Gender in the European Town

Simonton, D. L. (Organizer)

Activity: Attending an eventConference organisation or participation


As places which fostered and disseminated key social, economic, political and cultural developments, historically towns have been central to the creation of gendered identities and the transmission of ideas across local, national and transnational boundaries. This Conference draws upon the extensive conversations engendered within the Gender in the European Network, opening these conversations to international scholars working in this field. Participants will explore not only the changing dynamics of gender and towns over time, but also about the challenges posed in writing a comparative European history that extends beyond the Anglo-Franco-German axis to incorporate explicitly the Nordic and Southern regions, thus raising questions both about the complexities of pan-European gendered ideals, and about the nature of the European town itself. The keynote speakers are renown historians in the field who will not only share their reflections on the themes but will also help to stimulate conversations throughout the conference. Keynote speakers: Elizabeth Cohen, York University, Toronto, Canada: ‘Women in a "Male City": From Sex Ratios to Social Relations in Rome circa 1600.’ Rachel Fuchs, Arizona State University, USA: ‘Exploring Citizenship in Creative Ways: Gender, the Family and the Courts in Modern Paris.’ Hannu Salmi, University of Turku, Finland: ‘Catastrophe, Emotions and Guilt: The Great Fire of Turku 1827.’ Pamela Sharpe, Hobart University, Tasmania, Australia: ‘Gender in Place: Early Modern Economic and Social Perspectives.’ Deborah Simonton, University of Southern Denmark: ‘”to merit the countenance of the Magistrates”: Gender and civic identity in eighteenth-century Aberdeen.’ Political culture and Civic Identity This strand addresses the question of how citizenship emerged in in European towns, and how it was gendered. It discusses how citizenship was negotiated and used in urban spaces and how political citizenship was established and institutionalized. It considers different sites of political action, including print culture, courts, institutions, streets and care, and how these different activities performed by different actors in different places became political. It focuses on how the notion of gender had consequences for transformation of urban political practice as well as how the modernization of towns and the development of citizenship influenced the relations between gender and its meaning. Space Place Environment: Rethinking Space Space and place has been under scholarly scrutiny for some years now, and exciting and innovative research has been published on early modern and modern conceptions of space. Gender studies have been in the forefront of this exciting field to first carve out the ways in which women and men have used space and places. The role of gender in shaping, and being shaped by, space and place, particularly in the urban environment, provides historians and cultural geographers with the opportunity to look afresh at the changing nature of the town and its inhabitants over time. Stretching the Urban Economy Towns were often the motivators for economic change, controlling trade and capital formation, as well as the disseminators of culture. For the last three decades incentive research has paid a growing attention to the gendered economic roles and activities in various urban contexts. This strand explores the influence of gender on the economic shape of towns and the ways in which men and women articulated their relationship to the urban economy, taking into account their participation in urban economic activities, the specific resources available to them in urban spaces and the use they made of norms, constraints and conventions structuring male and female lives.
Period22. May 201325. May 2013
Event typeConference
LocationOdense, Denmark


  • Gender history
  • European History
  • Urban history
  • economic history
  • political culture
  • space and place