CFP: Early Modern Women’s Mobilities

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Early Modern Women:An Interdisciplinary Journal

Volume 14.1 (Fall 2019) will feature a forum on “Early Modern Women’s Mobilities”

The scholarship on early modern women has moved far beyond the long-held notion that women remained in the home. Indeed, mobility was a defining feature of many women’s lives.  For this forum, we are interested not only in examples of women’s mobility, but also research that interrogates the far-reaching implications of that mobility for women and considers how it informs our understanding of gender in the early modern world.

We seek essays that examine but are not limited to:
•       Migration and settlement (actual and imagined, internal and external)
•       Travel (actual and imagined, local and global, voluntary and involuntary)
•       Gendered understandings of distance and space
•       Movement and the body
•       Modes of transportation
•       Intersectionality and mobility

Please send abstracts of 500 words to the editors ( by September 30, 2018. Completed essays of 3500 words will be due on January 30, 2019.

Call for Papers: New Perspectives in Feminist Labour History

International conference
New perspectives in feminist labour history: work and activism
Bologna, 17-18 January 2019
This two-day conference hosted by the EHLN working group “Feminist Labour History” and the SISLAV working group “Gender and Labour”, supported by the Department of History and Cultures at Bologna University, explores new perspectives in gendered labour history as arising in Europe and around the world since the beginning of the 21st century. The conference builds on and moves forward the debates on and within feminist labour history which took place during the Turin (2015) and Paris (2017) conferences of the ELHN, with the aim of including selected papers in prospective book projects.
The first day of the conference will be devoted to the theme work and gender in context, and addresses two large research contexts: 1) the variety of forms of work, waged and unwaged, emerging in different historical periods and places in formal as well as informal economies, and in occupations traditionally connoted as male or female ; 2) the impact of socio-economic transformations at the crossroads of the productive and reproductive spheres. Topics include (but are not limited) to the following: precarious, informal, subsistence workgender in typically male occupations or branchesgender and deindustrialization; the home/household/work nexus.
The second day will be devoted to the theme women’s workers organizing, and addresses two large research contexts: 1) forms of labour-related collective action in different circumstances, time and spaces; 2) the role of individual women and the women’s movement in addressing workers’ rights from a gender perspective. Topics include (but are not limited) to the following: biographies and digital humanities; varieties of work-place related activism; women and trade unions; women’s movements and women workers’ rights.
Deadline for submissions:
The deadline is July 10th, 2018. The outcome of the selection will be communicated by August 1, 2018 and the programme will be published by September 15, 2018. Full papers (6000-7000 words) are due by December 15th.
How to apply:
Please send a 500-word abstract and a short academic CV (max 500 word) to The proposal should include name, surname, current affiliation and contact details of the proponent. The subject of the email needs to be: “New perspectives in feminist labour history”. For additional information:
The conference will take place on January 17 – 18, 2019, hosted by the Department of History and Cultures of the University of Bologna (Bologna, Piazza San Giovanni in Monte 2).
Scientific Committee:
Rossana Barragan International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam; Eloisa Betti University of Bologna; Eileen Boris University of California ­­­­(Santa Barbara) – International Federation for Research in Women’s History (President); Diane Kirby University Melbourne; SilkeNeunsinger Labour Movement Archive, Stockholm; Karin Pallaver University of Bologna; Leda PapastefanakiUniversity of Ioannina; Paola Rudan University of Bologna; Marica Tolomelli University of Bologna; Shobhana Warrier University of Delhi; Susan Zimmermann Central European University (Budapest) – International Conference of Labour and Social History (President)

CFP: Migration and Gender : relationships, economic resources and institutions in historical perspective (15th-20th centuries)

Izaak Van Oosten, Landscape with Travellers on a Road, 17th Century

Proposals are invited for a workshop on Migration and Gender which will take place between on the 8-9-10th November 2018 (exact dates tbc) at the University of Cambridge (UK).

Migration and mobility were common experiences among individuals of the past. If for a long while the young male has epitomised “the migrant”, since the 1980s, a new wave of studies pointed out the relevance of women. In addition, the notion of gender has called into question traditional female and male roles. Nevertheless, many key issues of the history of migration have not been considered according to a gendered perspective, and in turn, many crucial topics for gender history have been overlooked when studying migrants and mobile people.

This workshop aims to bring together researchers working on migration according to a gendered perspective and to a micro-historical perspective from the late Middle Ages to the early twenty century. Its purpose is to encourage a more incisive dialogue between migration studies and gender studies, taking into account the fact that female and male roles were, and are, the result of social, cultural and economic construction. Together with gender, proposals might consider how marital status, age and ethnicity shaped
migration and settlement patterns in specific economic, cultural and political contexts.

In this workshop, migration is not exclusively understood as a lineal process, but also as result of multiple intermediary steps. At the same time, the achievement of permanent settlement was not necessarily the (first) aim of the movement. For all these historiographical questions, a gendered approach has not yet been sufficiently developed: we invite therefore papers taking into account all kinds of mobility and migration, i.e. temporary or seasonal mobility, economic, political or religious migration, domestic/international migration and mobility between the town and its outskirts.

Continue reading “CFP: Migration and Gender : relationships, economic resources and institutions in historical perspective (15th-20th centuries)”

Postdoctoral Fellowship: Economic development and occupational structure of the Okanagan, British Columbia, and Canada Since the Second World War

There is an opportunity to apply for a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship through the University of British Columbia’s Internal Banting Competition for study on Economic Development and Occupational Structure of the Okanagan, British Columbia, and Canada since the Second World War.

The Okanagan is today one of Canada’s key entrepreneurial and growth regions. The principal city, Kelowna, is the largest metropolitan area in British Columbia outside of Vancouver and Victoria, and the fifth fastest growing city in Canada. At the end of the 19th century, Kelowna did not exist. Moreover, until very recently, the economic history of the region was largely neglected by academic historians.

The postdoctoral opportunity is part of a wider project studying the economic history of the Okanagan in provincial and national context from 1881, the time of first settlement in the region, through to the early 21st century. Work on the history of the Okanagan until the Second World War is well advanced, and is the subject of a forthcoming book in preparation with UBC Press. It will be followed by research on the post-War period, and on the use of the economic history to catalyse regional economic strategy discussion and formation in practice. The postdoctoral fellow will build upon the platform provided by this wider project.

The project uses a range of sources to explore the development of a regional economy, for example censuses, business records, and government policies, all of which are largely untapped. The analysis is particularly concerned with occupations, what people did and why they did it, with wages and with capital. At the outset, our approach is to find out what happened, then explore causality, but we begin with four major questions. How and why did occupations and demography change? Why did the economy of an agricultural region such as the Okanagan, essentially devoid of manufacturing, grow faster than elsewhere in British Columbia? What made Kelowna exceptional? How can the knowledge gleaned be used to catalyze alternative economic strategies going forward? Comparison of the Okanagan with other regions in British Columbia, and with similar agricultural regions in eastern Canada, Washington State (USA), and other parts of the world, is an essential part of the study. The role of women, often ignored in economic history analysis, is being examined in-depth. Similarly, the impact of change upon First Nations.

Successful candidates must have a research program that complements, or contributes to, one of these areas of inquiry. They also need a research program that is strongly connected to their previous work.

The project is led by Roger Sugden (Faculty of Management, UBC) and Keith Sugden (Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure, Campop, University of Cambridge). The postdoctoral fellow will be based at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus, in Kelowna, and will spend research periods at Campop, in Cambridge. The two-year fellowship is worth $70,000 CAD per year, with additional research funds provided by UBC’s Faculty of Management.

To discuss possibilities, and interest in particular areas of study, email:

Inivisible Hands: Reassessing the History of Work, Conference Registration Deadline Sunday 29th April

Invisible Hands: Reassessing the History of Work

Kelvinhall, Glasgow 16th-18th May 2018 

Please register by Sunday 29th April: Invisible Hands.

The programme is available here: Invisible Hands Programme May 2018

The conference will feature a plenary lecture from Prof. Jane Humphries (University of Oxford). It will also co-host the Gender & History annual lecture from Prof. Merry Wiesner-Hanks (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee): “Nevertheless She Persisted”: Plucky Women and Patriarchy in the Early Modern Economy.

It is becoming increasingly clear that attending to the relationship between gender and work demands a fundamental reassessment of the very nature of economic performance, rather than the simple addition of women to existing accounts of economic continuity and change. This conference is designed to foster interdisciplinary and comparative discussion of the insights that gender analysis and feminist economics can bring to the history of work, and the relationship of gendered divisions of labour to economic performance more generally.

The conference will bring together scholars from across disciplines to discuss the conceptual foundations for the study of gender and work (broadly and inclusively defined); to establish methodological guidelines for the assessment work in relation to measures of economic performance; and to re-evaluate the meta-narratives that historians have used to approach economic change over time, not least in relation to a preoccupation with growth as the measure of development.





Registration Now Open for Invisible Hands: Reassessing the History of Work 16th-18th May 2018


Invisible Hands: Reassessing the History of Work

Kelvinhall, 16th-18th May 2018 

Registration is open here: Invisible Hands.

The draft programme is available here: Invisible Hands Draft Programme 2018.

It is becoming increasingly clear that attending to the relationship between gender and work demands a fundamental reassessment of the very nature of economic performance, rather than the simple addition of women to existing accounts of economic continuity and change. This conference is designed to foster interdisciplinary and comparative discussion of the insights that gender analysis and feminist economics can bring to the history of work, and the relationship of gendered divisions of labour to economic performance more generally.

