Contemporary history of Europe

Women’s narratives and European integration history

20 April 2023 to 21 April 2023

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)
19.00 Conference 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 addressA world of men in three-piece suits? In search of women in the history of European integration
Mauve Carbonell (Jean Monnet Chair, Lecturer in History, Aix-Marseille Unviersity)
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) 
  Rethinking of European women’s effort for gender equality
Meliha Nur Çerçinli (Republic of Turkey Presidential State Archives)

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


Keynote Speakers (in alphabetical order)

Mauve Carbonell

Mauve Carbonell, Jean Monnet Chair, is a lecturer in history at Aix-Marseille University, president of the Tethys Consortium of Euro-Mediterranean Universities, director of the European and International Studies master's degree, researcher at the UMR TELEMMe. She is also, for Aix-Marseille, coordinator of the international Erasmus Mundus master's degree "South European Studies" EUROSUD. Her work focuses on the European Communities in their early days as well as on the industrial and environmental history of Europe and the Mediterranean in the 20th century.

Main publications:

  • Mauve Carbonell, Ivan Grinberg, Francis Gutmann, un homme libre au service de la France. Entre Quai d'Orsay et grande industrie, Aix-en-Provence, 2022.
  • Mauve Carbonell et alii (dir.), Industrie entre Méditerranée et Europe, XIXe-XXIe siècle, PUP, Aix-en-Provence, 2019.
  • Nathalie Rezzi, Mauve Carbonell (Dir.), L’enseignement de l’Europe et de l’Union européenne à l’école : études comparées et expériences croisées, Paris, L'Harmattan, 2019.
  • Mauve Carbonell, De la guerre à l'union de l'Europe: Itinéraires luxembourgeois, Bruxelles, Peter Lang B, 2014
  • Mauve Carbonell, Des hommes à l'origine de l’Europe, PUP, Aix-en-Provence, 2008



Martine Reicherts

Martine Reicherts has held multiple positions during her career. She was Deputy Head of Cabinet in the cabinet of President Jacques Santer, as well as his spokesperson. She was also Director General of the Publications Office of the European Union, European Commissioner in charge of the Justice portfolio for 4 months, Director General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture. Since February 2018, she has been a member of the board of the Central Bank in Luxembourg and since December 2019, she is President of the National Research Fund in Luxembourg. Mrs Reicherts is also President of the Luxembourg Federation of Yoga Teachers, member of the strategic council, University of Aix/Marseille, France, member of the board of the Alumni Europae, member of the board of the Solistes européens Luxembourg and President of the Mouvement européen Luxembourg.