The Presence of Women Editors in the Press Industry (1850-1950) (Panel)


Cultural Studies and Media Studies / Comparative Literature

Christina Bezari (Ghent University)

This panel examines the active participation of women in the public dialogue through the prism of their periodical publications. The rise of the periodical press has been recognized as a key factor in the formation of the public sphere in the nineteenth century (Habermas 1962). Studies of twentieth-century editorship, however, tend to take the institutionalization of editorship for granted. Male editors are often known by name, and they are studied in the light of their impact on the socio-political landscape of their time. Historically, however, editorship (and women’s editorship in particular) was often anonymous or pseudonymous and even explicitly staged as performance. Therefore, this panel encourages a thorough study of the common strategies and the cross-cultural networks that women editors developed in order to make their voices heard. More particularly, this panel outlines possible avenues for theoretical reflection on editorship by shedding light on periodical publications across linguistic, socio-cultural and historical boundaries. Transnational perspectives on female editorship are particularly welcome because they offer a comparative viewpoint and a complementary insight into women’s determination to position themselves in the public arena as makers of culture, arbiters of social values and proponents of human rights. Last but not least, this panel draws attention to the influence that female editorship exerted on the political, cultural, and aesthetic evolution which would come to shape and define modernity.

This panel examines the active participation of women in the public dialogue through the prism of their periodical publications. By looking into their practices of textual transfer, their editorial strategies and the transnational networks that they established, this panel sheds light on the content, structure, and functions of the periodical press in the long 19th century. Scholars are encouraged to explore the ways in which women’s journals shaped socio-cultural transitions by conducting comparative research across nations, cultures, and historical periods.