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Elena Musiani

Adjunct professor

Department of History and Cultures

Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

Department of Education Studies "Giovanni Maria Bertin"

Teaching tutor

Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures


“Methods, sources, research and documentation for women's studies” a. a. 2021-2022 Prof. Roberto Balzani - Compulsory Seminars - Classes are held in the Ist Semester

The course is designed as an introduction to the methodological sources and sites of memory for women’s studies. Throughout the modern era documents, "produced and received" by women during their lives, were in fact preserved within the family archives, whose inventories, however, have often ignored their existence. These documents are personal papers, such as letters, diaries and memoirs, which reflect the position of women in private, because it was not allowed to them to have a professional life (if not as wives or widows) and were then forced to live a private lives and reduced inside the home. Since the twentieth century, the century that has witnessed the rise of a progressive female subjectivity and also a public role of the same, there has been a multiplication of women’s archives. Women, however, have often showed little awareness of the importance of these sources for the construction of a memory in the singular or plural. Hence the need to rediscover and retrieve a memory for the women.

This course will also provide students the tools to address a research in general (in the humanities), and in particular in women and gender history.

The course will develop the following topics:

  • History and memory.
  • The concept of document and its various definitions.
  • Places of remembrance and research: libraries, archives.
  • Oral history and oral sources.
  • The concept of documentation.
  • Special libraries: structure, organization, purpose, unique products, standards description and reference tools.
  • Resources and documentation services in a gender perspective: the women’s documentation centre in Bologna.


Sue McKemmish, “Evidence of me”, The Australian Library Journal,

45:3 (1996), pp. 174-187.

Honor Sachs, Reconstructing a Life: The Archival Challenges of Women's History, 2008.

More suggestions will be given during lessons.

For further information: Elena Musiani: []

Published on: September 07 2021