Democracy and Gender: The Legitimation of Power in Modern Societies



Dr. Clara Maier (HIS), Prof. Dr. Hedwig Richter (UniBw München)

Confirmed Speakers:


The emergence of democracy in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was bound up, in myriad and complex ways, with radical changes in gender relations. Yet the study of the concrete connections between these two phenomena remains marginalised in the historiography on democracy. There is a wide-ranging theoretical debate on gender, the role of concepts of masculinity for the definition and legitimation of politics, as well as a large literature on the exclusion of women from politics. This literature exists in isolation from a mostly social and cultural history of female political participation. The conference aims to combine these political-theoretical and historical perspectives in a new way, and to expand scope of research on gender and democracy in the fields of the history of political thought and political history. It seeks to explore and problematise the gendered orders which connect themselves to the legitimation of modern democracies from a historically informed point of view. Stretching from the Early Modern period to the crisis of democratic legitimacy in our own times, the conference will explore the concrete practice of gender in democratic societies, the significance of such practices for the legitimacy of democratic politics, and the interactions of democratic equality and gender inequality.

The conference Democracy and Gender at the Bundeswehr University Munich (UniBw München) invites papers which address the relationship between gender order and democratic legitimacy within a wide range of questions and topics.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Marriage and family as symbolic orders and their connection to democracy
  • Concepts and practices of the body and their interaction with democratic practices and conceptions
  • Conceptions of (hegemonic) masculinity in the history of democracy
  • The interactions between different orders of inequality (class, race, sexuality, gender identity) and conceptions of democracy


For further information about the conference please visit the Soziopolis website (in English).


Bundeswehr University Munich
Faculty for Social Sciences and Public Affairs

Department of History 

Werner-Heisenberg-Weg 39
85579 Neubiberg (Bavaria)


Universität der Bundeswehr München
Fakultät für Sozialwissenschaften

Historisches Institut

Werner-Heisenberg-Weg 39
85579 Neubiberg