German Historical Institute London

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Violence against Women

Historical and Comparative Perspectives


14–16 July 2022

Joint Workshop of the Humboldt Foundation Anneliese Maier Award and the German Historical Institute London
Conveners: Christina von Hodenberg and Jane Freeland (German Historical Institute London), Sylvia Walby (Violence & Society Centre, City University of London), Karen Shire (Essen College for Gender Research, University Duisburg-Essen, Germany)
Venue: German Historical Institure London


Violence always matters: it wrecks and destroys lives. But gender-based violence has also varied enormously over time and place. Bringing together sociologists and historians, this conference explores the relations between gender regimes and gendered violence in different settings. It looks at Britain and Germany in the 20th and 21st centuries in a global context and encourages comparative studies of gender violence, especially outside of armed conflict. We draw particularly on the concept of gender regimes, as a way of thinking about the structural nature of gender at a macro-level.

We aim to understand the following questions: What does violence against women tell us about the historical development of different societies? What can we learn from history as to the circumstances under which such violence changes, and about successful strategies of feminist resistance, coalition-building and making violence visible? What are the implications of diverse varieties of gender regimes for historical variations/changes in gendered violence? What are the implications of different concepts of violence and of gender for historical and comparative work? What are the diverse forms of feminist responses to and engagement with violence and their implications for reducing violence? Is feminism more successful in identifying violence and reducing it when it works autonomously, identifying women as the political subject, or when it works as part of a wider coalition, and if so, a coalition with what other forces? Does feminism make a difference? How does comparative and interdisciplinary work help us to investigate these questions?

The conference will bridge the disciplinary divide. We are particularly interested in theoretical papers that open up to historical perspectives, or historical papers that test theoretical assumptions.

The conference will be held from 14-16 July, 2022, at the German Historical Institute London. The conference language is English. Attendance is limited to speakers and invited guests.

Call for Papers (PDF file)

Conference Programme (PDF file)