Two new articles about « European circulations: Shifting gender »

Two new articles in the theme « European circulations: Shifting gender » are now online on the EHNE encyclopedia :

During the modern period, exiles were for a long time essentially masculine figures in representations. Yet the study of forced migration, whether of a political, religious, or sexual nature, shows that from the early nineteenth century onwards, women were also part of the phenomenon of exile, which we understand here in a broad manner as all forms of forced expatriation. While feminine exile figures were rare during the nineteenth century, the widespread nature of such mobility beginning in the early twentieth century also involved women, who little by little demanded access to functions of representation within exile groups, thereby upsetting the gendered norms of political commitment. After the adoption of the Geneva Convention in 1951, the first legal text to provide an international definition for refugees, women won recognition for their particular role in the phenomenon of exile and asylum. It was only in 1985 that the High Commissioner for Refugees held the first forum on women refugees, thereby emphasizing their uniqueness.

As a result of the expansion of space and acceleration of time that followed the upheavals of the French Revolution, and seized by the mobility and modernity of the moment, women flouted an epistolary medium that had largely been limited to the domestic sphere, and transformed their correspondence into a networking of the new European space. They transgressed both borders and gender differences, and mapped out a new cartography of the continent in which they had a role and visibility. They also built a constellation of epistolary exchanges, which they sometimes used to convey public opinion on the European scale. A transformation took place during the nineteenth century, as the epistolary medium became a public form of writing in publications that were specifically epistolary in character—Briefroman, letter novels, fictional correspondence, open letters—and that signaled women’s initial entry into the political sphere.


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