Call for Proposals – Conference « The gender of singlehood »
With financial support of « Cité du Genre, IdEx Université de Paris, ANR-18-IDEX-0001 »
Organized by Juliette Eyméoud (EHESS) et Claire-Lise Gaillard (Paris 1, CRHXIX)
If singlehood appears implicitly in many research related to marriage or family and conjugal life, it has rarely been considered as a main topic. This conference’s goal is to put singlehood in the spotlight. To do so we must question the very definition of this word and its multiple interpretations and meanings according to academic fields, historical periods, or cultural areas.
English and American historiographies have long been interested in the subject. Singlemen and furthermore singlewomen, from medieval times to the modern era, belonging to different social classes, have been written about (Amy M. Froide, John McCurdy). In France, the first research about singlehood has been led by historians working on Women’s History, mostly linked to the 19th and 20th centuries (Arlette Farge, Cécile Dauphin). Other eras as well as the other sex have been neglected, except for priestly celibacy which has been studied from a theological point of view (Nicole Grévy-Pons) and from a social/judicial approach (Myriam Deniel-Ternant, Cindy-Sarah Dumortier).
Singlehood is caught in a set of representations forged by our Western modernity, which has made the couple the normative model. Sociologists have met singlemen/women and have testified to their loneliness, sadness, economic difficulties, and social stigmas created by their status (Pierre Bourdieu, Marie Bergström, Françoise Courtel, Géraldine Vivier).
This conference intends to build a dialogue between several academic fields, historical timelines and cultural areas in order to evaluate the multiple situations of singlehood. To take a step back from the stereotypes of the old maid and the old bachelor, it will also be necessary to conduct a study of gender differences or similarities.
Three lines of questioning: