Call for Papers: Workshop Gender and Silence in Leuven


LEUVEN, 7 NOVEMBER 2014 9-16h
Abstract deadline: 1 July 2014

Key-note address: MARIE BUSCATTO (Univ. Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)

Can silence articulate gender? It seems so insubstantial and eerie – the mere absence of sound. It is easy to forget that silence can consist of an active practice, which is being carried out consciously by numerous actors in the past as well as the present. Active silence has been enforced (“mulier taceat in ecclesia”), used as a means of protest (Turkey’s ‘standing man’s protests) and has been designated as an attribute of dignity or calm. In all those guises, active silence serves as a way to signal the non-speaker’s relation to power, and to underline the corporeal and performative nature of the distribution of (acoustic) authority: female silence in church signaled respect for religious discipline, the ‘standing man’ shows resilience in the face of violence, and dignified silence is a privilege reserved for adults.

This workshop aims to explore the ambiguous relation between practices of silence and gendered identities. Rather than assuming an association between voice and power, and silence and obedience, it seeks to encourage a nuanced analysis of the different ways in which silence has been mobilized or can be mobilized in shaping gendered bodies and behaviors. In teasing out hushed (hi)stories, participants are invited to focus on the perspective of the active non- speaker.

We welcome papers that address issues including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Gendered modes of contemplative silence (monastic or otherwise), discourses and practices of silence and gender in religion and devotion
  • Active silence in contexts of protest, and its gendered meanings and implications
  • Silence as protection (e.g. rapevictims, practices of ‘passing’)
  • Silence and compliance (enforced silence, institutional silence)
  • Representations of gender and silence in literature, art, theatre, (audiovisual) media…
  • Silence and gender in music

Abstracts and papers can be sent in Dutch, English or French. We require participants to hold their oral presentation in English during the workshop.

Interested participants can send an abstract of max.300 words and a short biographical outline by 1 July to

More information in this pdf file

Application Call Moral Economies Research School

The International Max Planck Research School for Moral Economies of Modern Societies are starting a new PhD program in october 2013. It focuses on identifying which kind of values, emotions and habits inform and inspire the social formations that have emerged since the eighteenth century. The School sets out to investigate how ‘moral economies’ were composed, organized and practiced in the last three centuries.

Masterstudents who are interested can apply until the 5th of december. See for more information the flyer or visit the website.


Tate Britain display Victorian Sentimentality

A new In Focus display at Tate Britain opens this week on the theme of Victorian Sentimentality. Curated by Alison Smith (Tate), Vicky Mills (Birkbeck) and Nicola Bown (Birkbeck) , the display aims to shed new light on this much misunderstood and maligned topic. Victorian art is often criticised for being sentimental, but what does this mean? And is sentimentality always a bad thing?

What is the history of emotions?

Celebrating its first year anniversary, the History of Emotions Blog has put together a series of mini-posts asking ‘what is the history of emotions?’

The first one draws together some of the most useful online resources and recommended introductory readings:
The second offers a dozen different views of the field by members and associates of the Queen Mary Centre:

And as a bonus, here’s a list of our Top Ten most-read posts during the first twelve months of the blog:

Masterclass History of Emotions

Masterclass History of Emotions
University of Leuven
2 March 2012

Whereas often perceived as ‘natural’ due to their physiological component, emotions have, in recent years, increasingly been put in historical perspective. Focus is now also on their socio-cultural component. Historians emphasize that emotions, whether or not perceived as ‘legitimate’ within their specific historical contexts, are changeable and can be cultivated (e.g. feelings of shame), or repressed.

Within gender history, emotions have most often been addressed within the standard dichotomy of the ’emotional’ woman versus the ‘rational man’, an ideological bifurcation that blended out also historical interest in ‘men’s’ emotions. Nonetheless, they are making a come-back in studies such as Die Präsenz der Gefühle. Männlichkeit und Emotion in der Moderne (eds. Borutta, Verheyen, 2010).

In this master class we follow this lead in examining the emotional component of the various gender constructions (including the potential suppression of emotions) as well as differing context in which emotions (and their – learned – corporality) could be felt, expressed, communicated or even fail to materialize.

Program (13.00-17.30)

13.00-13.30: coffee/tea + welcome


Prof. Dr. Monique Scheer (Universität Tübingen), ‘The practice of feeling: emotions, the body, and gender’


Tom Bervoets, ‘Joys and sorrows in the rectory. Clerical concubinage in the early modern Archbishopric of Mechelen’

Nina Lamal (KUL), ‘Writing with indignation? Franciscans on the Dutch revolt’

Lode Lauwaert (HIW, Leuven),  ‘Marquis de Sade and emotions. How to understand apathetic enjoyment?


15.45-16.15: Break



Marleen Brock (KUL), ‘Students on a sentimental journey. The experience of nature around 1800’

Tine Van Osselaer (KUL): ‘Sensitive but sane. Male visionaries and their emotional display in interwar Belgium.’


17.05-17.30:  Drinks


Participation is free but we invite you to register by email at avg[dot]carhif[at] Final date of registration is Friday 24 February 2012. 

Location:  H. Geestcollege (Louis Janssenszaal),  Naamsestraat 40, 3000, Leuven