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CFP: Across Europe, from early modern to present times. Migrant women and their unknown success stories

    The present collection of unknown stories is a complementary response to current initiatives that advantage personalities as part of an immigrational flow with influence on the European political and cultural arena. However, all these omit to include into the discussion the link between two factors (gender and migration), and do not recognize and interpret the specificity, outcomes, and impact of female transnational mobility. Marie Curie represents a well-known example of the success a migrant woman had in the academia and in France. Born in 1867 as Marie Skłodowska in a Poland that was under the Russian Empire rule, she immigrated to France where she developed her career as a physicist and chemist. Marie Curie also founded two medical research institutes in both Poland (Warsaw) and France (Paris), thus indirectly recognizing the influence these cultures had on her. Through her discoveries and as a Nobel prize winner, Curie became a pioneer in her field of specialization. In mid-nineteenth century, in another corner of Europe, another Marie would become the symbol of a free Romania. Marie Grant, born in 1819 in Guernsey, Scotland, will come to the capital of nowadays Romania, Bucharest, as a governess to teach the children of a local official. Acquainted with the young generation of Romanians educated in the West, she was so much involved in the 1848 local revolution that Daniel Rosenthal represented Revolutionary Romania by painting her. This political activism is one side of her activity. Another one is as publicist and the founder of the first Romanian journal on child rearing and education (Mama și copilul – Mother and child). Both these Maries were highly inspirational for their times and receiving countries, but they also represent the tip of the iceberg as many other women like them thrived.

    The project takes a different approach and privileges those hidden stories of women who influenced local communities and structures but were either forgotten or marginalized in the face of what we might call an event-based history. These women do not have a Wikipedia page or if they have it is either short or incomplete. The aim of this collection of stories is to follow the entanglements between gender, migration, community and profession in order to highlight the routes for success on different labour markets and cultural arenas.

    Biographies should refer to women who had a contribution in art, education, economy, welfare and culture in their receiving country. Other fields of action are also welcomed.

    Such a story is made around the following elements:

    1. Biographical details that refer to places and dates of birth/death, family and acquaintances, educational background and so on. The context of each woman’s activity is also relevant and should be tackled.
    2. Migration route and motifs of migration. Marriage is not seen as an impediment as many women were active and influential despite their civil status (see the above examples).
    3. Professional or economic group to which she belongs. The relation between the woman and her economic / professional group should be clearly stated as well as the relevance of her example.
    4. Economic means. This aspect refers to those resources that helped the woman to succeed in her activity. It might be of a financial or of human nature.
    5. Achievements. Besides the significance for her social group, such a biography should highlight the woman’s accomplishments in why she remained important for the community / profession / society in general.
    6. References.

    Authors who want to contribute should send a short presentation of each of their entries highlighting the significance of the biography and in what way it connects with the call (ca. 500 words/entry) by 7 May 2021 to the book coordinators:

    Nicoleta Roman (‘Nicolae Iorga’ Institute of History & New Europe College, Bucharest):


    Beatrice Zucca Micheletto (University of Cambridge & University of Rouen-Normandy)