"The Women in the History of the Jews of Italy" conference will be held from June 6-9 at the Palazzo Guidiccioni, the seat of the local archive in Lucca. It will be organized by the Centro Interdipartimentale di Studi Ebraici (CISE) of the University of Pisa and the Archivio di Stato di Lucca, as part of an agreement between the Italian Ministry of Culture and Israeli universities.
This is in keeping with a series of eight previous conferences which have been held since 1981 in Tel Aviv, in Israel, and Bari, Genoa, Siena, Palermo, Reggio Emilia and Trani in Italy. The proceedings have been published by the Direzione generale per gli Archivi di Stato. The theme of the 2005 conference in Lucca will be the role of women in the world of Italian Jewry during a period spanning a thousand years until the end of second millenium. The idea is to bring together Italian Jewish history and gender history for the first time.
The starting point will naturally be constituted by the analysis of the position of women in the Jewish tradition but will also encompass the changes and adaptations which took place in Italy: in particular, marital practices and relations will be studied, for example, the move from poligamy to monogamy and the tacit move from repudiation, on the part of the husband, to outright divorce, obtained from the wife.
Themes with respect to the juridical condition of Jewish women will be studied, their role in education in the context of the family, the role that women and their property played in the system of the construction and transmission of heritage and their incursions into the world of work as well as the specificity of their experiences in the events surrounding the racial persecution and the Holocaust.
Particular attention will be given to the body and vital cycles of women, bodily "purification" rituals within the religious tradition (the question of ritual bathing), the age of marriage, the use of contraception (which is thought to be more precocious than in the Christian world), childbirth, breastfeeding, abortion, care of the body and clothing, longevity, etc.
Participants coming from Italian, Israeli, European and American Universities and research centres.
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