Research Roundtable: Transgression, Gender, and Community in Eurasia, 1600–1800
Our understanding of the relationship between transgression, gender, social regulation and the local community in pre-modern Eurasia is still underdeveloped in historical research. To advance this discussion, the members of this research roundtable will explore both the extent to which neighborhood communities were gendered spatially and socially, and the often gendered nature of informal and formal social regulation within them. Ten-minute presentations of research will be followed by discussion involving roundtable members and the audience.
In the past decade the history of crime, transgression, and social regulation has witnessed a burgeoning interest in gender that is often intertwined with notions about space. Numerous studies have pointed out the importance of the neighborhood and community in understanding transgression and crime, particularly for women. Various theories about gendered space, which have nuanced older notions of separate private and public spheres, have brought the neighborhood or local community to the fore as an important site of workingwomen’s daily interactions and transgressions. This is where confrontations took place and conflicts were settled among community members, who often merely witnessed them but who sometimes also mediated or intervened, whether directly or through participation in legal processes.
Neighborhood or local community is understood here broadly as a space of interaction: as a physical site that is inherently used by women and men both in similar and in different, gendered manners. The presentations and extensive discussion among participants and with the audience of this research roundtable will shed light on the interactions between neighborhood as a site of transgression and community involvement, either as bystanders, interveners or informants to the courts, often (but not exclusively) through the lens of gender. It will also highlight the cultural construction of these key concepts through bringing together specialists of different regions in Eurasia. This session will be of interest to historians of pre-modern gender, women, sexuality, and crime; as well as urban, legal, and social history.