An International and Collaborative Research Programme

Seminar Session: November 26, 2020: Dalenda Larguèche

“Feminine deliberative practices in Tunis: between intimacy, decision-making processes and the opinion”

November 26, 2020. 15h00-17h00 (Berlin Time). Registration:


The history of the city of Tunis, in its multiple temporalities, like that of other cities, has been above all a history of men, builders with their gestures and their words. The meanders of history, however, also invite us to pay attention to women who, despite their remoteness and invisibilisation, have always been present and active. They left their mark on the history of the city: they were actors of social change and bearers of capacities for opinion, action and mobilisation. In this lecture, which takes the Ottoman period, then the period of colonisation and finally the period of independence as its temporal framework, Dalenda Larguèche proposes a reflection on women’s practices, which in their diversity have participated in the socio-political management of the city and in the fabrication of opinion. The presentation first analyses the context and nature of the civic action of the Muradite princess Aziza Othmana in the 17th century, including an examination of the public dimension of the private act of habus (waqf). Dalenda Larguèche then devotes her analyses to the modes of public speaking of two feminist pioneers, Manoubia Ouartani and Habiba Menchari, in 1924 and 1929 respectively, and to the contribution of their actions to the consolidation of a sphere of expression of female opinion. In this spirit, the social and political action of the first Tunisian women’s association, born in 1936 in a colonial context, is also studied. Finally, the lecture devotes particular attention to the struggle of feminist activists for a radical change in the unequal relations in society during the segmented period of the independent state, as well as to the contestation of this male domination through specific demands and modes of mobilisation against those who support and structure gender inequalities in society. This attention to the longue durée of women’s expression makes it possible, between personal or intimate gestures and deliberative action of a civic and political nature, within the framework of diversified and evolving practices, to finally consider women not only as markers of history, despite the oblivion that has often struck them in the dominant historiography, but also as actors rooted in time with a strong opinion and a powerful capacity for mobilisation.

Dalenda Largueche is Full Professor of History and Gender Studies at the University of Manouba in Tunis, where she founded the Master on Gender studies in 2015. She has been a member of the Scientific Council of the Universities of Tunis and Manouba, and has led the “Women, Gender, History and Memory” research group at the Heritage Laboratory. From October 2011 to October 2018, she has been General Director of the Tunisian Center for Research, Studies, Documentation and Information on Women (CREDIF).

Interested in questions of women and gender in Islamic societies, Prof. Dalenda Largueche published numerous books and scholarly articles on women and gender issues, among which: Marginales en terre d’Islam ([Marginalized Women in Islamic Lands], Tunis 1992), Histoire des femmes du Maghreb: Culture matérielle et Vie quotidienne, ([Women’s History in North Africa: Material Culture and Everyday Life], Tunis 2000), Femmes en Ville dans le monde méditerranéen: Passé et Présent, (Tunis 2005), Monogamie en Islam: le contrat de marriage kairouanais, (Tunis 2011).

She has been a visiting professor at various international universities.  

Militant of women rights, she has actively participated in the structuration of the Tunisian democratic women movement.  Activist in the civil society, she is working tirelessly to ensure democracy, human rights and women’s capacities and voices in post-revolution Tunisia.

An International and Collaborative Research Programme

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