Reminder: WSG workshop, Women & the Bible

Just a reminder that on 11 June at Senate House, University of London, the Women’s Studies Group annual workshop takes place and the theme this year is “Women and the Bible”.

Emma Major of the University of York is giving the keynote on Anna Letitia Barbauld, dissent and democracy during the age of revolution. To get an idea of Emma’s work, which is funded by the British Academy, you can watch this video:

WSG workshops always include a morning keynote followed by an afternoon of discussion in which all the attendees give 5-minute presentations on any research within the WSG time period relevant to the workshop theme.  There is still time to register, and attendees are encouraged to bring material on any of the following topics:

  • Women, violence, & religion
  • Gender & genre
  • Women & the nation
  • Gender, the public, & the private
  • Preaching women
  • Women, anonymity, & publication
  • Women & the Bible
  • Dissent
  • Women & religion

…What will you be presenting?

Posted in WSG Workshops | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Felicity Roberts: Mary Delany and her collages

Front cover of Materializing Gender (Routledge, 2016)A new book edited by Jennifer Germann and Heidi Strobel, Materializing Gender in Eighteenth-Century Europe, has recently been published by Routledge.  The collection was actually seen through the press by Ashgate USA’s Margaret Michniewicz, until Ashgate’s acquisition by Routledge.  Margaret is now pursuing new projects as Bloomsbury’s Visual Arts/Art History Acquisitions Editor, and she tweets as @BburyViaAshg8.  Expect some exciting announcements from her account soon.

Materializing Gender includes essays on the needle artist Mary Linwood (see her fantastic portrait of Napoleon at the V&A here), and almanacs, mantillas, guns and silver, amongst objects, as well as WSG member Felicity Roberts’ chapter on the eighteenth-century gentlewoman Mary Delany whose hybrid scientific and art practices included diary- and letter-writing, botanising, shellwork, collaging, needlework, and the writing of a novella.  Felicity explores how Delany’s class and gender shaped her serious botanical interests, and how she expressed and shaped this complex subject position through her famous flower collages and novella.  Felicity hopes to follow up her interest in Mary Delany with a wider study of women, natural history and material culture in the long eighteenth century soon.  Beginning with Charlotte Smith’s ‘Beachy Head‘… what do readers think? What other ‘hybrid’ literary, art and scientific works are there in this period?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

WSG Workshop 2016: Emma Major, Women and the Bible

The WSG is very pleased to announce that its 2016 workshop will be:

“Women and the Bible: Barbauld and Others”

Keynote Speaker: Emma Major, University of York

Anonymous, The Unitarian Arms, detail, 1792. Satirical print. BM PD 1868,0808.6222. © The Trustees of the British Museum

Anonymous, The Unitarian Arms, detail, 1792. Satirical etching. BM PD 1868,0808.6222. © The Trustees of the British Museum

Date: 11th June 2016

Time: 11am-4.30pm (registration from 10.30)

Venue: Room 264, Senate House, University of London

Cost for attendance (inc lunch & refreshments): £23 (WSG members), £28 (non-WSG members)

To register, Women’s Studies Group 1558–1837 Workshop Registration 2016

All attendees are invited to bring a 5-minute presentation, from any discipline and period covered by the group, exploring any of the following themes:

Gender, the public and the private * Women, publication and anonymity * Women and religion * Women, violence and revolution * Gender and genre * Women and the nation * Preaching women * Women and the Bible * Dissent

For readers who would like to publicise the event, please download the WSG Workshop 2016 poster and the Women’s Studies Group 1558–1837 Workshop Registration 2016 form.

For further information, see the annual workshop.

Posted in WSG News, WSG Workshops | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Cfp: WSG Seminars 2016-2017

UPDATE: 13 April 2016.  We are delighted to announce that a fourth date has been added to our seminar series: we will now also be meeting on 18 March 2017, with a focus on work in progress.

WSG is issuing its annual cfp.  Please note potential topics and the change of seminar dates to the 3rd Saturday in each month.

The Women’s Studies Group: 1558-1837 is a small, informal multi-disciplinary group formed to promote women’s studies in the early modern period and the long eighteenth century. The group organises regular meetings and an annual workshop.

WSG membership is open to men and women, graduate students, faculty, and independent scholars.  Papers can be any length up to 25 minutes, and can be formal or informal, or even work in progress. The papers are followed by very supportive and informal discussion.  Speakers are strongly encouraged to become members of WSG.

Topics can be related to any aspect of women’s studies:

  • Not only women writers, but any activity of a woman or women in the period of our concern, anything that affects or is affected by women in this period, such as the law, religion, etc
  • Male writers writing about women or male historical figures relevant the condition of women in this period
  • Papers tackling aspects of women’s studies within or alongside the wider histories of gender and sexuality are particularly welcome
  • Topics from the early part of our period are also especially welcome
  • Work in progress is invited for the March session.

