This workshop proposal, to be submitted to the 2014 Berkshire Conference on Women’s History, aims at gendering the history of Libya in a transnational and postcolonial perspective. The workshop will include up to ten paper presentations, along with a chair and a discussant. We intend to use this venue to create a working group on gendered histories of Libya and workshop papers to be published in an edited collection.
We seek proposals on the importance of gender in shaping the history of Libya (the North African and Saharan regions named Libya since the 20th century) in its connections to North Africa, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, as well as Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, the United States and Asia. Libya has been accessible to very few scholars so far and gender has seldom been the focus of attention. Our aim is to shed new light on this blind spot of scholarship by investigating, from a gendered and postcolonial perspective, issues such as labour, religion, citizenship, sexuality, tourism, consumer culture, and the media.
We are interested in analyzing the circulation of men and women – skilled and unskilled workers, traders, travelers, students, soldiers, artists, missionaries, scientists, diplomats, tourists, businessmen and feminists – their interactions and creolizations since early modern times. Some of these subjects were part of transnational networks of labour, migration, education and consumption, some were uprooted by wars, colonial expansion or environmental change, others never moved, but all of them experienced diverse forms of contact and cultural exchange. Their stories and mutual perceptions, their ideas and practices of modernity, sexuality, ethnicity, community, nation and citizenship require further investigation in order to understand how they have been constructed, embodied and practiced, and how mutual perceptions and relations have been shaped.
We welcome papers addressing any of the following areas and topics. The major focus of our own research is on the 19th and 20th centuries. However, papers that engage with the early modern period or address other issues not listed here are also very welcome.