Every society throughout history has defined what counts as work and what doesn’t. And more often than not, those lines of demarcation are inextricable from considerations of gender. What Is Work? offers a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding labor within the highly gendered realm of household economies. Drawing from scholarship on gender history, economic sociology, family history, civil law, and feminist economics, these essays explore the changing and often contested boundaries between what was and is considered work in different Euro-American contexts over several centuries, with an eye to the ambiguities and biases that have shaped mainstream conceptions of work across all social sectors.
Raffaella Sarti is Associate Professor of Early Modern History and Gender History at the University of Urbino, Italy, and is a member of the editorial collective of Gender & History. Her studies address family and material culture, women’s work, domestic service, Mediterranean slavery, masculinity, and graffiti, among other topics. She is the author of numerous publications in nine languages.
Anna Bellavitis is Professor of Early Modern History, Director of the Groupe de Recherche d’Histoire at Université de Rouen-Normandie, and senior member of the Institut Universitaire de France. She has led numerous international research projects on family history, gender history, and labor history in Early Modern Europe in collaboration with European universities and institutions.
Manuela Martini is Professor of Modern History at the Université Lumière Lyon 2. She has directed international research projects on labor history, family and gender history, and labor migration. A member of Gender & History’s editorial collective, she has published extensively in multiple languages and has authored or edited sixteen books and special journal issues.