Disciplining the Modern Family: Gender, State, and Society

Sivan Balslev's picture
Call for Papers
January 2, 2018 to January 4, 2018
Subject Fields: 
European History / Studies, Middle East History / Studies, Social History / Studies, Women's & Gender History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies


Call for Papers

for an international workshop titled


Disciplining the Modern Family: Gender, State, and Society


The Lester and Sally Entin Faculty of Humanities

The Zvi Yavetz School of Historical Studies


January 2-4, 2018



With the rise of the modern nation-state, the interest in the family as an institution and in its functions in modern life expanded as well. Rulers, bureaucrats, revolutionaries, writers, and readers all looked to mobilize families and individual family members to their goals.  Approaches to the family varied greatly: some perceived it as the torchbearer of traditional values and practices that must be protected from new perceptions of self and society; others saw it as a site for the promotion of social and cultural reforms. The family was presented as the solution to all kinds of problems, from issues of health and sexuality to questions of controlling populations, winning wars and maintaining and enhancing economic production. Gender was an essential part of every approach to the family, as each of these approaches entailed a different understanding of masculinity and femininity and their role in society. Such approaches did not stop in the borders of the nation-states, particularly with the rise of modern imperialism, colonialism and migration. Around the world, men, women and children continued to live, produce and reproduce in families, but the form, meaning and uses of their families changed dramatically from generation to generation. Family forms and practices became the markers of culture and served to distinguish between identity groups. Thus the family became a site for conflicts, on the individual, communal, national and international levels.


The workshop will convene a small group of younger as well as established scholars who deal with these issues based on their individual research in varied historical arenas, from Europe and the Americas to the Middle-East, Africa, South and East Asia. Participants will pre-circulate their papers, and all workshop participants will read and comment on them. A specific discussant will also comment on each paper.


We invite proposals for original and integrative papers from all geographic areas, on themes such as:

  • How states attempted to shape and reshape families since the 18th century?
  • The construction and disruption of gender roles within the family
  • The family in a transnational and global framework – family and empire, families beyond borders
  • Motherhood, fatherhood and their changing meanings
  • The roles of children in the family
  • The nation/state as a modern family
  • How masculine domination is reinforced and challenged via the family?
  • The relationship between family, gender, and class
  • Alternative families and alternatives to the family
  • Changing notions and practices of love and sexuality within the family
  • Family and work, the family as an economic unit
  • Family and religion
  • Changing legislations of families
  • Families and war



Proposals should include:

(1) Name and affiliation

(2) Title and a short abstract (150-200 words)

(3) Brief CV (1-3 pages)


Proposals, as well as further inquiries, should be sent by email to the workshop secretariat: (familyworkshop2018@gmail.com)

The deadline for submitting proposals is 15 June 2017.

Accepted proposals will be notified by 15 July 2017.

Full papers (up to 7,000 words) are due by 1 November 2017.


The organizers will cover airfare cost (economy class) and four-night accommodation in Tel Aviv. The workshop will be conducted in English. It is open to the public and participation is free of charge.

We would be grateful if you could distribute this call for papers among your colleagues.

Prof. Billie Melman (bmelman@post.tau.ac.il), Prof. Iris Rachamimov (irisrchmmv@gmail.com), Dr. Sivan Balslev (sivanb@vanleer.org.il), Mr. Matan Boord (matanboord1@gmail.com)

Workshop’s secretariat: familyworkshop2018@gmail.com