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Trading Women, Traded Women

A Historical Scrutiny of Gendered Trading

Edited By Gönül Bakay and Mihaela Mudure

For the scholarly reader it is a truism that trade, in its widest sense (exchange, interchange, deal) is the basis of human society, it is part of the human interaction which is the very texture of society. The French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss demonstrated in his seminal essay «The Elementary Structures of Kinship» that human society relies on the exchange of women by men. But women are not only the passive object of this trade among men. They also try and often succeed in trading goods, ideas, and changing their subject position by getting the upper hand in this crucial exchange. Little attention has been given to genderizing the connection between trade and the British Enlightenment and to its subsequent influence on women’s history and/or literary or visual representations of women by women or men. The contributors in this collection focus on women as physical or symbolic traded objects, as subversive women trading in spite of cultural and social stereotypes, and as women empowered in the cultural, political, and social trade.

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For the scholarly reader it is a truism that trade, in its widest sense (exchange, interchange, deal) is the basis of human society, it is part of the human interaction which is the very texture of society. The French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss demonstrated in his seminal essay The Elementary Structures of Kinship that human society relies on the exchange of women by men. But women are not only the passive object of this trade among men. They also try and often succeed in trading goods, ideas, and changing their subject position by getting the upper hand in this crucial exchange. Little attention has been given to genderizing the connection between trade and the British Enlightenment and to its subsequent influence on women’s history and/or literary or visual representations of women by women or men. The contributors in this collection focus on women as physical or symbolic traded objects, as subversive women trading in spite of cultural and social stereotypes, and as women empowered in the cultural, political, and social trade.

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