The Emergence of Gendered Power Structures since Early Modern Times: Practices, Norms, Media

International Conference of the Research Network Gender - Power - State

Venue: Philipps-University Marburg, Herder-Institute Marburg and online / Date: November 23-25, 2022

Registration for online-participation: gms@uni-marburg.de
Deadline: 21.11.2022


Wednesday, November 23, 2022

17:30 Opening Reception
18:00 - 18:30 Welcome
18:30 - 20:00

Keynote Myra Marx Ferree
Contested Modernity in Family Gender Regimes

Virtual lecture open to the university public. Join via the link below:

Wednesday, Nov 23, 2022 2:00 pm | 6 hours | (UTC+01:00) Amsterdam, Berlin, Bern, Rome, Stockholm, Vienna
Meeting number: 2734 428 4319
Password: qQYd22Degj2

Join by video system
Dial 27344284319@uni-marburg.webex.com
You can also dial and enter your meeting number.

Join by phone
+49-619-6781-9736 Germany Toll

Access code: 273 442 84319

Thursday, November 24, 2022

9:00 - 10:00 Keynote Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly
Images of Female Power from Elizabeth I of England to Angela Merkel
10:15 - 11:45 Panel 1 – Medialization of Gendered Rule in the Early Modern Period
  • Péter Bokody (Art History): Political Control and Sexual Violence in Italian Painting Before 1500
  • Hania Siebenpfeiffer (Modern German Literature): The Queen’s Medialized Body, or  Maria Stuart on the Early Modern German Stage
  • Aleksandra Matczyńska (Art History): Visual Representations of Power and Prestige of the Noble Family in Artistic Commissions of Women in the Early 17th Century. Silesia and Saxony in Comparison
Chair: Sigrid Ruby, Discussant: Inken Schmidt-Voges
12:00 - 13:30 Panel 2 – Imaginations of Female Presidency in TV Series
  • Katja Kanzler (American Studies): ›Veep‹: Presidential Power, Gender, and Modes of Televisual Imagination
  • Rirhandu Mageza-Barthel (Political Science): Pinnacles of Power: Political Representation and International Development(s) in Rwanda
  • Sarah Sepulchre (Communication Studies): Female Presidents, Politicians Like any Other? Analysis of the Gendered Stereotypes Conveyed in the French Political Series ›L'Etat de Grace, Les hommes de l'ombre, Baron noir‹
Chair: Jutta Hergenhan; Discussant: Carmen Birkle
Lunch Break
14:30 - 15:30 Keynote Claudia Ulbrich
Unbridgeable Differences? Gender Constructions in the Early Modern Period
15:45 - 17:15 Panel 3 – Entangling Conceptions of ›Weak Rule‹ and ›Femininity‹ from Shakespeare Plays to Presidential Representation
  • Imke Lichterfeld (Theatre Studies): Negotiating the ›Weak King Dilemma‹
  • Greta Olson (American Studies): Kamala Harris’ Rupture and Continuation of U.S. American Vice-Presidential Traditions
  • Lea Reiff (Modern German Literature): ›The Shadow of a King‹: Power and Precarious Masculinities in Plays by Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach and Friedrich Schiller
Chair: Inken Schmidt-Voges, Discussant: Hania Siebenpfeiffer
18:00 - 19:30 Panel 4 – Subalternity and Epistemic Violence
  • Richard Herzog (History): Matrilineality and Native Female Rulership as Told by Nahua Historians of Early Colonial Mexico
  • Kate McGregor (History): »There is only one way to be pretty!« Racialized Beauty Norms in German Samoa, 1906-1916
  • Christine Klapeer (Political Science): Homodevelopmentalism as Epistemic Violence? Examining German Trans/National LGBTIQ* Politics From a Queer and Post-/Decolonial Perspective
Chair: Isabel Heinemann, Discussant: Jutta Hergenhan

Friday, November 25, 2022

9:00 - 10:00 Keynote Birgit Sauer
The State as an Intersectional and Gendered Relation of Violence
10:15 - 11:45 Panel 5 – Sexuality, Violence, and the State: Norms and Regulations
  • Julia König (Education Studies): Imperial Fantasies and the Constitution of the White Subject Sexualized Gender Power Structures in Colonial Picture Postcards around 1900
  • Jane Freeland (Contemporary History): Gender and Domestic Violence in Divided Germany: Marriage, Divorce and Women´s Shelters
Chair: Annette Henninger, Discussant: Isabel Heinemann
Short Break
12:00 - 13:30 Panel 6 – Women as Newly Emergent Political Actors
  • Vincent Dold (History): The Second Revolutionary? Gendered Revolutionary Scripts and Their Inherent Power Inequalities in the German Socialist Movement from 1848 to 1918
  • Carla Hoetink and Team (History): Gender and Parliament: An Exploration of Sources, Methods and Concepts for Research Into the Gendered Power Structures of the Dutch States-General
  • Dorothee Beck: Gender-Based Violence in Political Institutions: Dimensions of Theories of Democracy
Chair: Martin Göllnitz, Discussant: Heidi Hein-Kircher
Short Lunch Break
14:00 - 15:30 Final Discussion


  • Myra Marx Ferree: Contested Modernity in Family Gender Regimes

    Wednesday, November 23, 2022, 18:30 - 20:00
    Virtual lecture open to the university public; join via the link below.

