Call for Papers
Women in Educated Elites of Pre-Socialist and Early Socialist East Central European Societies
October 2012, Geneva (Switzerland)
The opening up to modernity of East Central Europe since the late 19th
century was marked – among other things – by a triple process generating
structural transformations of established post-feudal societies and
affecting often radically the status of women.
Various movements of ’national awakening’ and nation-building lead to
the foundation of nation states during the decades 1878-1918 on
territories of the former Ottoman, Russian and Habsburg empires. These
societies, organised mostly in Western type parliamentary states (except
for the later Soviet one), complied more or less reticently with
Western patterns of socio-political modernization and cultural
homogeneization, including or leading to the abolition of feudal
privileges. Modern nation states accomplished progressively the
emancipation of hitherto socially bonded, dependent or dominated
societal clusters (like serfs, Jews, ethnic marginals) among them,
lately, women. The construction of modern schooling provision was an
integral part of the modernization process, where the girls could
usually take an ever growing share.
These transformations were concomitant with or accompanied by the birth
of laissez-faire capitalism and the growth of new middle class clusters
in charge of a number of intellectual services in the administration,
the management of industrial, financial or trading entreprises, health
care, law, public transportation, education, artistic activities. The
ensuing socio-professional restratification of societies concerned was
conducive to the emergence of the intelligentsia – a new stratum drawing
its social and professional legitimacy from certified competences, its
educational ’capital’. In some of its sectors – medicine, teaching, the
creative and performing arts, etc. – women also started to be admitted
since the late 19th century, though most of these markets of
intellectual services remained for long largely dominated by male
Due to post-feudal conditions of competition for social standing,
positions of influence and prestige, hitherto unknown forms of
inequalities appeared in the very process of accumulation of political,
economic, professional, cultural an educational assets henceforth
necessary for the access to the elites. Female professionals, though
they could rarely achieve advanced careers in the ruling elites in the
old regime, so much so that they often encountered even various forms of
public rejection and discrimination on intellectual markets,
significantly participated in the framing of the way of life of the new
We are planning a comprehensive publication in English reporting on
women in modern educated elites, that is in professional groups the
social position of which was grounded above all in their educational
credentials. The project would attract studies on possibly every East
Central European society during the inter-war years, not excluding
post-1945 and pre-1919 developments. This call for papers may appeal to
all scholars – whether historians proper or sociologists, political
scientists, anthropologists, educationalists with historical interests –
engaged in research on gender based inequalities, disparities and
diversities in higher education and in the intelligentsia at large.
The authors of the papers selected for the publication will be invited to an international conference in Geneva.
Herewith please find a (far from exclusive) roster of the main topical
problem areas upon which the papers could preferentially draw :
(1) The historical progress of the schooling of girls and boys in
various countries. A (possibly comparative) overview of the development
of educational investments granted to girls and boys in primary,
secondary and higher education;
(2) The impact of the structure of the educational market on women’s
education : the historical development of schooling reserved for women
and the progress of coeducation as well as the general accessibility of
the schooling provision for girls on different levels. Preferential or
discriminative admission policies of educational authorities. Size,
quality and outreach of school networks for girls.
(3) The same with reference to father’s profession (social selection of
pupils and students), mother tongue, ethnicity, birth place,
urbanization, residential and regional origins and ties of pupils and
(4) Historical patterns of socio-professional mobility via education for
men and women compared: differential strategies and attitudes following
religious persuasion, family size, degrees of secularization,
intellectual capital of the family, professional groups, economic
(5) Differential options for educational tracks and study branches for
men and women with completed secondary education (medicine, law, arts
and sciences, technical, artistic and other vocational studies).
(6) Qualitative educational inequalities and discrepancies between boys
and girls concerned in their schooling trajectories: differences of
academic performances, degrees and qualifications acquired, marks
obtained in different study subjects (like at graduation from secondary
schools), age of graduation, frequency of dropping out, foreign
languages known, other certified skills.
(7) Differential uses of certified educational assets in professional
careers : Male and female graduates in the free professions, civil
service, politics, public industries, private intellectual employment
(trade, banking, industries, agriculture, transportation, etc.) and in
the artistic professions, especially in the latest periods of the
pre-socialist old regime and in early communism.
(8) Men and women intellectuals in ’reputational elites’ – people of
fame: those cited in national biographies and encyclopedias, laureates
of public distinctions for intellectual accomplishments (prizes, medals,
titles, etc.), staff of universities and institutions of higher
education, members of national academies, learned societies or/and
public scholarly agencies (major libraries, museums, archives, research
(9) Measures and indicators of possibly differential intellectual
creativity between men and women and its recognition within the same
professional clusters : number and quality of scientific, scholarly or
artistic publications and other performances, invitations and careers
abroad, participation in the management of professional journals,
membership in boards of learned societies and professional agencies.
(10) Women professionals as affected by public policies of education and
intellectual promotion : numerus clausus, segregation and
discrimination in the educational market, differential availability of
grants, scholarships or academic positions, etc., variation of tuition
fees, schooling facilities or disabilities.
The two and a half day workshop will take place at the European
Institute of Geneva University in October 2012. The exact dates will be
announced in early July 2012. The official language of the workshop will
Interested scholars are asked to submit a paper proposal (not more than
750 words) and a short CV to the organisers by 20 June 2012
Victor Karady (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Central European University
Natalia Tikhonov Sigrist (email@example.com)
Flemish Academic Center
Belgian Academy for Arts and Sciences
All those who responded to the call for papers will be notified of acceptance of their abstracts by early July 2012.
In order to operate a fair and coherent choice of the proposals,
submitted abstracts should underline the connections between the
workshop themes and the research interests of the speakers as well as
the originality and the relevance of their approach.
The papers to be presented at the conference - of about 25'000
characters -, are expected to be sent to the organisers by 15. September
2012, so as to allow their pre-distribution and the preparation of the
debates via discussants.
The contributions will be distributed as working papers to all the workshop participants some weeks prior to the workshop.
Oral presentations (30 minutes) should be based on the submitted paper,
but limited to the particularly relevant problems. A detailed discussion
will follow each presentation (30 minutes).
A volume based on the reviewed and completed workshop papers will be
published. The selection of papers to be included in this collective
volume will depend on their form and quality.
Natalia Tikhonov Sigrist
Flemish Academic Center for Science and the Arts