CfP: Gender and Violence in Historical Perspective/ Indo-German International Conference – New Delhi 09/15

From:    Iris Fleßenkämper <>
Date:    09.07.2014

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
22.09.2015-24.09.2015, New Delhi, Convention Hall, Jawaharlal Nehru
Deadline: 30.11.2014

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
University of Münster (WWU)
Johannisstr. 1
48143 Münster

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