Researchers Petra Testen Koren and Ana Cergol Paradiž will participate at ESSHC European Social  Science History Conference 2021 with their own presentation, titled  “The Question of Nationality and Citizenship after WWI: the Case of Single Female Servants in Trieste”.

The European Social Science History Conference is organized by the International Institute of Social History (IISH), an institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts & Sciences.

The aim of the ESSHC is to bring together scholars who explain historical phenomena using the methods of the social sciences.

The conference is characterized by a lively, small group exchange, rather than in formal plenary sessions. The conference is organized in many networks covering specific topics. It welcomes papers and sessions on any historical topic and any historical period.


Link to program: here

Link to web page: here



Women’s citizenship was an extremely delicate legal question after WWI. Legal codes mostly stipulated that a married woman obtained her husband’s citizenship, whereas no specific course of action was often required for an unmarried woman. As is possible to assume, this put many women, especially those of foreign nationality, in a highly dependent and vulnerable position in areas whose state borders were subject to change after WWI. The paper will address some of these complexities by analyzing the legal position of the numerous single women who migrated to Trieste from other parts of the Habsburg monarchy in search of work (as servants) before the war and then remained in Trieste after the war, when the town became part of Italy. Did they opt for the Italian citizenship or did they decide to remain foreign citizens? If they opted for citizenship, how did the new authorities react to their pleas considering that many of them were from Slovenian or German speaking parts of the former Habsburg monarchy? Was Italian citizenship important to obtain and keep their jobs? Was an advantage to have Italian citizenship – and why? We will try to answer these questions by taking into account various sources especially census data and archival sources (legal documents, official correspondence between the new state and local authorities).