CfP: Mermaids. Women's Labor Force Participation in the Mediterranean Maritime Cities (19th C. - 20th C.) - Specialist session-EAUH2020 (Antwerp, 2-5 September 2020)

Erica Mezzoli's picture
Call for Papers
October 4, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Women's & Gender History / Studies, Urban History / Studies, Maritime History / Studies, Labor History / Studies, Economic History / Studies

CfP: S-SOC-3|Mermaids. Women's Labor Force Participation in the Mediterranean Maritime Cities (19th C. - 20th C.)

Specialist session - EAUH2020 "Cities in Motion" (Antwerp, 2-5 September 2020)

The main purpose of this specialist session is to highlight the modalities of women’s labor market participation in the maritime sector – and in its broad-based industries and services – in the Mediterranean port/emporium cities in Modern times. Although the maritime industry was a male-dominated environment, starting from the 19th century women begun to play a key role in the economies of the Mediterranean ports. As we know, one does not need to go to the sea to be part of maritime workforce and, as regards women, work and career opportunities in the maritime industry could concern professions such as moneylender and/or shipowner, handmaid, innkeeper, journey[wo]man at the port or naval yards and, last but not least, sex worker. We have also to consider that this specific kind of female participation in the labor market occurred in a precise environment: the Mediterranean port/emporium cities. In all these ports many relationships among religious and national communities, economic stakeholders’ groups and a marked tendency of people to geographical mobility took place.  In this regard it is important to mention the case of Jewish women in port-jews cities, where they often played an important role in the entrepreneurial activities supporting the family and implementing the economic relationship of the Jewish Communities with conveniente marriages. Alongside these aspects coming from social, economic and labor studies, the session wants to address the issue of gender in order to “imagine” a more inclusive, composite and fruitful maritime historiography. In this regard, particolar attention will be paid to the representations of women’s gendered relations with the sea. The prism of gender allows us to understand the inclusion-exclusion paradox of women as seafarers.  In the same time, it allows us to investigate all the “interspaces” between the women and the sea. First of all, to explain the variations in the distribution of power between genders – in family and social contexts – in maritime environments. Than, the modalities through which women, in different national, religious and political frameworks, experienced sea as a “leisure time” and/or a "luxury good”.  
We invite you to submit your paper proposals through the EAUH2020 website:
The call will be open until 4 October 2019
Erica Mezzoli, PhD
Prof. Tullia Catalan, PhD
Contact Info: 

Erica Mezzoli

Istituto Livio Saranz

Contact Email: