CFP – Gender and the Sea

Guest editor: dr. Djoeke van Netten

For centuries sailors thought that the presence of women on board would mean bad luck: rough weather,
big waves, and other disasters were sure to follow. Through notions like these, women were supposedly
excluded from the maritime domain. Therefore, the ship and the sea have predominantly been perceived as a space for men. Yet, the presence of women at sea has increased in the last century. This volume of the Yearbook for Women’s History therefore asks: to what extent was the sea ever a masculine space? This
volume examines if and how women were part of seafaring communities, maritime undertakings, and maritime culture.

In the field of maritime history, the role of women and gender have long been understudied. To enlighten
our understanding of the influence and presence of women in the maritime past, this volume of the
Yearbook for Women’s History will bring together recent research to provide more insight into the
contribution of women to the maritime world, including (but not limited to) maritime industries, seafaring
communities, naval warfare, (cruise) tourism, art and literature, and imaginary worlds concerning the sea
from antiquity to the twenty-first century.

Besides the role of women, this volume also wants to focus on the broader workings of gender and the role of femininity and masculinity in the maritime world. By doing so, this volume touches on different
intersections of gender with other political, socio-economic and cultural phenomena in relation to people’s use, fear, and admiration of the sea.

We welcome contributions that employ different scales of analysis from all over the world. We are looking
for articles that vary in length (3000-6000 words) and are written in Dutch or English.

Possible topics include:

  • Masculinity and femininity at sea and/or in the maritime world
  • The sea as a territory for men and/or women
  • Gender and maritime metaphors and myths
  • The sea, gender religion and/or superstition
  • Women and/or men in flags and ship decoration, e.g. figureheads
  • Paintings and portraits
  • Women (and children) who travelled by ships, e.g. in a colonial context
  • Women who worked in maritime industries (ashore)
  • Sailor’s wives
  • Female authors and publishers of poems and books regarding the sea
  • Women who worked on board in a broad range of professions
  • Women in the navy
  • Female pirates
  • Women on board dressed or disguised as men
  • Sea monsters, mermaids and mermen
  • Sex and sexuality on board
  • Forced migration of women and men, e.g. slave trade

    We invite authors from academia, museums and cultural and heritage institutions to submit an abstract.

    Abstracts (200-300 words) written in English or Dutch are to be submitted by 25 November 2021 to

    Important dates
    25 November 2021 Deadline for abstracts
    Early December 2021 Information concerning acceptance sent to the writers
    1 April 2022 Submission deadline for articles to be submitted to editorial and peer review
    End of August Submission deadline for final versions
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