Gender Symp.: “In Search of Early Modern Women: Recovering Morisca Women's Work in Male-Produced Texts from Spain and Morocco”
Fri, April 26, 2013 • 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM • GAR 1.102
The Department of History's Graduate Symposium on Gender, History, and Sexuality presents:
“In Search of Early Modern Women: Recovering Morisca Women's Work in Male-Produced Texts from Spain and Morocco”
A talk by Libby Nutting, Ph.D. candidate in History at the University of Texas at Austin.
In a year spent in the archives in Spain and Morocco researching Morisco (Christians of Muslim descent) communities in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, I read hundreds of archival documents. Not one was written by a woman. Many were written by men and mentioned only men-- as though the world they described was one in which women were totally absent or at least hidden in their homes, invisible to the public and irrelevant to historical change. This fits neatly with the stereotype of the traditional Muslim woman and many historians have not questioned it, but it is a distorted version of history. Women were active not only in domestic life but in economics, religion, and politics. In particular, women's work was a vital part of the economic life of Mediterranean cities and towns in the early modern period. I will talk about the reasons for women's invisibility in the archives and how careful analysis of the few references to women in historical texts can be used to reconstruct the daily lives of early modern women and their role in historical change.
The Symposium on Gender, History, and Sexuality has been a fixture in Department of History since 2001, offering a forum for graduate students and faculty to present papers and works-in-progress for discussion in a relaxed and collegial atmosphere.