The 11th Institut des Amériques Conference Call for papers interrogates the theme of “Women in the Americas.” A generation of scholars in the humanities and social sciences have paid considerable attention to gender- and women-related issues. This more comprehensive framework, constructing North/South and transamericanist paradigms, ambitions to revisit such topics from interdisciplinary and intercultural perspectives. Beyond traditional oppositions and stereotypes, we invite contributions which question permanence and change in the role and status of women in the Americas.

Conference languages are English, French and Spanish.


“Women’s History and Historiography in the Americas”

Claire Sorin (Aix-Marseille Université)
Thomas Glesener (Aix-Marseille Université)
Luc Capdevila (Université de Rennes 2)

The various panel sessions will explore and compare the evolution of women’s history and historiography from transcontinental perspectives, since the colonial era to the present day. Comparable issues and historical developments which cross geographical, chronological and cultural boundaries are welcome, such as: Women’s roles in the development of colonial societies; Women’s involvement in their nation’s independence and their paradoxical status in the young republics; The concept of republican motherhood and its repercussions; Race, class and religious issues; Women’s roles in their nations’ constructions/expansions; Women and reforms; Women and wars; Birth and the development of women’s rights movements; Antifeminist voices; Feminist historical revisionism; National, religious or socio-ethnic memory  of the past and their antagonistic representations of women. Papers will present recent research related to one (or a combination) of, but are not limited to, the following fields:

1. Women in the colonial eras.
2. Women and the process of independence/national constructions.
3. Feminism.
4. Women’s historiography.


“Women and Religion/s in the Americas”
Blandine Chelini-Pont (Aix-Marseille Université)  
Pierre Langeron (Sciences Po Aix) Florence Rochefort (GSRL)

Despite the critical and antireligious nature of major American feminist protests in the 1960s and 1970s, religion has been a field of experiment, challenges and change for twentieth century American women, much more so than for their European counterparts. Thus, new political forms of religious commitment have emerged and which remain largely unexplored: the feminization of the Church, the feminization of the priesthood in various Christian churches, the social policy of transcontinental female religious congregations, the struggle for the empowerment of poor women in conversional churches, religious militancy against established powers or deforestation or the destruction of indigenous peoples, as well as female contemporary anti-globalization counterculture. This panel session will examine and compare current scholarly research within the Americas. Topics include but are not limited to:

1. Religion and Feminism.
2. Political and social critics and experiments.
3. Transcontinental networks.

Indigenous Cultures

“Boundaries and the Middle Ground: Custom and Tradition of American Indigenous Women in Contact with Modernity”
 Frédéric Saumade (Aix-Marseille Université) 
Odina Benoist (Aix-Marseille Université)

We wish to question women’s roles and status in the processes of cultural adjustment resulting either from the diffusion of elements of modernity into indigenous communities, or from immigration to the United States or Europe. In what respects do women – who are crucial to the group’s biological reproduction – specifically contribute to the reproduction of a culture that, arguably more than other cultures, is largely defined by its relations with the other? How do the tasks and representations that tradition assigns to her adapt to confrontations with the other, combined with eventualities such as migration or modernization? To what extent can women’s agency be considered as instrumental in integrating external influences – including market economy, technological advances, wage labor and current cultural trends – as well as in renewing tradition? How does contemporary law accounts for indigenous women’s traditional norms and what consequences does this entail?

1. Native women, materialist culture and ritual.
2. Native women and justice.
3. Native women, nature, culture and modernity.


“Women and Migrations in the Americas”

Virginie Baby-Collin (Aix-Marseille Université) →

The role of women in migratory processes was traditionally ignored until recent academic work shed light upon its importance, a phenomenon which has gained momentum ever since. Women’s profiles have changed and diversified in terms of generations, levels of qualification, types of occupations (with increasing importance given to care), personal motivations and family configurations. Origins and destinations of flows are increasingly complex: migrations both within and outside domestic borders; forms of circulation and transnationalization linking various Latin-American countries, Latin-America and the US or Canada and the entire globe. . This session will present recent research in the social sciences related to:

1. The measure and characterization women’s migrations in the Americas.
2. The evolution of migrant women’s occupations and consequent challenges.
3. Women’s and family transnational reconfigurations.
4. Women’s migration as a source of empowerment and agency or a mere link in the chain of uneven development within global capitalism.


“Women and the World of Work in the Americas”

Gérard Gómez (Aix-Marseille Université)
Donna Kesselman (Université Paris Est Créteil (UPEC)

Despite the world economic crisis still ravaging most of the Americas, participation of women in labor markets has risen significantly in recent years. Most remain nevertheless relegated to the most precarious, under or non-paid jobs. Despite reforms meant to improve careers, considerable inequalities persist. The gendered dimension of informal sectors calls for revisiting, all the more so as it is no longer exclusive to the South, notably among immigrant working women in the North. While their presence in some specific sectors has expanded, including executive management– also thanks to “affirmative action” measures aimed at encouraging parity and equal treatment between women and men – the emerging minimalist welfare state paradigm undercuts support, first and foremost, to families, and thus to women. Through this transAmerican perspective and comparative North-South/South-North prism, the Axis “Women and the World of Work in the Americas” will be considered in several workshops:

1. Labor markets and financial crisis.
2. Discrimination against women at work.
3. Affirmative action and women in the workplace.
4. Evolution of state, women and family.

Politics and International Relations 

“Women, International Relations and Politics in the Americas”
Organizers : 
Isabelle Vagnoux (Aix-Marseille Université)
David Garibay (Université de Lyon 2)
Daniel van Eeuwen (Sciences Po Aix)

This session will analyze the evolution of women in politics and international relations. While emphasizing the substantial progress achieved in recent years, panels will also evaluate the political instrumentalization of women as well as other remaining challenges. All panels will include a comparative dimension between North and Latin America. We welcome papers on the following themes:

1. The struggles for political representation.
2. Empowerment and campaign strategies.
3. Women and political power
4. “First Ladies”
5. The evolution and role of women in diplomacy, as actors, actors by proxy or policy objects.


“Women and Literature in the Americas”
Organizers : 
Dante Barrientos (Aix-Marseille Université) 
Anne Reynes-Delobel (Aix-Marseille Université)

The panel provides an opportunity to examine the writing strategies of women authors from different cultural, historical and spatial spheres so as to analyze how they question notions of identity and space, how they revisit relations to body, corporeity and embodiment, and how they advocate reconfigurations of social relations and alternative ethics, politics and aesthetics. We are also interested in engaging with women’s writing that investigate relationship to memory, and challenge the power of official narratives and/or state discourse. Three panel sessions will investigate these topics – including all periods and locations from the Colonial period to the present day. The first invites originalinvites original research into the notion and conceptualization of “transnational women’s writing”. Proposals on the impact of immigration and memory on writing strategies are especially welcome. The second focuses on writing the body in its dual relationship to subjectivity and the community. The third examines women’s writing today in terms of new genres and trends. Panel sessions:

1. Social, political and aesthetic dimensions of transnational women’s writing.
2. Subjectivity, identity, community: writing the body, desire and corporeity.
3. Women’s writing today: new trends, new genres.


“Women and the Arts in the Americas”

Jean-Paul Gabilliet (Bordeaux III)

Alvar de la Llosa (Université de Lyon 2)
Sessions will investigate ways in which women artists in the Americas contribute to the making of contemporary art history across a range of media, including painting, sculpture, photography, film, video, dance, theatre, dance, and performance art. This leitmotif has given rise to several recent exhibitions and symposia held at prestigousprestigious institutions —-elles@centrepompidou, May 2009-Feb. 2011; “Art Institutions and Feminist Politics Now”, MoMA, June 2010, « WHACK ! Arts and the Feminist Revolution » MOCA, May-July 2007. Organizers invite submissions reflecting upon the following topics:

1. Questioning the place of women artists in institutions and/or the feminist legacy for curators.
2. From globalization to transnationalism: individual or collective artistic practices in contact zones.
3. Inventing new notions of the body.
4. Cinema