The conference will feature plenary lectures from Prof. Jane Humphries (University of Oxford) and Prof. Merry Wiesner-Hanks (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee).

Continue reading “Registration Now Open for Invisible Hands: Reassessing the History of Work 16th-18th May 2018”

Graduate school in Gender History 4-7 June 2018

Université de Rouen Normandie – Groupe de recherche d’Histoire EA 3831

In collaboration with:

Universidad Autonoma de Madrid

Università di Napoli Federico II

Università di Napoli L’Orientale

Università di Roma TRE

Universität Wien


with the financial support of the Institut Universitaire de France

Graduate school 4-7 June 2018


The Groupe de recherche d’Histoire EA 3831, Université de Rouen Normandie, together with the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, the Università di Napoli Federico II, the Università di Napoli L’Orientale, the Università di Roma TRE and the Universität Wien launches a Graduate School on the theme of Gender and public space to be held in Rouen, Normandy, from 4 to 7 June 2018.

Continue reading “Graduate school in Gender History 4-7 June 2018”

Using ‘pre-crime scenes’ for the historical urban ethnography of early modern Amsterdam

This post is written by Bob Pierik who is a PhD candidate at the University of Amsterdam. He is part of the NWO (The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) project ‘The Freedom of the Streets. Gender and Urban Space in Europe and Asia 1600-1850.’ Earlier this year he started a dissertation project on the gendered use of urban space in early modern Amsterdam.

Bob Pierik (University of Amsterdam)

In March 1710, ordinary life at the Amsterdam Botermarkt was disrupted when Grietje Veenendael, who had a market stand with stockings, was attacked by another market woman. The two women had a dispute over the location of their market stands after which Lena (last name unknown) pulled Grietje backwards and threw her on the ground. Lena’s two daughters and the husband of one of them joined the fight and kicked Grietje brutally.

After the violence, when Grietje had fled to the chief officer to make a statement, people gossiped in the market that a man had attacked Grietje. Perhaps this happened because of the presence of Lena’s son-in-law. Nevertheless, one of Lena’s daughters then returned to the scene to dispel those rumors. She told bystanders ‘while beating her chest’ that ‘it was no man who did that, but me and my mother.’[1]

In my research, I am trying to get a sense of embodied practices of gendered use of urban space. The above is a case that I was able to reconstruct through witness statements drawn up by the secretary of the Chief Officer, who was also sworn in as notary. It is a conflict arising over the claiming and using of space in an area with large numbers of women present. The witnesses that reported the story of Grietje’s assault were all women, the only man present in the narrative was Lena’s son-in-law, which is remarkable compared to similar cases. It shows the textile market as an urban space dominated by women. Continue reading “Using ‘pre-crime scenes’ for the historical urban ethnography of early modern Amsterdam”

Women, Power and Iron

This post comes from Niina Lehmusjärvi, MA, who is writing her PhD thesis in Cultural History in the University of Turku, Finland. She visited Centre for Gender History in the University of Glasgow in 2016. She is currently funded by a grant from the Emil Aaltonen Foundation.

Niina Lehmusjärvi (University of Turku)

The associations between iron, masculinity, and power are archaic. From Greece to Scandinavia, mythologies represent heroic smiths hammering weapons and building fortune bringing magical artefacts.[i] Up until recently the notions about metal and technology as a male domain have been strong. These associations have possibly gained strength from the relative invisibility of women from the history of the iron industries in Sweden.[ii]

Catharina Elisabeth Kijk, née Grubb. Painting by Lorens Pasch the elder. In Ekman, Karl. Ett gammalt herrgårdsbruks historia. Tykö Bruk 1686–1936. Tykö Bruks Aktiebolag. Helsinki 1937, 161.


Women are not invisible in the histories of iron anymore. Historians Gun Björkman, Svante Norrhem, Veli Pekka Toropainen, and Kerstin Westerlund have written about early modern women who took part in the birth of early modern iron industries in Sweden.[iii] While it has been well known that the early modern Kingdom of Sweden was the biggest iron exporter in Europe during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, it is now also known that there has been over three hundred women owning and running iron works and manufactures between the sixteenth and the early nineteenth centuries. Women were most active in this field from 1650’s to 1850’s.[iv]

In order to bring more light into questions of how these women could own iron works and run them, and especially how their work and ownership was related to questions of gender, power and class, I am currently writing my doctoral thesis about two such women. Countess Hedvig Eleonora Stenbock (1664–1729) and merchant Catharina Elisabeth Kijk (1721-1788) ran iron works in South West Finland, at the time part of Kingdom of Sweden.[v] My thesis contributes to the fields of gender and work -studies, but also discusses questions of women’s role in the economics from the point of view of property, power and leadership. As both countess Stenbock and Mrs Kijk belonged to the elite, albeit they had a different social status, the questions of privilege and gender are relevant.

