Circulating Gender in the Global Enlightenment: Ideas, Networks, Agencies (CIRGEN)


CIRGEN offers for the first time a transnational and transatlantic approach to the circulation of gender notions and identities in eighteenth-century Europe and its colonial territories, thus overcoming national or merely comparative approaches and firmly placing the Enlightenment in the Hispanic empire on the map.

CIRGEN’s main goal is to examine transfers in the areas of translation, sociability, travel, reading and the culture of sensibility, from an actor-centered perspective that emphasizes individual and collective agency and explores from a critical angle the complex legacy of the Enlightenment (mostly particularly of the so-called “Catholic Enlightenment”).

We propose novel approaches to this field:

  • We put the stress on circularity, multiple connections (and also different disconnections and temporalities), a perspective that, although usual in other areas, has been seldom applied to the study of discourses on gender.
  • We study those connections in not only a European, but also in a transatlantic context, taking as reference and starting point the Hispanic empire in order to overcome the anglocentric bias often adopted by “global” or “Atlantic” histories.
  • We emphasize individual and collective agency, highlighting its role in the processes of sociocultural change.
  • We explore the complex legacy of the Enlightenment to modernity, in particular to such questioned forms of modernity as those of the so-called “Catholic Enlightenment”, specifically in the Hispanic world.

From these premises, we analyze the cultural transfer of notions of gender around five axes: translation, sociability and networks, travel, reading and sensibility, using a combination of archival research and both text and image analyses.

CIRGEN’s specific objetives

CIRGEN’s specific objectives are to challenge dichotomous visions of Enlightenment discourses of gender by stressing their plural (and often conflictive) contribution to modernity; decenter customary radial perspectives by stressing multilateral dialogues both within Europe and beyond; better understand the role played by gender in the cultural geography of Enlightenment, particularly in the construction of the South/North symbolic divide; produce empirically grounded evidence of the practical and iconic role of women in the making of modern reading publics; foster innovative scholarship on the gendering of emotions in defining national identities and moral standards of civilization.

Main research lines

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Translating Gender. Read more.
Gendered networks and connections. Read more. Travel and the gendered geographies of Enlightenment. Read more.The woman reader and the making of modern publics. Read more. Gendering sensibility: between universalism and national identity. Read more.

Project’s main milestones

Copyright © 2024 CIRGEN
Funded by: Horizon 2020/ERC-2017-Advanced Grant-787015 | @CIRGEN1