Report – Workshop “Writing Women, Making History” 11-12 March 2024

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Report on the Workshop Writing Women, Making History Literature and the Study of Women’s Past Lives, 11-12 March 2024. organised by the EUI Queer and Feminist Studies Working Group and Public History Working Group (Giselle Bernard, Louisa Niesen and Zsófia Veszely) and Biblioteca Femminista, Firenze

As part of a series of researcher-led events at the European University Institute related to International Women’s Day, we had a two-day workshop titled “Writing Women, Making History: Literature and the Study of Women’s Past Lives”. On the 11th of March, we had a day of presentations and discussions to emphasize why writing and reading have been essential feminist practices and to explore how we can read literature through a feminist and historical lens. Maya De Leo (University of Bologna), our first keynote speaker, explored the role of literature in queer women’s identifications. Our second keynote speaker, Judith Lyon-Caen (EHESS), took us through a history of writings, rewritings, and receptions of the “grisette” figure in 19th and early 20th century France. EUI researchers’ papers, delivered by Georgia Katakou, Zeynep Tezer, Jennifer Ashby and Giselle Bernard, addressed literary sources which ranged from the early modern Ottoman Empire to 20th-century Europe and included topics such as women’s social and economic conditions, creativity, political activism, and sexuality.

It was important for us to combine academic and activist work for this event, so we teamed up with the Biblioteca Femminista, a feminist space and library in Florence’s city centre, which collects, lends, and discusses books and is a space for meeting, organising, and feminist activism. We visited the Biblioteca Femminista on the 12th of March, where we had an informal session on researchers’ sources and where we heard about the space’s history from one of its longstanding members, Teresa.  In the afternoon, we visited the Oblate municipal library, where the Biblioteca archives are held.

It was a pleasure to share these two days with guests and participants, we are grateful to everyone who contributed to making this feminist and academic moment happen, on and off campus.

Categories: EUI Events, LGBTIQ WG