NATIONAL ITALIAN AUSTRALIAN WOMEN ASSOCIATION (NIAWA)
DR. LUCIA SORBERA
Senior Lecturer. Honours and Postgraduate Coordinator
Department of Arabic Language and Cultures
School of Languages and Cultures
The University of Sydney
A Politics of Freedom. Women’s Movements in the Mediterranean
The twentieth century has been women’s century. This statement emphasizes the relatively fast trajectory, less than one hundred years that led women from second class citizens to occupying leading roles in the political, cultural, social and economic spheres. Of course, history is not linear, and its twisted course is not just made of high achievements for women. It also features half victories, defeats, and striking contradictions. Most importantly, what have often been described as women’s issues should be a matter of concern for our whole society. Behind so called women’s emancipation lurks the emancipation of both women and men from socially constructed gender roles and expectations.
Shedding light on these complex trajectories, this talk will focus on contemporary political history in the Mediterranean, analysing the experiences and networks among women political activists across the region. My main focus will be on Italy in relation to North African countries. Specific attention will be paid to a common patriarchal context, characteristic of traditional cultures in all these countries, to the impact on women of the processes of modernization and secularization, colonization and decolonization, nationalisms and transnational flows of peoples and ideas between the two shores of the Mediterranean, and how women shaped these processes.
The talk will cover the main turning points in the twentieth and twenty-first century histories of the Mediterranean, from the Belle Époque to the First World War, from the affirmation of Fascism to the Second World War, covering also decolonization processes, the Cold War and the “New World Order”, until the so called Arab Spring.
The new century presents a combination of novel and old challenges for Mediterranean women. These challenges can be better tackled if we nourish a deep awareness of the long historical road to the present.
Lucia Sorbera is senior lecturer at the Department of Arabic Language and Cultures, University of Sydney. She obtained her PhD from the University Ca’ Foscari in Venice (2006) with a thesis on Egyptian and Italian feminisms in the 1920s.
Dr Sorbera currently serves in the board of the Italian Society for Middle East Studies (SESAMO); in the editorial board of the series on Gender and Women’s History OF THE Italian Soceity of Women Historians, published by Viella (Rome); and the board of the Italian Society of Women Historians’ Summer School. In 2014 she co-edited a special issue of the Journal Post-Colonial Studies (17,1:2014) on Imagining the Revolution, to which she contributed with an article on “Challenges of thinking feminism and revolution in Egypt between 2011 and 2014” and an afterword on “Writing revolution: new inspirations, new questions”. In 2013 she co-edited a special issue of Genesis, the Journal of the Italian Society of Women Historians, dedicated to Feminisms in the Mediterranean, to which she contributed with an article titled: “Early reflections of an historian on feminism in Egypt in time of revolution”, and she is co-author of the book (in Italian), Modernità arabe. Nazione, narrazione e nuovi soggetti nel romanzo egiziano, Mesogea, Messina, 2012 (with Lorenzo Casini and Maria Elena Paniconi). She is currently co-editing a special issue of the Journal Global Discourse on the theme of “Legitimacy”.
For an updated list of her publications, conference activities and interventions see
SATURDAY 10TH OCTOBER
@ 02:00 PM
ITALIAN FORUM CULTURAL CENTRE
23 NORTON STREET, PIAZZA LEVEL, LEICHHARDT