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Nisa al-Andalus: Historical reflections on women in Al-Andalus

From June 11, 2018 until November 15, 2018All of the conferences will be held at 7:30 p.m., with the exception of the opening event, which will be held at 8:00 p.m.
CóRDOBA
Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Samuel de los Santos Gener, 9). All of the conferences will be held at 7:30 p.m., with the exception of the opening event, which will be held at 8:00 p.m. Free entry until the event’s capacity is reached.
In Spanish.

Casa Árabe has organized this series of twelve conferences, taking place from March through November at its headquarters in Cordoba. Opening on March 8, 2018.

Various theoretical frameworks have attempted to explain the reasons behind the social inequality of women throughout history. Many have focused solely and exclusively on studying asymmetrical power balances and the role played by culture and the historically  institutionalized patriarchy. However, history always shows us that there are exceptions.

These distortions are what we have attempted to outline in this series of conferences.

The contexts are what they are, but the incredible internal diversity existing in the contemporary Arab world, like that which existed back in the medieval era or in Al-Andalus, means that “the exception proves the rule.” Differences in terms of age, personal status (married, unmarried, enslaved or free), ethnic origin, family and socio-economic position, as well as the historical and religious contexts themselves, show us a great deal of internal diversity that can be hard to define.

Distant from clichés and historical prejudices, the women of Al-Andalus obviously formed a significant part of life in Al-Andalus and the Middle Ages, even reaching positions and holding roles in Law, religion, patronage of the arts, society, etc., that filled both public and private spaces, making women more visible.

From an educational and historiographical perspective, reflecting on the existing document sources, we will be delving into the field of contemporary women’s studies, analyzing the Arab sources and literary genres, along with today’s more current bibliography, with the goal of putting the role which women held in the era of Al-Andalus into context.
Nisa al-Andalus: Historical reflections on women in Al-Andalus
  • What is gender?: Historical and methodological approach

    What is gender?: Historical and methodological approach

    April 19, 20187:30 p.m.
    Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Samuel de los Santos Gener, 9) 7:30 p.m. Free entry until the event’s capacity is reached.
    In Spanish.
    Second conference in the cycle “Nisá al-Ándalus: Historical reflections on women in Al-Andalus,” given by Professor María Elena Díez Jorge.
    Traditionally, the active participation of women throughout history has been made invisible in historical studies. These historiographical absences first and foremost require that women be made visible. Gender should not be identified exclusively with women and must encompass all different identities and their performativity, not viewing them only from the heterosexual vantage point from which many often position themselves. However, given the imbalances in historical study, it is essential to recover the Women’s History while also bearing in mind that it is not the same to discuss gender as it is to place the focus of attention mainly on women. In recent years, many have frequently confused the terms “women” and “gender,” which is why this conference will bring up several conceptual and methodological reflections. Thus, in certain specific cases it will discuss studies of Al-Andalus and the Mudéjar period.

    María Elena Díez Jorge is an associate professor at the University of Granada’s Art History Department with national accreditation for the teaching corps of university department heads since February of 2015. Her dedication to two main lines of research stands out: firstly, her research towards Peace. Within this framework, she carries out related activities, above all involving multiculturalism and peaceful co-existence in art, specifically during the Mudéjar period, while also striving to unite studies on Al-Andalus with those on the Christian kingdoms. At the same time, she performs research related with Women’s History, with a special focus on “women’s spaces.” As a result of her research, along with her participation on several committees and advisory boards related with these lines of work, she has had many books and articles published, the most notable of which include El arte mudéjar. Expresión estética de una convivencia (Mudéjar Art: An aesthetic expression of co-existence); Mujeres y arquitectura: cristianas y mudéjares en la construcción (Women and Architecture: Christian and Mudéjar women in construction); El Palacio islámico de la Alhambra. Propuestas para una lectura multicultural (The Islamic Palace of the Alhambra: Proposals for a multicultural interpretation), as well as co-directing the work Género y Paz (Gender and Peace), and many others. She has also taught the graduate course “City, Architecture, Gender,” the course “Gender and Peace” and has organized and directed several seminars, congresses and meetings on the topic. She recently completed a project for excellence in architecture from a gender-based perspective.
  • Biographic study of women in Al-Andalus

