Gender and Work in Early Modern Europe

Conference held in Stockholm, May 2012
Conference organized in Stockholm 10-11 May 2012
at The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities


Thursday 10 May

Session 1. Perspectives on Periodization 1

Historians’ view of women’s work is profoundly affected by questions of periodization and by what they consider the turning points in the history of women and women’s work to be (if any). The first two sessions will look into these matters with the aim of highlighting diversities of perspective. In the first session, the point of view of a mediaevalist will be contrasted against one by an early modernist. In the second session, two views on women’s work from the outskirts of Europe will be contrasted against each other and against the standard narratives and periodization of European women’s history.

  Professor Judith Bennett, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
  Professor Merry Wiesner-Hanks, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. 

Session 2. Perspectives on Periodization 2

  Professor Carmen Sarasúa, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
  Försteamanuensis Hilde Sandvik, Universitetet i Oslo.

Break-out session (Perspectives on Periodization)
Session 3. Comparing the Gendered Division of Work across Time and Place 1

Comparison is one of the most useful methods available to the historian. By comparing developments in various places and time-periods we can identify differences, similarities and patterns, and better equip ourselves to come up with explanatory models. In the historiography of gender and work some compelling normative arguments have also been based on the comparison of different parts of Europe (e.g. Ogilvie 2003). The second conference theme explores different ways of comparing evidence (both qualitative and quantitative) with the aim of identifying what kinds of comparative questions we need to ask today.

  Dr. Craig Muldrew, Cambridge University
  Ph.D. student Christopher Pihl, Uppsala University.

Session 4. Comparing the Gendered Division of Work across Time and Place 2

  Professor Darlene Abreu-Ferreira, University of Winnipeg
  Professor Dag Lindström, Uppsala University.

Abstracts 10 May

Programme 11 May 2012

Session 5. Gendered Work and Gendered Identities

The relationship between work and identity is emerging as one of the most important new topics in the field of gender and work. While it used to be assumed that men’s identity was formed by their work experience and women’s by their roles as mothers and wives, recent developments have shown that the story is more complex. The third conference theme will look closer into the question of work and identity across time and place, tying this to issues of honour and agency for both women and men.

  Professor Julie Hardwick, University of Texas, Austin
  Dr. Alexandra Shepard, University of Glasgow.

Breakout-session (Work and Identity)

Session 6. Digital Possibilities

The time-consuming task of finding out how people actually used their time in the pre-modern period used to deter researchers from taking up this topic. The fact that gender and work has now reappeared on the scholarly agenda is very much the effect of the new possibilities offered by improved research infrastructures, and especially by the digitizing or large datasets. The fourth conference theme will explore these new possibilities, focusing especially on the question of data-sharing and collaboration across and among different countries, institutions and languages.

  Professor Margaret Hunt, Amherst,
  Dr. Leigh Shaw-Taylor, Cambridge University
  Professor Maria Ågren, Uppsala University

Report back & review of issues

  Dr. Ariadne Schmidt, Leiden University
  Professor Göran Rydén, Uppsala University.

Abstracts 11 May

Minutes of the discussions (both days)


E-mail:, Department of History, Uppsala university.
E-mail:, Department of History, Uppsala university.