Les femmes et les milieux urbains

The city has traditionally been configured as a fundamentally masculine space, an ordered, rational, manmade expression, both literal and symbolic, of men’s intellectual and spiritual projects and ideals. In contrast, rural domains, metaphorical ?wild zones’, are associated with the natural, the non-rational, the feminine. This gendered perception of the city finds further reinforcement in the binary opposition of culture/nature. It would appear to be men who found, plan, build and dominate cities « who constitute the City Fathers and Sons « while women figure far less frequently in cityscapes and feel less »at home » when they do. Yet, in 1405, Christine de Pizan wrote an allegorical account about women planning, building and living in an urban environment in Le livre de la cité des dames. This conference seeks to question and challenge many of the idées reçues surrounding women’s ongoing association with the private, the domestic, and the rural. Is the city environment inevitably hostile and threatening to (lone) women, an intimidating and dehumanizing force« Or, rather, does it represent a liberating space ? whether anonymous or sororal – of rich social and cultural horizons where women can self-determine »

The conference draws together academics and postgraduates working in areas of French studies which include literature, history, and film, as well as the French feminist group ‘Genre et Ville’ whose activities centre on issues relating to women’s freedom of movement and their place in the urban landscape.

Click below to register for the event:
(Full fee « 20. Unwaged and PG discount rate »10.)

Click below to see full details of the Conference programme, including speakers and panels:

3 contributions concernent le domaine femmes Ancien Régime :
  • Julie Pilorget, Université Paris-IV, Sorbonne :’Pour (leur) paine et travail’: Définir la valeur du travail féminins à Amiens à la fin du Moyen Âge
  • Bertrand Marceau, Université Paris-IV, Sorbonne :Contrôle masculin et autonomie féminine dans l’espace urbain. Le cas des religieuses des Salenques à Toulouse (XVIIe ? XVIIIe siècles)
  • Anna Jenkin, University of Sheffield :Mapping Monstrosity: the Role of the City in the Crimes of Female Mass-murderers in Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth-Century London and Paris

For all further queries, including information about the post-conference dinner, please contact:

With the support of King’s College London French Department, The Society for French Studies and The Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France