Reading gender

Ambivalence and power in reading and literacy practices

26FEBRUARY 2023, 11:30 - 13:30
Casa de Velázquez
Seminario MIAS - EHEHI

Margarida Barroso

Michela Donateli
Universitá Roma Tre


  • Margarida Barroso
    Fellow MIAS - MSCA IF

  • Michela Donateli
    Universitá Roma Tre

Casa de Velázquez
Salle Pierre Paris


Horario: 11:30-13:30


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The access to literacy and reading have been historically determined by social, cultural and economic factors, such as gender and class, with socially privileged men predominating the spheres of intellectuality and erudition. Over time, the ongoing reconfiguration of traditional gender roles, paired with the gradual democratisation of education, have changed these established patterns. In contemporary societies, women tend to attain higher levels of formal education, and engage more frequently than men in reading practices. However, these trends coexist with persistent gender norms that still make women prevalent amongst the global illiterate population. In this seminar, we aim to discuss how reading and literacy practices are shaped by gendered power dynamics, with ambivalent manifestations which may be an expression of unfinished modernity processes. In the first part of the seminar, Michela Donateli analyses the public library, bookclubs, and the social construction of the female reader. In the second part of the seminar, Margarida Barroso examines absolute illiteracy, identity, and temporalities.