Literatures, Languages & Cultures

Recovering Women's Past

As the growing interest in early modern women’s cultural, literary and political agency has shown over the last decade, (re)writing history in the hands of feminist scholars is designed not merely to (re-)shape our collective memory and collective imaginary, but also to challenge deeply ingrained paradigms about knowledge production.  Among the questions that will be addressed through this journey of ‘cultural encounters’ between past and present, are: How do early modern women write women’s history; how do female authored texts compare with men’s? How do the unearthing, (re)-reading, re-interpretation, and even adaptation(s) of ‘female genealogies’ in turn inform new, post(post) modern narratives (whether academic, artistic, fictional, or biopic)? What impact has new feminist research had on the afterlives of earlier women in (virtual) museum exhibitions, in the classroom / on university/school curricula, and on general public awareness that women have always played an important part in the making of history? Who and how are the women compiled, remembered, and represented? In addition to queens, salonnières and female novelists, what of female scientists, artists and actresses, and their presence/absence in early modern anthologies, history and literature manuals? How have their lives been rescued, told and re-told? Do gender politics inflect the choices of film-makers, museum curators, biographers, or artists when they set out to make these women’s voices heard? If so, how?

This symposium thus aspires to unlock disciplinary differences and open a new field of cross-cultural and transmedial investigation that will bring together experts from

  • literary history
  • literary studies
  • art historians (including museum curators)
  • philosophy
  • history (queenship, historiography)
  • film studies (biopics)
  • theatre studies (contemporary productions of early modern women’s lives)

and beyond...

For more information please visit the conference mini-site:

Recovering Women's Past

Drawing of a woman reading a book

Recovering Women's Past

Learning to see the power of women in Europe and America from the Renaissance to the present.

The University of Edinburgh