CFP: Workshop - Child abandonment and gender discrimination in the past

Evan Roberts Discussion

Workshop - Child abandonment and gender discrimination in the past

Trondheim (Norway) - November 10, 2023

Thousands of children were abandoned by single women and poor married couples in pre-industrial Europe, a phenomenon that increased dramatically during the 19th century. Given that many of these foundlings did not survive, the decision to abandon a child has often been equated to that of committing infanticide. This workshop invites proposals exploring whether sex was an important dimension in the decision to get rid of unwanted babies. While unwed mothers were mainly driven by shame and therefore did not consider the sex of the new-born, married couples had more incentives to abandon their female babies if they lived in an area where son preference was strong. In this regard, previous research has shown that, although the sex of the infant was irrelevant in many areas, more girls than boys were abandoned in other regions. As well as assessing the intensity and nature of this phenomenon and its variation across regions and over time, this workshop encourages proposals that attempt to identify the reasons that explain this behaviour. Contributions exploring both qualitative and quantitative materials are welcome. 

Please contact Marko Kovacevic if you are interested in submitting a proposal ( Deadline for submissions: September 15th, 2023. The organisation will cover accommodation and meals. Travel funding for early career scholars will be available upon request.