University of York Department of History Cultural History Conference 2010
Femininities: Tenth York Cultural History Conference
Berrick Saul Building, University of York
22-24 April 2010
For over a decade the Department of History at the University of York has hosted a series of prestigious international conferences on cultural themes. The theme of the 2010 conference is Femininities.
Over the last three decades or so scholars have made significant advances in recovering and analyzing women’s history, and in deploying the insights derived from such work to rethink many of the methods, questions, and paradigms used by historians to investigate and interpret the past. Such work has in turn underpinned the emergence of gender history, the history of sexualities, and the history of masculinities. Our conference provides an opportunity to consider the past, present, and future of the category of ‘femininities’.
Femininity in time and space
We are especially interested in exploring how and why ‘femininity’, both as ideology and as practice, has been differently constructed over time, in different regions and cultures, and among different age and status groups from the later medieval era to the present. The conference will emphasise these cross temporal and cross cultural perspectives, and draw on the multidisciplinary resources which feed into the study of femininities, with presentations from scholars using psychological, musical, political, and material resources and approaches as well as insights from queer studies and comparative history.
The papers will address such themes as the relationship between femininity and material culture, religious culture, political culture, masculinity, sexuality, national identity, ethnicity, gender theory, and women’s history. Some of the papers explore the performance or representation of femininity or look beyond conventional historical sources.
Our mission is to consider the many ways in which femininities have been learned and performed. We want better to understand the relationship between constructions of femininity and of other markers of difference.
In order to focus on close and extended comparative discussion we have planned conference sessions where participants will have the opportunity to respond fully to a small number of papers rather than crowding lots of short presentations into each session. We want to enable participants to exchange ideas and to pursue lines of enquiry together over the three days of our conference.
This is an exciting field and we have been singularly fortunate in attracting some very distinguished scholars from around the world. We warmly invite the participation of anyone who has research or teaching interests in this area to come and contribute to the discussion and debate and to enjoy the facilities of the Berrick Saul Building, our brand new humanities research facility.