    The storms of the present moment in Europe as well as the US make it impossible to ignore contestations over both gender and national identity as features of modern politics. However, nationalisms and their threats to democracy and peace, and the right wing mobilizations against gender and sexual diversity are not always recognized as being related. The former is commonly understood as a conventionally political defense of democracy as an institution, the latter as a “culture war” based in identities rather than institutions. I argue here that the connections between democracy and demography are best understood through considerations of the contested changes in family as a crucial institution of politics, not a separate sphere. 
    Demographic transitions are fundamental parts of the social changes we associate now with modernity, and the modern family that is the contemporary normative standard is framed misleadingly as “traditional” or even “Biblical.” Modernity for the family came as a contested development along with democracy and industrialism, was contested among capitalists, unions, suffragists and religious reformers. The modern family is not eternally the standard, however. The changes that are prompting some to defend this modern family in apocalyptic terms are real transformations in how families have been organized in the past fifty years. The modern family, which relies on a breadwinner and elevates national (or class) identity in the form of brotherhood, is becoming old-fashioned. The changes that make breadwinner-brotherhood based families unmodern are materially technological, geographic, and political, but are contested in terms of values, beliefs and identities. The present demographic transition is far from complete, but it suggests wider, highly contested changes in politics, including the rise of nationalism as a response to the challenges of connecting family and nation as forms of social membership, and the declining practical significance for the nation-state as a political form.

    Wednesday, Nov 23, 2022 2:00 pm | 6 hours | (UTC+01:00) Amsterdam, Berlin, Bern, Rome, Stockholm, Vienna
    Meeting number: 2734 428 4319
    Password: qQYd22Degj2

    Join by video system
    Dial 27344284319@uni-marburg.webex.com
    You can also dial and enter your meeting number.

    Join by phone
    +49-619-6781-9736 Germany Toll

    Access code: 273 442 84319

  • Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly: Images of Female Power from Elizabeth I of England to Angela Merkel

    Thursday, November 24, 2022, 09:00 - 10:00

    This talk will interrogate the official portraits of powerful women from the sixteenth to the twenty-first centuries. It will ask in what way the iconography of the male ruler as warrior or Roman emperor was adapted to depict the female ruler. It will ask whether the female ruler was usually depicted as an honorary her as the Mother of the Nation. It will ask to what extent depictions of the female ruler emphasized what were thought of as particularly female virtues such as mercy, compassion and piety and what messages were conveyed in portraits by such external elements such as clothing or interiors. It will ask how the stages in the life cycle of powerful women were depicted as they moved from princess to consort to widowed regent. It will ask what difference the change of medium from oils to photography made and what is expected of a modern oil painting of a female ruler. Finally, it will ask whether the iconographic patterns established in the early modern period are still valid in our own day. 

  • Claudia Ulbrich: Unbridgeable Differences? Gender Constructions in the Early Modern Period

    Thursday, November 24, 2022, 14:30 - 15:30

    Since gender became an object of historical research in the early modern period, numerous studies have uncovered the contradictions and complexity of gender relations embedded in premodern societies. In Western cultures a binary gender system that considered men and women as opposites and a gender hierarchy designed in favor of men has been postulated for centuries at the level of the gender order. On this level it seems to be an anthropological constant that men are strong and important in public life while women are weak and close to nature. The situation is different for the spheres of action of men and women in their lifeworld and as far as individual gender relations are concerned. They have been subject to historical change. (Many examples of women who have exercised power show that gender is only one of many categories that affect women's agency.) Gender relations and the agency of men and women did not follow the same rules as the gender order but are related to each other. Between these various levels a seemingly insurmountable tension arises. How can we bridge these differences in gender constructions? What does this mean for the categories we work with? What consequences does this have in terms of how we narrate the story of powered gender relations?

  • Birgit Sauer: The State as an Intersectional and Gendered Relation of Violence

    Friday, November 25, 2022, 09:00 - 10:00

    Feminist scholars have been pointing out since the 1970s that the state is not neutral, that it is not an expression of the common good, but that it is patriarchal. State power, then, not only organizes gender binary, but the modern state emerges from gender relations. Its institutions are characterized by hierarchical gender binary. With the emergence of modern state administrations, institutions, and norms, other relations of inequality were inscribed into state power – production and class relations, heterosexual structures of privilege, ethnicized and racialized structures of inequality. 
    The lecture will first develop an understanding of modern statehood that goes beyond the state apparatus and also understands the state as a contested strategic field. It is in contestations in this field that intersectionally gendered state institutions, administrations, and norms emerge. The state can be conceptualized as the condensation of intersectional gendered relations of domination. 
    Moreover, and this will be explained in the next step of the talk, the modern state is a gendered relation of violence. After all, in these struggles over statehood, notions of separation of public and private and of non-intervention of the state in the supposed private sphere, i.e., the delegation of the power of disposition of the head of the household over the privatized household members, have become inscribed in the architecture of the state. 
    In the final step, I will reflect on perspectives for change: This expanded understanding of the state not only allows us to understand the violent nature of the state with respect to intersectional gender relations, but also opens up perspectives of agency, that is, of change in and against the state. However, this potential for change is limited – the integration of women, e.g., into state institutions does not guarantee a gender-equal transformation of the state, but it does provide a position in the state field of contestation and struggles.