The course consists of lectures and seminar meetings, tracing the role and presence of women in the contemporary age. In particular, they are examined in the nineteenth century, that is, in the first of the two centuries of modernity, which is also the foundation, the processes and movements of women's emancipation, starting from the conquest of civil rights and the demand for access to political rights.
In this direction, specific attention is given to the suffragist movement. A second important topic addressed in the course concerns the image of women both as a self-representation and as a perception by civil and ecclesiastical institutions. A further topic of study concerns sexuality: in the nineteenth century in social and health studies, but also in a large part of literary production, it mainly concerns the universe of women of pleasure and prostitutes. The analysis of regulated prostitution, practiced in closed houses, allows us to penetrate even the complex mechanisms, legal, sanctioning, but also social-health and cultural that interconnect civil society and the state.
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The course, which includes a historical-conceptual survey in the context of post-unification Italy, aims to retrace the history of the female condition in contemporary modernity, through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In particular, the nineteenth century marks the birth of feminism with its structural changes, wage labor, individual civil rights, the right to education. It is presented as the century that has rethought the life of women as the development of a personal story subject to a specific, socially elaborated collective regulation. Through the two events that mark the nineteenth century, it opens with a revolution and ends with a war, both call women to the collection, allowing men to play a subtle game between inclusion / participation and the exclusion / repulsion of women from problems affecting the state and the nation.
First, an investigation is planned on the relationship between the political and cultural perception of the feminine in the passage between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In doing so, we will see how, from the intersection between science and cultural prejudices, we have come to a definition, in many ways monolithic of the woman-type.
The 20th century ratifies an inescapable and continuous process towards the emancipation of women. Overwhelmed by war, revolution or dictatorship, they are spectators and actresses of a formidable upheaval between genders. Western women, long after men, have access to modernity: the century of total war, the century of genocide that has no mercy for the female gender, but also the century of technology that provides women and men with better health and increased health longevity, plus other levels of training and new ways of living marked by urbanization and the multiplication of goods and services.
The topics dealt with concern the Great War and whether this was the age of the woman or the triumph of sexual difference; the twenties and the modern woman in the United States; the fascist patriarchy; National Socialism; the Soviet model and the conservative revolution; women in the political sphere; feminism in the 60s and 70s; procreation and bioethics.
In particular, in addition to the more general Italian sexual question between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, attention will be paid to the history of prostitution. Starting from the Cavour Regulation, passing through the Merlin law and reaching the examination of the phenomenon of the closure of the houses of tolerance and the year of the sexual revolution.

Core Documentation

G. Duby, M. Perrot, Storia delle donne. Il Novecento, Laterza, Roma-Bari
L. Azara, I sensi e il pudore. L’Italia e la rivoluzione dei costumi, Donzelli, Roma 2018
M. Loconsole, Umberto Notari e il confronto tra tradizione ed emancipazione in “Intersezioni”, anno XXVIII, n.2, agosto 2018 (https://www.rivisteweb.it/doi/10.1404/90478)

Type of delivery of the course

The course consists of lectures, integrated with readings of original texts and screening of documentary films on the topics covered in the course.

Type of evaluation

The evaluation is based on an oral exam