Scholarship in recent years has revealed the multilingual character of the early modern Mediterranean. The sea was a linguistic contact zone where language boundaries were multiple, shifting, and eclectic. To this point, however, women have been marginal to this developing discourse. This lecture will attempt to redress this imbalance through an examination of some of the ways that women navigated and participated in the multilingual Mediterranean, and in particular the contexts and methods in which they acquired linguistic skills. Where men often experienced linguistic diversity in certain political, religious, military or economic contexts, women did so in a range of settings important in their own lives: homes, public baths, marital beds, nurseries, markets, workshops, slave emporia, convents, palaces, infirmaries, embassies, brothels, and networks of correspondence. The diverse spaces that women inhabited ultimately enabled rather than obstructed their multilingual discourse. They served as arenas in which women were exposed to and acquired linguistic varieties and multilingual communication skills, and in which women often educated each other in languages.
N.B.: The event will be held via ZOOM. Please register with [email protected]