Reminder: WSG seminar March 2019

The final WSG seminar of the year takes place on Saturday 30th March, with three papers on women’s poetry, familial negotiation, and sports in the eighteenth century.

Seminars take place at the Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, WC1N 1AZ, starting promptly at 1pm and finishing at 4pm.  Doors open at 12.30.  The Foundling is a wheelchair accessible venue, and directions for getting to the Museum can be found here, including those for the visually impaired.  All seminars are free and open to the public, though refreshments will cost £2 to those who aren’t WSG members.  Those attending the seminars are welcome to look round the museum before or after.

Saturday 30 March, 2019. Chair: Angela Escott and Miriam al Jamil
Mary Chadwick: ‘Thy work appears unnotic’d or unknown’: Elizabeth Harcourt (1746-1826)
Caitlin Kitchener: ‘The Mania of Amending the Constitution’: Female Reformers in 1819
Valeria Viola: ‘…They would surpass men by far’: Maria Anna Alliata and her Agonal Spaces in Eighteenth-century Palermo
Peter Radford: Women as Team Players in the Long Eighteenth Century

Reminder: WSG seminar September 2018

We’re back! The first of WSG’s 2018-19 seminars takes place on Saturday 29th September, with four papers on women’s networks, fashion, animal poetry and sculpture in the eighteenth century.

Seminars take place at the Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, WC1N 1AZ, starting promptly at 1pm and finishing at 4pm.  Doors open at 12.30.  The Foundling is a wheelchair accessible venue, and directions for getting to the Museum can be found here, including those for the visually impaired.  All seminars are free and open to the public, though refreshments will cost £2 to those who aren’t WSG members.  Those attending the seminars are welcome to look round the museum before or after.

Saturday 29 September, 2018. Chair: Yvonne Noble & Louise Duckling
Madeleine Pelling: Negotiating the Portland Vase: Mary Hamilton, Sir William Hamilton and the Duchess of Portland (WSG Bursary 2017 paper)
Laura Pérez Hernández: Analyzing Female Identity through the Fashion Press: Differences and Similarities between Spain and England (1750-1800)
Taylin Nelson: ‘A Meager Cow’: The Duchess of Devonshire and Animality in Eighteenth-century Poetry
Miriam al Jamil: Eleanor Coade and the Back-room Venus

Pssst… the next seminar will be on Saturday 8 December, when WSG celebrates its 30th birthday with a book launch.

Elaine Hobby in conversation with Sara Read

Elaine Hobby, Virtue of Necessity (Virago, 1988)

One of the aims of the WSG’s Commonplace Book, was to conduct interviews with some prominent academics who have been closely involved with WSG over the years. Late last year WSG member Sara Read sat down with Elaine Hobby, Professor of Seventeenth-Century Studies at Loughborough University, and this half hour audio is the result.

 

As some readers might know Elaine is a long-time associate of WSG who has encouraged her PhD students to join the group and give research papers at their seminars, and who recently gave a keynote on Aphra Behn at WSG’s 2015 workshop.  She is a renowned scholar of seventeenth-century women’s writing, especially autobiographical and lesbian writing, as well as midwifery manuals, whose books include Virtue of Necessity: English Women’s Writing 1649-88 (1988) and an edition of Jane Sharp’s 1671 Midwives Book or the Whole Art of Midwifry Discovered (1999).

She is currently leading a major project to produce an edition of Aphra Behn’s works. Sara spoke with Elaine about her research interests, her experiences of an “embryonic” WSG, her early influences and her latest project.  The conversation helps illustrate just how small a circle of people the feminist study of early modern women involved in the UK in 1987, and the changes that have transformed the field since.

Reminder: WSG March seminar 2017

WSG’s next, “works in progress” seminar takes place in a fortnight, with papers on collecting, dance and epic poetry.

Seminars take place at the Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, WC1N 1AZ, starting promptly at 1pm and finishing at 4pm.  Doors open at 12.30. Directions for getting to the Museum can be found here.  All seminars are free and open to the public, though refreshments will cost £2 to those who aren’t WSG members.  Those attending the seminars are welcome to look round the museum for free before or after.

Saturday 18th March, 2017 (works in progress). Chair: Gillian Williamson
Madeleine Pelling: “That Noble Possessor”: The Pursuit of Virtuous Knowledge and its Materials in the Collection of Margaret Cavendish Bentinck, Duchess of Portland (1715-1785).
Erica Buurman: Almack’s ballroom and the introduction of European dances.
Angela Escott: Hannah Cowley’s “dramatic talents” employed in her epic poem of the Napoleonic Wars, The Siege of Acre (1801)

Off topic: teaching Paradise Lost

Women’s Studies Group 1558-1837 members aren’t just scholars of women’s and gender history during the early modern period and long eighteenth century, they’re also museum curators, music librarians, software managers… and teachers, especially at university level. As academics, research is only a portion of what they do, and like all other academics, almost all will spend time teaching texts, images, and materials that do not have much connection to their research specialism, which could be one singer, one artist, or a particular genre of plays, or a theme such as history of medicine.  But this is compounded when it comes to teaching gender. “Where are the women?” (as with, “where are any black and ethnic minority figures?”) is a perennial problem with university curricula, and that is one reason why women’s and gender history continues to thrive in the margins, in more flexible structures like the WSG.

But a knowledge of this history-from-below or from-the-margins, can inform some of the most canonical texts.  Take English for example, where no student will graduate without having read at least a part of John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667). Milton’s attitudes to divorce and freedom of the press are important contexts for his composition of the poem.  As part of her regular teaching load recently WSG member Sara Read, based at Loughborough University, was asked to make a video on Book IX of the poem where Eve infamously speaks with Satan in the form of a serpent, and is persuaded (… but she’s also exercising her own free will…) to taste the forbidden fruit.  Here’s the video, I hope you enjoy it.

Have any other readers based in universities made similar videos for use online and in social media? Meanwhile, which poets would you have in your seventeenth-century curriculum?  I’d at least have Margaret Cavendish and Lucy Hutchinson, no question.