Gender and the Non-modern City
Edited by Lin Foxhall and Gabriele Neher
Edited by Lin Foxhall and Gabriele Neher
Engagement with the space of the non-modern city has found particular expression in scholarship concerned with the construction of gender. This volume seeks to add to these discussions by focusing on the ways in which gender is negotiated in the confined urban spaces that predate or are unaffected by processes of eighteenth- and nineteenth- century Western industrialisation and globalisation. Clearly, our understanding of a ‘city’ varies depends on indigenous cultural contexts, and definitions of a ‘city’ may refer to temporary spaces and structures largely devoid of permanent inhabitants. Notions of gender and the non-modern city may also be equally explored through an emphasis on the social and political stratification and processes that regulate residence, presence, movement, and the expression of power and authority within these spaces.
Cities have long been the focus for research centring both on space in all its manifest forms, taking the lead from Foucault’s and Bourdieu’s discussions on the intersection between time and space, and bringing Habermas, and, for example, Saskia Sassen’s’ theories on the political, cultural and social functions to bear on space. They play a key role in World Systems Theory (out of which were derived the notions of ‘core and periphery’ and ‘globalization’) and post-colonial historical approaches to cities as centres of political, economic and cultural hegemony. Following these leads, scholars have developed a range of theoretical models concerned with, for example, structuration and social agency. We aim to bring together new scholarship to develop a variety of theoretical approaches and case studies to explore notions of gender , and its operation, in the setting of the non-modern city across temporal and geographical boundaries.
Cities are a key feature of many non-modern societies, but they may be differently conceptualized, hold a very different place and fulfil quite different roles from those in the modern world. Can context-sensitive studies of gendered behaviours in their many forms highlight what is distinctive about these cities and their wider importance? Non-modern cities were laboratories for the kalaidoscopic praxis of social structure in many societies. How did gender function distinctively in non-modern cities? Did urban life enable the elaboration of gendered roles and their interaction with status, wealth, age, occupations etc.? In what ways did gendered ideologies underpin practices of governance, politics, religion, law, military and and other urban institutions? How did gender function in economic life and behaviours? How was it expressed in visual, architectural and material cultural forms, as well as in writing? How might ideologies of gender have affected the practice of writing and record keeping itself? How might deep-seated principles of gender have been a key element in the division and use of space and the development of pathways of communication (roads, streets, meeting places, houses and their internal divisions)? In worlds where 'public' and 'private' might not be fully articulated, or might be conceptualized in ways quite different from those to which we are accustomed, how might gendered behaviours have helped to discriminate between different kinds of spaces, pathways and routes? Would gendered behaviours affect the use of urban space over time, both short and long term - over the course of a day, seasonally, over the longer term?
Contributions are sought from scholars at all levels to be presented at a conference in Nottingham (11-12 September 2010). A selection of papers will be published in a special issue of Gender & History. Cross-disciplinary papers are welcomed. In particular, contributions are welcome from- but not limited to- the following areas:
The concept of the city as an urban conglomeration/ centre; explore indigenous definitions of the city; cities as defined by their context
Temporary ‘cities’ vs permanent built structures (e.g. military camps)
Political concept of a city; cities without urbanism
Cities without population; ceremonial centres; exchange centres
Models of exchange between non-modern cities
Attitudes towards the body and its display
Gendered space and spatiality
Pathways through the cities
Status and gender/ social and political institutions and gender; inclusion and exclusion according to gender (eg religious orders)
Performance of gender/ display of status in gendered ways
Subaltern, gendered roles: prostitution, beggars, camp followers, slaves, servants, dependents and clients etc .
Crime and thieves; gendered crimes
Gender and consumption; fashion; display; material culture
Religion; how is this manifest in an urban setting
Urbanism; gender and legal structures; gender of interest to legal context
How does agency operate in the matrix of complex institutions; social agency
15 March 2010 Deadline for submissions for papers; final selection of papers
April 2010 Long abstracts of selected papers (1000-1500 words)
May 2010 Deadline for submission of papers
May- August 2010 Collecting referees’ reviews; first stage of editing
August 2010 Full first drafts of papers to be pre-circulated in advance of conference
Conference at Florence Boot Hall, University of Nottingham, Friday 11th and Saturday 12th September 2010 (this slot is booked). The conference seeks to draw on expertise offered by the Centre for Urban History based at Nottingham as well as the Centre for Urban Studies at the University of Leicester. The September date is essential for the participation of the Nottingham Centre for Urban History.
Revised papers to be submitted by January 2011.