HomeHouseholds of Faith

HomeHouseholds of Faith

Households of Faith

Domesticity and Religion

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Published on Tuesday, June 19, 2007


La nouvelle historiographie socio-religieuse a mis en question la thèse de la sécularisation et la dichotomie entre un domaine public et un domaine privé. Néanmoins, au 19ème et la première moitié du 20ème siècle l’idéologie de la « domesticité » se répand et la famille devient plus que jamais le lieu où les pratiques religieuses prennent forme et dès lors un élément clé dans la formation des identités socio-religieuses des hommes et des femmes. Ces journées d’études veulent analyser les différentes modalités selon lesquelles hommes et femmes organisèrent leur vie et éducation religieuse en famille, et l’impact des structures domestique, y compris l’architecture et les interactions privé - public.


Although revisionist gender history has raised doubts about the novelty and relevance of the concept of ‘separate spheres’, ‘domesticity’ appears as a powerful ideal propagated widely, and particularly by Christians, throughout the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century. In the nineteenth century religious practice indeed apparently more and more moved into the private world of the family, creating the archetypical image of the mother as ‘angel in the house’, particularly among the (new) middle class. One should question though to which extend this model was propagated and imitated among rural and working classes, or if these did not develop different, even opposing models and practices. Recent historical research tries to reintroduce men into the domestic sphere and pays attention to the patriarchal domesticity and its pious responsibilities. Nevertheless, not all families were ‘households of faith’: particularly among farmers and the working class the ideal of domestic piety only slowly manifested itself. Religion could also function as a demarcation line between the male and female members (e.g. France).

Hence this workshop will assess the multiple ways in which men and women organised their religious life in the domestic sphere in different social, national (regional) and confessional contexts. Papers may address the private expressions of faith of women and/ or men at home, the home religious education, the role of reading (incl. children’s literature) in the construction of gendered religious identities, investigate the architecture and design of the home as well as the interactions of the home with the outer (public?) world, via transgressions of home boundaries (such as the role of visitors, lay and religious; of the doorstep as the boundary allowing transgression and negotiation; gossiping) and the impact of home culture on the public sphere. Also papers that deal with the representations of the home in public discourse or that question the chronology and validity of the formulation and reality of the domestic ideal are welcome. Geographically the focus is on Europe, though for the sake of comparison papers on North America will also be considered.

Proposals for papers (max. 300 words) should be addressed by e-mail to Professor Dr. Patrick Pasture (Patrick.Pasture@arts.KULeuven.be) by 15 August 2007 (extended deadline). The organisers will make a selection of proposals. Anyone who submitted a proposal will be informed by 15 September 2007. After reviewing the papers will be published.

This workshop is the second of two workshops organised in the framework of a research project of the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO). The organising committee consists of Prof. dr. Jan Art (University of Ghent), Thomas Buerman (University of Ghent), Prof. dr. Jan De Maeyer (Kadoc, KU Leuven), Prof. dr. Patrick Pasture (spokesperson), Prof. dr. Leen Van Molle, Tine Van Osselaer and Prof. dr. Vincent Viaene (MoSa, KU Leuven).


  • Leuven, Belgium


  • Wednesday, August 15, 2007


  • Histoire religieuse, domesticité, Gender


  • Patrick Pasture
    courriel : Patrick [dot] Pasture [at] arts [dot] kuluven [dot] be

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Patrick Pasture
    courriel : Patrick [dot] Pasture [at] arts [dot] kuluven [dot] be


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Households of Faith », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, June 19, 2007, https://doi.org/10.58079/bnh

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