Venue: Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, WC1N 1AZ
Dates: Saturday 17th September, 2016, Saturday 19th November, 2016, Saturday 21st January, 2017, Saturday 18th March, 2017.

We will be allowed into the room at 12.30 pm, to give us time sort out paperwork and technology, but sessions will run from 1.00 – 4.00pm. So please arrive a little early if you can.  Find out more about us on http://www.womensstudiesgroup.org.uk/.  Please reply to WSG Seminars Organiser Carolyn D. Williams on cdwilliamslyle@aol.com.

Posted in WSG Seminars | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Carolyn Williams: thoughts from BSECS 2016

In January the Women’s Studies Group 1558-1837 presented a panel at the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies annual conference at St Hugh’s College, Oxford.  Here one of the panel speakers, WSG committee member Carolyn Williams, reflects:

Anonymous, The wonderful and surprising English dwarf, etching, c1725, BM PD 1872,1012.4329 By permission of the Trustees of the British Museum

Anonymous, The wonderful and surprising English dwarf, etching, c1725, BM PD 1872,1012.4329
By permission of the Trustees of the British Museum

“The BSECS annual conference has been the site of encounters that have played a significant role in the formation of the WSG itself, so we feel we have a special relationship with it. We have always fielded speakers there, and since the organisers declared they welcome panels, these are what we have offered. Now there is an annual theme we also like to adhere to that, but we don’t let it cramp our creativity: the enlightened mood of the conference encourages broad interpretations.

The 2016 theme was ‘Growth, Expansion and Contraction’, and we called our panel ‘Minds, Bodies, and China as Sites of Female Growth, Expansion and Contraction in the Long Eighteenth Century’. This year BSECS kindly provided a chair, Dr Penny Pritchard, to look after us. We tried to be good, to stick to time limits, and to sort out our technology before the panel was due to start: particularly heroic because we were on at 9 am!

Dr Tabitha Kenlon flew in from the American University in Dubai to read a paper on ‘The Virtues of the Gothic: Lessons in Female Comportment from the Gothic Novel’. She examined the relationship between Gothic novels and conduct manuals, showing they both extended and restricted boundaries by presenting heroines who defied and embodied social conventions. Her argument took its rise from Eliza Parsons’ novel The Castle of Wolfenbach, where the heroine, on encountering a mysterious woman dwelling in secret at the castle, asks her for guidance, saying, “I shall think myself particularly fortunate if you will condescend to instruct me, for… more attention has been paid to external accomplishments than to the cultivation of my mind, or any information respecting those principles of virtue a young woman ought early to be acquainted with”.

As panel organiser, I put myself in the middle, the position which usually attracts fewest questions, and I used no technology: everybody has different skills and my speciality is distracting the audience’s attention while people behind me do clever things with computers. I took the theme literally and applied it to the human body, in a paper entitled ‘“Marry a Monster? Who would have them?”: Size and Female Sexuality’. My inspiration was the 2015 workshop, headed by Elaine Hobby, who had discussed her forthcoming edition of Aphra Behn, and particularly some episodes in The Rover Part II (1681) where men of average size pay court to a giant and a dwarf. Examining the language applied to them in this play, and also its sources, Parts I and II of Thomas Killigrew’s Thomaso, or, The Wanderer (1663), I found that the ladies’ difference from the average was often seen as a matter of quality rather than simple quantity, and that, though size did not mean everything, it could, in certain circumstances, mean anything.

Dr Emma Newport, from King’s College London, concluded the panel with ‘Interplay and Interpretation: Lady Banks’s “Dairy Book” and the collection and collation of Chinese Porcelain.’ Her paper brought to light an unpublished, hand-written account of Lady Sarah Sophia Banks’s Chinese porcelain collection, the ‘Dairy Book‘, as an example of how networks of exchange were created and complicated by the influx of Chinese goods, materials and ideas. She argued that the porcelain collection and the ‘Dairy Book’ engendered both expansion and contraction: as gateway to wider narratives, technologies and aesthetics, but also contracting as the porcelain metonymized these wider representations.

Question time was enthusiastic. As well as casting new light on Gothic fiction in general, Tabitha Kenlon attracted new readers to Eliza Parsons. Jane Austen, who included this book among the ‘horrid’ novels in Northanger Abbey, and who became notoriously ‘sick and wicked’ at the prospect of perfection in fictitious characters, must have really enjoyed it. A great deal of interest was expressed in Sarah Sophia Banks: her porcelain dairy opened up a new world for the audience. Dr Matthew McCormack, whose own paper, earlier in the conference, had expressed an interest in the relationship between humoral theory and masculine size, took my own subject in a new direction by asking whether there was any evidence of an interest in humours in depictions of giants and dwarves that I had come across. I could not provide any, but Emma Newport could: she has been conducting research into dwarves on the eighteenth-century stage, which she has generously offered for my perusal. I can’t wait!”

Do you have any further information about depictions of size on the early modern stage?  Get in touch with Carolyn here.

Posted in Uncategorized, WSG Members | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment