Women’s narratives and European integration history

This conference explores women’s role in the European project launched after the Second World War. 

The history of European integration and Europeanisation has developed into a varied field that has moved on from an initial focus on the vision and achievements of the founding fathers. However, even though women played a vital part in the European project launched after the Second World War, their role has yet to be fully explored. Women tended to remain in the background until they began to be more readily accepted, from the mid-1970 onwards, as political leaders, particularly following the first European elections by direct universal suffrage (1979) and the appointment of the first female European Commissioner (1989). By adopting an interdisciplinary approach and divers methodological backgrounds, the conference aims to analyse the topic of women from a variety of perspectives including specific historiographical traditions and theories related to the history of women, biographical narratives in the development of the European project, the “female lobby” in favour and against Europe, gendered entanglements related to European democracy, rights, policies, institutions and actors, digital storytelling and oral history in developing new knowledge of the past.

The conference is organised in connection with the project “The role of women in European and international relations in Luxembourg” (2021-2025), developed by the University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH) and Europe Direct at the University of Luxembourg (ED-UNILU).

Thursday 20 April (14.00 – 18.30) 

Friday 21 April 2023 (9.00 – 13.30)

Maison du Savoir, Salle Germain Dondelinger, 17e étage
2, avenue de l’Université
L-4365 Esch-sur-Alzette

and online

Please register if you want to join in-person or online.


Thursday 20 April 2023

Welcome and light lunch
Opening session
 Opening address – Simone Niclou, Vice-Rector for Research at the University of Luxembourg 
 Welcome address – Valérie Schafer, Head of the Contemporary European History (EHI) research area at the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH)
 Introduction – Elena Danescu, Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History

Women who have shaped Europe: a dialogue with Martine Reicherts, former Director General of the Publications Office of the European Union, former European Commissioner for Justice and current President of the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR)
Coffee break
Panel I, Chair: Sonja Kmec (University of Luxembourg)
 Gender and career inside the High Authority of the ECSC and the European Commission administration (1952-1995)
Aude Foucoin (European University Institute)
 Presence and influence? A study of female representation in the European Parliament during the European Economic Community years
Winona Kamphausen (Maastricht University)
 Agriculture is a man’s world, but is it? Female MEPs in the Committee on Agriculture (1958-1994)
Carine Germond (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)
Coffee break
Panel II, Chair: Katja Seidel (University of Westminster) 
 Capturing women’s history through documentary multimedia collections at the Historical Archives of the European Union: challenges and issues
Dieter Schlenker (Historical Archives of the European Union, European University Institute)
 No more undocumented: On the first twelve women of the European Chamber
Simona Guerra (University of Surrey)
 Women in international relations in Luxembourg: Pioneers and their memories
Elena Danescu and François Klein (Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History)
19.00Conference dinner

Friday 21 April 2023

Panel III, Chair: François Klein (Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History)
 Madame Europe: Katharina Focke, the German Social Democrats and European integration
Bastian Matteo Scianna (University of Potsdam)
 Formal and informal diplomacy: Miriam Camps and European Integration
Katja Seidel (University of Westminster)
 Eliane Vogel Polsky – A biographical digital story
Film by Agnès Hubert  (Foundation for European Progressive Studies)
Coffee break
Keynote address – Mauve Carbonell (Consortium des Universités Euro-Méditerranéennes)
Panel IV, Chair: Elena Danescu (Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History)
 The price of “true story”: The history of European integration in the autobiographical prose of Agnieszka Osiecka
Katarzyna Hanik (University of Silesia in Katowice)
 Aspects of the participation of Greek women in the European Women’s Lobby: Three narratives
Marina Bantiou (University of Thessaly) 

Closing remarks
Elena Danescu, Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History
13.30Brown bag lunch