Events, WHN Annual Conference

Women’s History Network Annual Conference: ‘Curating the Female Self’, September 2024

Two pictures of femme-presenting individuals. The picture on the left is a drawing of Mary Cassat. The picture on the right is a black and white photograph of someone holding a mirror and smiling.

First Call for Papers

Women’s History Network Annual Conference 

Hosted with the Bedford Centre for the History of Women and Gender at Royal Holloway University, 5-6 September 2024

Women’s History Network and the Bedford Centre for the History of Women and Gender look forward to welcoming you to Royal Holloway, University of London, which will be celebrating 175 years of scholarship in 2024. This will also be the Women’s History Network’s first in-person conference in five years. We hope you are as excited as we are to enjoy our time together!

Curating the Female Self 

One of the exciting developments in women’s history over the last few years is the explosion of different approaches to agency, empowerment and identity, as well scholarly attention to issues of intersectionality and context-specific identity-formation. Our 2024 conference aims to explore the creative potential of this diversity by encouraging papers from a wide variety of perspectives and disciplinary approaches.

Possible topics of interest include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • the distinctive presence of women and female networks in oral history and storytelling
    • critical fabulation
    • composure
  • womanhood as a (contested) category of identity
    • race, gender, class etc.
    • community, cohesion, transgression
  • material culture and the history of objects as a route to understanding women of the past
    • family/personal papers/collections
    • curations of family history
  • the role of women as artists and performers
    • and/or as subjects of art and drama
    • female bodies and the objective gaze
  • self-fashioning
    • fashion and textiles
    • contested or transgressive self-fashioning
    • female identity in its broadest forms
  • women and the media
    • (re)presentation
    • social media, past, present and future
  • women as political actors and agents
    • female activism and agency
    • gender politics

We invite submissions of 150 – 200-word abstracts for 15 -minute papers which take a critical look at these areas of history. Proposals are welcomed from scholars working at all levels, including those without an institutional affiliation and for example, those working outside academia, heritage or any other specific sector.

As part of WHN’s mission to support postgraduate scholars, we also welcome and encourage participation from post-graduate researchers interested in any other areas of Women’s History to the Open Strand. Contributors to this strand are asked to propose a 10-minute lightning talk only.

All submissions must be on the form downloadable from  and emailed to by 29 March 2024.


A group of logos: Women's History Network logo (left); Royal Holloway University of London logo (middle); Women's History Network logo (right).

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