Genesis. Rivista della Società Italiana delle Storiche (2/2017): Across Religious Boundaries: Women and Men in Motion, Fluid Identities, and Conflicts

Xenia von Tippelskirch and Stefano Villani
01.02.2017 - 31.03.2017
Fritz Viertel

The journal “Genesis” – – calls for contributions to a monographic issue that analyse – from a gender sensitive perspective – the impact of crossing confessional and religious borders, of mobility, and of voluntary or forced migration on self-definition and on definitions of religious identity. Contributions may come from periods ranging from the late middle ages to contemporary history.

Emigration and exile, in the dialectic between displacement and opportunity, enable reflections on the very concept of religious identity. The historiographical investigation on the estrangement provoked by confrontation with a different culture, on strategies of adapting to a new context, and on the conflicts generated by encounters between different cultures may contribute to reflection on the 'performative' aspects and fluidity of the construction of confessional identities. In recent historiography on cultural transfers and contact zones, the key role of the go-betweens and brokers has been emphasized. Along the lines of these works, contributions will be accepted which inquire into either 1) the strategies of self-presentation in the religious sphere of men and women who have left their homeland voluntarily or involuntarily, permanently or temporarily; or 2) the historical impact of the presence of foreigners on the re-definition of the host society's religious identity. At the centre of this inquiry are questions regarding the social relations that were built because of mobility and that were maintained or cut off across distance. These include experiences of loneliness, officialised relations, and the creation or reinforcement of emotional and family ties. We invite proposals for case studies or comparative investigations that explicitly pose the question of gender construction and/or analyse the specificities related to gender. Within this framework, it should be taken into account that journey, exile, and migration represent very diverse typologies of mobility. The contributions may present either case studies that reflect on the performativity of religious identity from a gender perspective or more general theoretical reflections, covering a chronological span from the early modern to the contemporary period.

The monographic issue will particularly highlight the following fields of interest:
– In the available sources, how is the question of religious/cultural identity articulated? What agency is attributed to men and women in ego-documents containing travel accounts? What influence do the readers’ expectations have on the presentation of these accounts?

– What impact do phenomena of migration have on religious practices?

– How do the reports describe the diaspora communities in their host societies and their supranational connections? Who are the mediators and translators?

– How can the analytical categories of hybridisation and mestizaje contribute to the understanding of the processes and temporalities of individual and communitarian construction of religious identity?

– How is the question of mobility and the materiality of the journey (by land or by sea) addressed in the sources? In which ways do the conditions of the journey create and split groups, particularly in terms of gender? (Travels and pilgrimages by lone women and lone men, promiscuity and cohabitation)

– How is the question of religious/cultural identity addressed when leaving ones country by choice or by force/obligation (because of economic necessity or for other reasons)?

– How extensively do travel accounts refer to models in literature, family accounts, or hagiography and to what extent do they distance themselves from them?

– When and how do conflicts emerge from mobility?

– What regulations with disciplinary force are put into place by the religious/state authorities? Which dialectic is established between these authorities and the subjects under the control of those institutions?


Proposals should be sent by e-mail to the editors Xenia von Tippelskirch ( and Stefano Villani ( by 30/03/2017 and should contain an abstract (max 3.000 characters) and a brief academic profile of the author with a list of her/his publications. Authors whose proposals are selected for possible publication must send their articles – in Italian, French, or English – (max 50,000 characters, spaces and footnotes included) by 20/05/2017. Articles will be submitted to the editorial board’s scrutiny and to a double blind peer review. The publication of the issue is expected for the end of the year 2017.


Xenia von Tippelskirch (

Stefano Villani (

Genesis. Rivista della Società Italiana delle Storiche (2/2017): Across Religious Boundaries: Women and Men in Motion, Fluid Identities, and Conflicts, 01.02.2017 – 31.03.2017 Berlin/Maryland, in: H-Soz-Kult, 17.03.2017, <>.
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