While no detailed accounts or diaries have survived from these women, it is possible, thanks to the keen eye with which the Swedish Crown surveyed the iron industries, to find many documents concerning them.[vi] The archives of the Royal Board of Mines kept in the Swedish National Archives contain detailed protocols where comments of the board members can be found from their regular meetings. The Mining Inspectors sent in insights and evaluations in their reports and surveys about the iron works and the owners’ actions. The iron works owners views are in their letters and petitions, and the Archives of the Steel Producers’ Association reveal how iron works owners were organised. [vii] The National Archives of Finland preserve court documents, deeds and letters of privilege and reports concerning the iron works situated in Finland also from the time it was part of Sweden prior to 1809.[viii]

Countess Hedvig Eleonora Stenbock. Painter unknown. In Ekman, Karl. Ett gammalt herrgårdsbruks historia. Tykö Bruk 1686–1936. Tykö Bruks Aktiebolag. Helsinki 1937, 81.

The legislation affected the visibility of female owners in the documents, since it was the husband that represented the family property even when the iron works were purchased and created together by the spouses. It could even be the case that the iron works were part of her property, since in early modern Sweden married women could own property. But more is known about widowed, rather than married women, who owned and ran iron industries, since they could act independently.[ix] Alongside these documents I am also examining exactly what the legislation said about women’s property and rights, at the same time keeping in mind what Maria Ågren from the University of Uppsala has revealed from the variety and scale of the work and activities of early modern Swedish women.[x] 

The same sort of information and documents about female iron works owners can be found in the Swedish and Finnish archives as for male iron works owners if women were writing in their own name, or if one looks for the documents concerning a specific iron works either from the national or the local archives. In the case of gender and power the administrative documents are more revealing than mere ledgers would be, because they reveal the dynamics and attitudes between iron works owners, the Crown administration, and officials, the owners and sometimes even their family members, the iron works staff, and workers. Documents concerning early modern iron works are a relatively rich source of women’s, owners as well as workers, history.



[i] Accessed November 10th, 2017.

[ii] Westerlund, Kerstin: Kvinnliga Brukspatroner. Tekniska Museet. Stockholm 2004, 208–212.

[iii] Björkman, Gun: Maria Sophia De la Gardie. Kvinna i stormaktstiden. Gyllenstiernska Krapperupstiftelsen. Krapperup 1994; Westerlund 2004; Norrhem, Svante: Ebba Brahe. Makt och kärlek under stormaktstiden. Historiska Media. Lund 2007.

[iv] Hildebrand, Karl Gustaf: Swedish Iron in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. Export Industry before the Industrialization. Jernkontorets Bergshistoriska Skriftserie 29. Jernkontoret. Södertälje 1992; Westerlund 2004, 188; Du Rietz, Anita: Kvinnors entreprenörskap under 400 år. Centrum för Näringslivshistoria. Dialogos förlag. Stockholm 2013, 157.

[v] Ekman, Karl. Ett gammalt herrgårdsbruks historia. Tykö Bruk 1686–1936. Tykö Bruks Aktiebolag. Helsinki 1937.

[vi] Hildebrand 1992.

[vii] Swedish National Archives (SNA). Archives of the Royal Board of Mines; SNA. Archives of the Steel Producers’ Association.[viii] The National Archives of Finland (NAF). The Archives of the Board of Mines.

[ix] Westerlund, 2004; Du Rietz 2013, 40–47.

[x] Ågren, Maria: Making a Living, Making a Difference: Gender and work in early modern European society. Oxford University Press. New York 2016.


This post comes from Heleen Wyffels, who is a Ph. D. fellow of the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO) and part of the Research Group for Early Modern History, KU Leuven. Her thesis is entitled: The printer’s widow: gender, family and editorial choices.

Heleen Wyffels, (KU Leuven)

[…] prynted now agayn at Antwerpe, by me wydowe of Christoffel of Endhoven In the yere of oure Lorde. M.CCCCC. and .xxxiiij. […]

At first sight, imprints like these are a dream source for every scholar doing research on early modern women’s work. They contain date and place of publication, and the printer and/or bookseller. In short, they provide information on the production of early modern books which makes it relatively easy to link products to producers. As the example shows, they even regularly mention widows. Catherine was the widow of Christoffel of Ruremund (also known as Christoffel of Endhoven), and published William Tyndale’s translation of the New Testament in Antwerp in 1534 and 1535.

Imprints can be a lot of fun too: not every printer wanted to be identifiable, especially not when printing illicit texts or images. They often pretended to be someone else, for example a colleague from another city, or they made something up. Books printed by “Common sense”, “Lucifer”, and “The printing house of the four chatterboxes who came down from the moon” are just a few examples that demonstrate inventive cheekiness and commentary on the printer’s part.[1]