    Biographic study of women in Al-Andalus

    April 24, 2018 7:30 p.m.
    CóRDOBA
    Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Samuel de los Santos Gener, 9). 7:30 p.m. Free entry until the event’s capacity is reached.
    In Spanish.
    Third conference in the cycle “Nisá al-Ándalus: Historical reflections on women in Al-Andalus,” given by Professor María Luisa Ávila Navarro.
    This conference will attempt to show the role played by women in the world of culture in Al-Andalus. To do so, the information found in the biographies included in Arab biographic dictionaries has been used. Although the number of women who are listed in these works is low —just over one hundred— they allow us to determine what type of activities women performed in the world of knowledge and their relationship with the society in which they lived. Teachers, disciples, scientific disciplines, marriage: these are a few of the topics that will be discussed. When analyzing these subjects, it becomes clear that inequality existed in the world of culture between free women and slaves, which reflects the differentiated roles they played in the society of Al-Andalus.

    María Luisa Ávila Navarro is a scientific researcher who focuses on Arab biographical literature, the history of Al-Andalus and Al-Andalus historiography. She has a PhD in Semitic Philology and is an Arabist at the School of Arab Studies in Granada (CSIC). She has authored many publications and books, the most notable of which include: Estudios onomástico-biográficos de al-Ándalus (1989-1990) [Onomastic and Biographic Studies of Al-Andalus (1989-1990)]. She has also written countless contributions to books, such as Biografías y género biográfico en el occidente islámico (Biographies and Biographic Gender in the Islamic West, 1997), in collaboration with Manuela Marín, and La mujer en al-Ándalus: reflejos históricos de su actividad y categorías sociales (Women in Al-Andalus: Historical reflections upon their activity and social categories, 1989) with María Jesús Viguera, to which she contributed her excellent research work titled Wise Women in Al-Andalus.
  • Musical development among the women of Al-Andalus 

    Musical development among the women of Al-Andalus 

    May 30, 20187:30 p.m.
    CóRDOBA
    Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Samuel de los Santos Gener, 9). 7:30 p.m. Free entry until the event’s capacity is reached.
    In Spanish.
    Fourth conference in the cycle “Nisá al-Ándalus: Historical reflections on women in Al-Andalus,” given by Inmaculada Serrano Hernández.
    The main purpose of this conference revolves around the need to acknowledge the fundamental role played by women devoted to music throughout history, placing a special emphasis on the women artists of Al-Andalus. This need is caused by the little recognition which women have received as creators and interpreters of their work. A brief historical overview will be provided, including the figures from the past who have influenced them and their later change and development in the art of music.

    Inmaculada Serrano Hernández is a professor of Spanish Language and Literature at the Instituto San Álvaro in Cordoba. She has been an Arabist since 2007, when she began her work researching the women writers of of Al-Andalus to increase awareness about them in education. She later expanded her studies to all of the female figures who stood out in the history of Cordoba in any social and cultural arena. She has given countless gender-based tours in Cordoba, contributing to several entities, the most notable of which are the Delegation of Education and Science of Cordoba, the Cordoba Center for Teachers and the headquarters of Casa Árabe in Cordoba.
PROVISIONAL SCHEDULE
Academic directors: Carmen González Gutiérrez and Inmaculada Serrano Hernández.


Thursday, March 8
8:00-8:30 p.m. Opening event
Isabel Ambrosio, Mayor of Cordoba
Pedro Martínez-Avial, the General Director of Casa Árabe

Opening conference:
Manuela Marín: The women of Al-Andalus: images, myths, history

Thursday, April 19
María Elena Díez Jorge: The “history of gender”: a historical approach and methodology

Tuesday, April 24
María Luisa Ávila Navarro: Biographic study of women in Al-Andalus

Wednesday, May 30
Inmaculada Serrano Hernández: Musical development by the women of Al-Andalus

Wednesday, June 13
Maram Al Masri The figure of Wallada: A selection of poems

Thursday, June 21
Teresa Garulo Muñoz: The women poets of Al-Andalus and their key model: Wallada

Thursday, July 5
María Teresa Casal García: Life cycle, rites and rituals of women in Al-Andalus

Wednesday, September 26
Eva Lapiedra Gutierrez: Women of Al-Andalus in public and private spaces

Thursday, October 18
Helena De Jesús De Felipe Rodríguez: Berber women in Al-Andalus

Thursday, October 11
Carmen González Gutiérrez: Patronage and the role of women in the city’s creation

Thursday, October 25
Bárbara Boloix Gallardo: Women in the kingdoms of “taifas.” The sultanas of the Alhambra

Thursday, November 15   
Closing conference
María Jesús Viguera Molins: Historical reflections on women in Al-Andalus