CfP Invisible Hands: Reassessing the History of Work 2018 (deadline for proposals 31st March 2017)

It is becoming increasingly clear that attending to the relationship between gender and work demands a fundamental reassessment of the very nature of economic performance, rather than the simple addition of women to existing accounts of economic continuity and change. This conference is designed to foster interdisciplinary and comparative discussion of the insights that gender analysis and feminist economics can bring to the history of work, and the relationship of gendered divisions of labour to economic performance more generally.

The conference will be hosted by the Centre for Gender History at the University of Glasgow, and marks the culmination of the activities of an International Network funded by the Leverhulme Trust on ‘Producing Change: Gender and Work in Early Modern Europe’. Bringing together Partners from the Universities of Autonoma de Barcelona, Cambridge, Glasgow, Leiden, Rouen and Uppsala, the Network has been designed to seize a timely opportunity to foster collaborative and comparative research on the multi-lateral character of both women and men’s work; to reconceptualise economic activity; and to reassess the dynamics of economic change.Read more…

The conference aims to bring together scholars from across disciplines to discuss the conceptual foundations for the study of gender and work (broadly and inclusively defined); to establish methodological guidelines for the assessment work in relation to measures of economic performance; and to re-evaluate the meta-narratives that historians have used to approach economic change over time, not least in relation to a preoccupation with growth as the measure of development.

The conference will feature plenary lectures from Prof. Jane Humphries (University of Oxford) and Prof. Merry Wiesner-Hanks (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee).

Proposals are welcome from across the fields of gender history and economic history as well as feminist economics. We invite papers/panels with a focus on conceptual frameworks for understanding work, gender and the economy, and the relationship between gender and economic agency over time.

Papers on the medieval and early modern period are especially welcome, as are papers relating to parts of the world beyond western Europe.

Themes may include, but are not limited to:

Defining work and economic activity
Methodologies for measuring economic activity and change over time
Conceptual foundations for assessing economic performance
Gendered divisions of labour
Links between work, social inequality and gender inequality
Migration, movement, space and mobility
Time-use, labour force participation
Unpaid work
Reproductive labour and care
Labour relations, management structures
Coerced labour and systems of oppression/exploitation
State formation and public policy
Relationships between work and political and legal rights

Proposals for individual papers or for panels (normally comprising three papers of 15-20 mins) should be submitted to Dr Catriona MacLeod [] by 31 March 2017. Paper abstracts should be 500-800 words and accompanied by a short CV (no more than 1 page) for each author.

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