Call for Papers for an edited volume on ‘Gender and Violence from Historical and Contemporary Perspectives’

Julia Lingens's picture
Call for Publications
March 14, 2016
Subject Fields: 
Women's & Gender History / Studies, American History / Studies, European History / Studies, Sexuality Studies, Social Sciences

Call for Papers for an edited volume on ‘Gender and Violence from Historical and Contemporary Perspectives’ 

Since a group of men raped and tortured to death a young Indian woman in New Delhi in December 2012, the Indian and the global public has been discussing the relationship of gender and violence with a new intensity. Such instances highlight the need for studies that go beyond national boundaries to provide cross-cultural and comparative research on gender-related violence. The overall aim of the edited volume is thus to examine gender-based violence and discrimination with regard to specific cultural and regional conditions, and more generally to explore broader historical and transcultural developments. We currently have a number of articles for the proposed volume that have as a cultural and regional focus (pre-modern or modern) India, and we are now seeking to extend the breadth of our volume through contributions that address the relationship between gender and violence in European and other Western regions. In particular, we are interested in essays that contribute to forming a comparative backdrop to the broader question of in which situations and constellations can gender-related violence be interpreted as culturally and regionally specific phenomena, and in which instances can gender violence be traced back to superordinate narratives and structures that also become manifest in other cultural constellations. The Call for Abstracts is open to all disciplines with contributions from historians, sociologists, anthropologists and theologians particularly welcomed. The proposed book will focus upon the following aspects (but is not restricted to them):

  • The book will focus on sexual violence, especially on its function in establishing and distinguishing group identities. Occasionally, in several pre-modern and modern cultures, the sexual purity of (primarily) women serves as a marker for the moral integrity of the family or the larger group. Violent assaults on the sexual reputation of women are therefore often associated with the defamation of a social or religious community, be it their family/clan or other groups to which the victims belong. The book will therefore examine the meanings and functioning of sexual violence within different social and religious systems.
  • Another focus will be on the influence of physical violence on the stabilization or destabilization of traditional gender roles, particularly in the private sphere of marriage and family. What kinds of legal, religious and social norms define the line between legitimate and illegitimate acts of violence? Do male attitudes toward domestic violence against women change with growing prosperity?
  • We also seek to uncover the ‘underlying’ forms and mechanisms of political or institutional violence in the legitimation or de-legitimation of traditional gender patterns.  What are the institutional and legal structures that criminalize sexual minorities such as homosexuals and transgenders, for example, and what kind of social exclusion do these groups face? How do state authorities, communities, religious and cultural traditions deal with the “grey areas” between the categories of “woman” and “man”, grey areas that radically question the idea of a binary gender order as a basis of hierarchical social orders?

The proposed volume extends from an international conference on “Gender and Violence” (funded by the German Research Foundation/DFG and by Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi) that took place in New Delhi in September 2015. We would like to complement the focus upon India through contributions focussing especially on the historical dimensions of gender-based violence in European and other Western regions from the 18th century to the present day.

All abstracts should be submitted by the 14th of March 2016 via email to Dr. Jyoti Atwal (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi) ( and Dr. Iris Fleßenkämper (University of Münster, Germany) (

The submissions should include a 300-500 word abstract and a brief curriculum vitae (two pages) with full contact information including mail, email, and phone/fax numbers. Full chapters are expected by the 1st of May 2016.

Contact Info: 

Dr. Jyoti Atwal

Assistant Professor

Modern Indian History

Centre for Historical Studies

School of Social Sciences

Jawaharlal Nehru University

New Delhi 110067



Dr. Iris Fleßenkämper

Cluster of Excellence 'Religion and Politics in Pre-Modern and Modern Cultures'

University of Münster (WWU

Johannisstr. 1

48143 Münster