (2011). And yet, the task of recovering women’s voices and feminist activism is complicated by normative forces that shape our access to women’s histories. Typical sites of historical research – the mass media and the archive – are built upon and reflect systems of imperial and patriarchal power. By collecting, cataloguing and structuring knowledge, both the archive and the media have pacified and obscured women’s political engagement. At the same time, the emergence of grassroot feminist media and archives may offer the possibility of challenging this relationship. To what extent can feminist historians question normative forces when they rely on archival and media sources? Do alternative archives and media really allow historians access to different stories? Or do these counterpublic spaces also conform to the conditions and norms imposed by the mass media and the archive? And how have changes in the media and archiving over time shaped historical work?

Archiving, Recording and Representing Feminism focuses on this tension and asks how the changing forms in which ideas of feminism were circulated and received has shaped how we understand the history of feminism. We welcome papers that adopt an intersectional or global approach, that reflect on feminist historical practice or that explore counterpublics and grassroots archiving projects.

Emily McPherson College Library, Russell St., circa 1960s | Picture: Museums Victoria

We invite applications from interested scholars from history, sociology, anthropology, media and cultural studies, and gender studies to attend a two-day conference exploring the connections between the media, archiving and the history of feminism. The conference will be structured around common readings, paper presentations and keynote lectures.

The meeting will be held on 10-11 December, 2020 in Delhi, India. Economy travel will be reimbursed and accommodation provided for successful applicants. We invite applications from scholars at any academic level, but would especially welcome applications from PhD candidates and Early Career Academics. The conference language is English.

Applicants are asked to submit a one-page CV and a 200-250 word abstract situating their paper within the themes and issues of the conference to Dr. Jane Freeland by 14 April, 2020. All applicants will be notified by 19 May, 2020.

This conference is part of the international project “Knowledge Unbound: Internationalisation, Networking, Innovation in and by the Max Weber Stiftung.” It is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.


Max Weber Stiftung

The Max Weber Foundation promotes global research, focused on the areas of social sciences, cultural studies and the humanities. Our research is conducted at ten institutes in various countries across the globe with different and independent fields of focus. Through our globally operating institutes, we are able to contribute to the communication and networking between Germany and our host countries or regions. By promoting academic dialogue and merging academic and non-academic employees from several countries with different cultural backgrounds, the Max Weber Foundation is able to strengthen the internationalization of research.

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  1. 25. February 2020

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