Gender and Violence in Historical Perspective/ Indo-German International Conference

Gender and Violence in Historical Perspective/ Indo-German International Conference

Dr. Jyoti Atwal, Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India;Dr. Iris Fleßenkämper, Cluster of Excellence ‘Religion and Politics’, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster, Germany
Convention Hall, Jawaharlal Nehru University
New Delhi
Vom - Bis
22.09.2015 - 24.09.2015
Atwal, Jyoti; Fleßenkämper, Iris

This call for papers on cross cultural research has been triggered by a series of developments across the globe. The rise in the level of violence against women in both public and private sphere has brought feminists outside their national boundaries. The relationship between gender and violence is being understood very differently in the present times. Violence against women does not simply involve physical pain; it is rather a multifaceted phenomenon.

Thirty-five per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence from either intimate partners or non-partners, with some national violence studies showing that up to seventy per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime from an intimate partner. Violence against women exists in every society, and encompasses different forms of socio-structural, physical, sexual and psychological abuse. Statistics from Europe and Asia show a sharp rise in domestic violence, yet it still remains very difficult for many women to report violence within the domestic sphere. Furthermore, female victims are discouraged from taking legal action as the pressure to reconcile with perpetrators takes over. These are the spaces that this conference seeks to uncover. These spaces are reconstituted by the production of new definitions of tradition, religion, law, family and nation. Notions of honor, shame, and attachment to cultural, traditional symbolism and relationships need to be decoded in the context of modern day gender relations.

Contemporary feminist scholarship encompasses questions of colonial/postcolonial boundaries of women’s histories. Women’s oppression cannot simply be understood in terms of exploitation. As Spivak has articulated “the subject of exploitation cannot know and speak the text of female exploitation, even if the absurdity of the nonrepresenting intellectual making space for her to speak is achieved” (Spivak: 1988). Our conference therefore will have a strong focus on experience-based life histories of women from excluded and often rarely visible sections of society (including, for example, identities of dalits, tribals, Blacks, and minorities in a more general perspective).

A further aim of the conference will be to explore the historical roots of modern day violence against women across Asia and Europe in order to elucidate continuities, transitions, and changes in the patterns and narratives of gender-based violence from the 16th to the 20th centuries against the background of postcolonial history. We aim to compare intersecting processes of repression and social control, as well as to explore the agencies and circumstances that enabled women to negotiate boundaries of patriarchal power.

The conference will focus on the following issues:

Gender, Violence, and Religion: in terms of the influences of religious beliefs, and the practices and institutions on gender arrangements and their affinities for gender-based violence;

Gender, Violence, and Law: in terms of the impact of legal norms and practices on the social legitimation of both gender hierarchies and physical violence against women; and the scope and limitations of law as a political means of controlling and disciplining gender relationships;

Gender, Violence, and Cultural Representations: in terms of gender representations in the media, such as in the literary, visual and cinematic arts, and the influences of such representations on the reproduction or change of attitudes towards gender-based violence.

Although the conference primarily aims to recover the shared past across India and Germany, papers in general contexts of Europe and Asia will also be considered. The objective of the conference is to gather researchers from different disciplines in order to exchange and discuss new perspectives and theories of gender violence. The conference is designed as a start-up event for a long-term interdisciplinary cooperation addressing the multifaceted relations between gender and violence in a historical perspective. We therefore hope to publish the selected papers.

The call for papers is now open for this conference. Proposals must be in English and should include an abstract of no more than 500 words. Please submit your proposal together with a brief curriculum vitae and your contact details to the organizers -- Dr. Jyoti Atwal ( and Dr. Iris Fleßenkämper ( -- on or before 30th of November 2014.

Please note that there is no registration fee for session chairs, speakers and selected participants and for those who wish to only attend. However, you are required to have an email confirmation from us before attending.

Limited guest house rooms at low rates are available at JNU Campus ( Subject to availability, these rooms can be booked by requesting the conference organizers. Limited air/train fare is available for selected participants from India.



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

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