CFP: The Emergence of Gendered Power Structures since Early Modern Times: Practices, Norms, Media (Philipps University, Germany)

Deadline: January 15, 2022

International, interdisciplinary Conference at Philipps-University,f  
Marburg/Germany, November 23 to 25, 2022.
Organizer: Interdisciplinary Research Network: Gender. Power  
Relations. State (Philipps-University
Marburg, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Herder-Institute for  
Historical Research on East Central
Europe, Marburg)
Deadline for proposals: January 15, 2022
The conference aims at analyzing configurations of gendered power  
relations from the early modern era to the present from an  
interdisciplinary perspective. The focus will be on these relations’  
transformations and how they have been renegotiated and revisioned  
regarding the interwoven analytical levels of medialization, normative 
frames, and social practices. Correlations between transformation and  
change will be examined as well as formations of traditions and the  
development of historicizing narratives employed to legitimize 
gendered relations of power, including the justification of state  
power through naturalizing gender discourses.

Since the late 15th century, discursive and social practices as well  
as media representations of power, sovereignty, and gender can be  
observed in relation to contemporary processes of early state  
formation, which aim at a specific consolidation and expansion of  
hierarchical gender orders. Throughout the centuries, strategies to  
legitimize specific power relations have employed above all  
historically grown traditions in their argumentation, the powerful  
impact of which allegedly shows in the longue durée. An analytical  
focus on continuities, however, threatens to obscure historical  
ruptures as well as reinterpretations and reframings of earlier media  
representations. Inconsistencies and conflicts between norms and  
social practices are also likely to fall from view. Therefore, the  
interdisciplinary research network »Gender, Power Relations, and the  
State« in cooperation with the Center for Gender Studies and Feminist  
Future Studies (UMR) and the Center for Media and Interactivity (JLU  
Gießen) will host an international and interdisciplinary two-day  
conference in Marburg/Germany on November 23-25, 2022, to examine the  
power relations at work in the construction, dissemination, and  
persistence of such narratives and to analyze their interrelations  
with social practices, processes of standardization, and media 
Titled »The Emergence of Gendered Power Structures since Early Modern  
Times: Practices, Norms, Media«, the conference aims to study the  
interdependent web of tensions between gender, power relations, and  
the state across centuries. Transformations, renegotiations, and  
revisionings in specific configurations of gendered power will be  
brought into focus. The intersection of institutionalizations of state 
power with naturalizing gender discourses specific to the respective  
epochs will be problematized from the angles of manifold disciplinary  
approaches to gender studies. In doing so, a progress- and  
modernization-oriented master narrative of increasing gender equality  
will be confronted with the limitations and closures of a scope of  
opportunities and possibilities to women through processes of  
formalization and legalization in the course of state formation until  
the twenty-first century. Such an interdisciplinary and transepochal  
merging and further developing of existing analytical approaches and  
perspectives has not yet been attempted. The organizers assume that  
such an interdisciplinary and historically profound synopsis along the 
analytical levels of social practices, normative frames, and  
medializations will bring to light distinct continuities, either in  
the form of an ‘invention of tradition’ (Hobsbawm 2019) which  
facilitates the legitimization of (transformed) social practices, or  
in the form of constructions of continuities on the level of media  
representations of gendered power relations.
On November 23, 2022, the conference opens with an evening lecture by  
the Alice H. Cook Professor of Sociology and member of the Gender and  
Women’s Studies Department, Myra Marx Ferree (University of  
Wisconsin/Madison). On November 24 and 25, three sessions of three  
panels each are scheduled to respectively highlight the leading  
categories of gender, power relations, and state. Each session will  
open with one keynote. Helen Watanabe O’Kelly (Oxford), Claudia  
Ulbrich (FU Berlin), and Birgit Sauer (Vienna) have already confirmed  
their participation.
We invite proposals from various disciplines from the humanities and  
social sciences for 20-minute papers, which look at the intersections  
of social practices, normative frames, and medializations at work in  
the formation of gendered power structures and their embeddedness in  
historically specific dynamics and constellations, with a particular  
view on Europe and North America. Papers may focus on one of the  
periods set above (e.g., the early modern era or the nineteenth to the 
twenty-first centuries) or adopt a transepochal approach.  
Intersectional, transcultural, and postcolonial perspectives are  
particularly welcome. Proposals might deal with but are not limited to 
the following questions:
• How are gender, power, and/or state conceptualized in historically 
specific constellations? And how do contemporary theoretical  
approaches relate to these conceptions?
• How are gendered power relations represented in literature and art?
• Can tensions and discrepancies (e.g., in the case of female rulers) 
be observed between self-fashioning and ascriptions based on  
time-specific conceptions of gender?
• How do social and political changes emerge from the interplays of 
social practices, normative frames, and media representations?
• Are conceptions of state and statehood explicitly or implicitly 
contingent on time-specific knowledge about gender?
• Are revolutions and processes of governmental transformation  
accompanied or paralleled by changes in gender relations?
• Can recurrences of early modern configurations of gendered power 
relations or their media representations be detected in present  
culture, politics, literature, and art?
• Where, in what form, and to what end is the history of gender staged 
as a history of progress? How can those narratives be challenged  
• How can those gender relations prone to violence be analyzed as 
manifestations of cultural habits derived from collective patterns of  
thought and behavior?

Please submit a 300-word abstract and a short biographical note to by January 15, 2022. Notifications will be sent by  
early February 2022. The conference organizers intend to grant travel  
allowances; applications for funding are pending.