© Will Truettner

Women’s Voices from the Mediterranean

What insights can women’s experiences, their use of language and their ways of communication add to our understanding of the early modern Mediterranean? Together with NIAS fellow Eric Dursteler, historian Maartje van Gelder and writers Nisrine Mbarki and Lamia Makkadam we explore women’s active participation in this multilingual region. What can insights from the early modern age tell us about today?

This NIAS Talk sheds light on women’s ways of communicating and their underexplored experiences in the Mediterranean. What defines using your voice? For some it is the freedom to speak your mind, for others it’s being able to speak multiple languages or to publish your writings. Whereas today social media and language apps have given an increasing number of women the power to communicate the way they want to, we know little about their experiences of navigating their voice back in the days.

How did women communicate in the early modern Mediterranean? What were there experiences? Recent years have seen growing interest in language and communication in this time and age, in particular its multilingual character. However, the focus has been largely on men; women have been almost entirely ignored. Recovering these experiences may tell us more about both women’s and men’s roles in society. Furthermore, what can insights from the early modern age tell us about today?

About the speakers

Eric Dursteler is Professor of History at Brigham Young University, England. His research focuses on the entangled history of the early modern Mediterranean, in particular gender, language, food and identity.

Maartje van Gelder is Associate Professor of early modern history and director of the Amsterdam School of Historical Studies. She’s a member of the Amsterdam Centre for Urban History. Her research focusses on urban history and the social and cultural history of politics. Van Gelder was a NIAS Fellow in 2018/19.

Nisrine Mbarki is a writer, poet, columnist and literary translator. Amongst others, Mbarki writes short stories and poetry, and translates poetry from Arabic to Dutch. She has appeared at festivals such as Poetry International, Globale Festival in Bremen, Winternachten, Read My World and the Felix Poetry Festival in Antwerp. Her debut poetry collection Oeverloos (Endless) will be published in January 2022.

Lamia Makkadam is a poet, translator and journalist. She published three books of poetry in Arabic. Je zult me vinden in elk woord dat ik schrijf (2020) was translated from Arabic, a collaborative project between Makkadam and writer Abdelkader Benali. Makkadam also translates to Arabic, for example novels by Connie Palmen and Malva by former NIAS writer-in-residence fellow Hagar Peeters.

Zará Kars (moderator) is a Public Historian and Programme maker at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study.

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