Call for Papers: Gender and Crisis in History

Graduate Conference: Gender and Crisis in History, Procida (Napoli), June 22-24, 2015

Full details here: CFP_Gender and Crisis_June 2015


The Department of Social Sciences of the Università di Napoli Federico II, the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences of the Università di Napoli L’Orientale together with the International collaborative doctoral network in Women’s and Gender History will be jointly running the Graduate Conference on Gender and Crisis in History, to be held June 22-24, 2015, on the island of Procida (Napoli). This conference seeks to bring together history graduate students whose original research deal with gender and crisis. Continue reading “Call for Papers: Gender and Crisis in History”

What is a ‘spinster’? Spinster mothers in the seventeenth century.

While definitions are vital for our understanding of the past, the use of the term ‘spinster’ can often prove problematic. There are at least two reasons for this. First, by the beginning of the seventeenth century it was clear that the term ‘spinster’ had emerged as the newest marital descriptor of that period, even though it had begun its life as an occupational designation for women (and was occasionally applied to men too). As a result, we cannot always be absolutely sure whether it was intended to have occupational or marital significance, although the context usually provides enough clues for us to make a good guess. This difficulty is somewhat reduced when we are looking at church court material. As an addition in court, ‘spinster’ was increasingly used in the context of ecclesiastical law, both in probate courts and in those dealing with moral and religious litigation, to refer to the never-married. Continue reading “What is a ‘spinster’? Spinster mothers in the seventeenth century.”

Book Review: Travail féminin: Retour à l’ordre! L’offensive contre le travail des femmes durant la crise économique des années 1930 [Women’s work: Back to order! The offensive against women’s work during the economic crisis of the 1930s] by Céline Schoeni

This recent book review by Carmen Sarasua will be of interest to everyone researching gender and work. You can read the full review online at Feminist Economics. The book deals with changing female labour-market participation rates in Switzerland and France in the late 1920s and 1930s, through periods of rapid economic growth, the Depression, economic recovery and two world wars. Sarasua presents it as an exemplary study of economics and economic institutions, one that pushes beyond the boundaries of official, conventional narratives to offer a deeper understanding of economic, demographic, institutional and cultural variables. She also judges it to be an important contribution to the history of feminism and feminist organizations, so well worth a read!

Women’s Work Across Time and Place, Workshop Report Part Three: Data, Data Collection and Future Directions

This is the third and final part of our summary of the workshop that took place in Glasgow last autumn. On the second day we turned to the practical matters of how to deal with sources, looking at where we can find data on women’s work and how best to collect, organise and put that data to good use.

The Gender and Work project (GaW) based at Uppsala University in Sweden offered an exciting example of what can be achieved, and a framework for collaborative working in the future. Rosemarie Fiebranz and Maria Ågren gave us a demonstration of the database that forms the core of the project. GaW’s verb-orientated method focuses on tasks, gleaning verb-phrases that describe work from a variety of court and other records in early modern Sweden. Continue reading “Women’s Work Across Time and Place, Workshop Report Part Three: Data, Data Collection and Future Directions”