Exile, Gender, and Family in the Nineteenth Century – deadline 15 January 2019

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Date(s) - 5 September - 7 September
All day

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The forced migrations of the long nineteenth century, which caused hundreds of thousands of people to abandon their homes and construct new lives abroad, have recently been the subject of a rich historiographical revival and recognized as a truly global phenomenon. They reshaped the political and social landscapes not only of the spaces that exiles departed, but also those through which they passed and where they were finally welcomed. The classic image of these exiles is that of a heroic man, beleaguered by a hostile political order that he resisted through migration and expatriation. Though this masculine picture remains predominant, both in popular perceptions of the nineteenth century and in the work of many historians of the subject, the reality was much more complex. Men did not go into exile alone; women and children, though often ignored, played major roles in these winding, transnational migrations. This international conference will investigate the history of exile through the lenses of gender, generation, and age, with a particular focus on women’s history and the history of the family. Papers are welcome that address these and similar questions:

  • How can exile in the nineteenth century be interpreted not just as political migration, but as a phenomenon that shattered families and scattered their members across the globe? How did such individuals respond to their dispersal (through attempts to reunite, written correspondence, financial transfers, etc.)?
  • To what extent did the departure of exiles – who were most often men – lead women to assume new political, economic, and social roles? How did women thus separated from their fathers, husbands, partners, or brothers, take charge of the education of children, the running of households, or the protection of family assets threatened with sequestration or confiscation?
  • Women also often followed their husbands or partners into exile and the conference will concern itself with the relationships of couples in exile. Other women migrated alone, often finding a new autonomy through this experience. Without wanting to simply create a gallery of exiled heroines, we hope to trace the paths of hitherto anonymous women who, in being forced to leave their countries, reinvented themselves abroad. We will also investigate the gendered roles that often devolved onto women in exile, including such activities as providing medical care to sick exiles, making flags for political events, or organising charitable activities.
  • Children constitute another often neglected group amongst the exiles of Europe and the world in the nineteenth century. What insights can be made about the minors that accompanied their parents on these sometimes permanent voyages? What challenges did those born or raised abroad pose to the authorities in their host societies regarding their future statuses or to their exiled parents in determining appropriate forms of education for their displaced children?
  • It will be interesting to examine how the marital status of women and men, as well as the presence or absence of children accompanying them into exile, affected the types of welcome that exiles received., both socially and officially. How did the presence of spouses and children transform the routes, patterns, and destinations of exile?
  • In approaching exile as a social phenomenon, we hope to investigate the particular dynamics of family life in exile. In what ways did families going into exile collectively impact the trajectories, strategies, and activities of the individuals members of those families? Were exiles living with their families more likely to retreat from political life? Did the needs of such families encourage exiles to remain in their new countries permanently or for noticeably longer than their single counterparts? What specific strategies of integration did families in exile adopt (in terms of learning new languages, in their children’s education, etc.)?

The conference will embrace the whole of the nineteenth century, from the emigrations that followed the French Revolution to the eve of the First World War. Papers may address the societies left behind by exiles as well as their destination and host societies, and particular attention will be paid to proposals that cover both ends of these migrations. Until now AsileuropeXIX has concentrated its work on Europe, but it particularly welcomes proposals concerned with colonial spaces and the non-European world.

Paper proposals (of a maximum length of 2,000 characters, accompanied by a one-page biographical sketch and list of the author’s publications) should be submitted by 15 January 2019. Proposals will be reviewed and authors can expect to hear back from the conference committee by 1 March 2019. Presentations may be read in either English or French. Texts subsequently requested for collective publication must be written in or translated into French.

Conference Organizing Committee:

Location: Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne