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Women's political action is an underexplored topic in the history of the Habsburg Monarchy during the “long” 19th century. In recent years the “new political history”, which conceptualises politics in a broader sense not restricted to the state and its official representatives, has also raised the issue of women's and gender history. In this view, politics encompasses the space of action “in which it is a matter of making and implementing collectively binding decisions, whereby the space of the political has been historically delimited and shaped in different ways.” (B. Stollberg-Rilinger). Themes, actors and the media of the communicative space of the political must be understood as dynamic and historically variable, hence also highlighting social groups with a markedly limited scope for political action. Women can be understood as actors in political history not only by re-examining political strategies in the classical sense, but also by reinterpreting activities hitherto categorised as “apolitical” - as possibilities of political articulation in the broader sense (U. Frevert).
For the history of the Habsburg Monarchy from the late 18th to the early 20th century, Glenda Sluga has argued for the approach of “adding women and stirring” in order both to introduce new topics into the field of international history, and to retell more traditional topics. But her call has so far not been fully heeded: The political spheres of action of women in the Habsburg Monarchy call for representations that further open up the traditional dichotomy of public and private spheres and address the handling and negotiation of gender-specific norms.
Hence the goal of our book project, which aims to bundle recent, source-based research, is to make the agency of women from different social contexts and geographical areas of the Habsburg Monarchy visible. This is connected not least with the hope of calling into question persistent, major narratives on the history of the Habsburg Monarchy (P. Judson).
We are open to suggestions for topics and are particularly pleased to receive ones with the following emphases, whereby contributions from the period before 1848 are also particularly welcome:
- Women's political spaces of action
- Activism, also beyond well-known pioneers and trailblazers
- Interweaving diverse aspects of difference (social background, religion, race/ethnicity)
- Continuities and discontinuities
- Argumentation and negotiation strategies of women in the sources
- Women in relationships (working couple, siblings, groups, milieus, ...)
- Theoretical approaches: e.g. possibilities of action vs. power structures
- Methodological aspects
- Connection of different spatial levels of analysis
Please send a short abstract (300 words) in German or English and a short biography by 23 December 2021 at the latest to:
Institute for Habsburg and Balkan Studies
Austrian Academy of Sciences
Hollandstraße 11-13/1st floor
You will receive feedback by 17 January 2022. The deadline for submission of the completed contributions is 30 June 2022.