The Women’s Studies Group 1558-1837 is pleased to announce the speakers for their seminar series 2016-17. Please note the change of dates this year to the third Saturday of each month, and we have also added a fourth date in March for the presentation of “works in progress”. All seminars will take place at the Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, WC1N 1AZ, starting promptly at 1pm and finishing at 4pm. Doors open at 12.30. 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 afterwards.
Saturday 17th September, 2016. Chair: TBC Brianna Elyse Robertson-Kirkland: Venanzio Rauzzini (1746 – 1810) and his female operatic students. Judith Page: Austen and Shakespeare: Mansfield Park, Shylock, and the ‘exquisite acting’ of Edmund Kean. Lucy Gent: What is becoming in Mansfield Park? Jane Austen and Cicero’s De Officiis.
Saturday 19th November, 2016. Chair: TBC Valerie Schutte: Celebrating the 500th Birthday of Queen Mary I in Manuscript Images. Emma Newport: Interplay and Interpretation: Lady Banks’s “Dairy Book” and the collection and collation of Chinese Porcelain. Chrisy Dennis: “We were born to grace society: but not to be its slaves”: Chivalry and Revolution in Mary Robinson’s Hubert de Sevrac, A Romance of the Eighteenth Century (1796).
Saturday 21st January, 2017. Chair: Lois Chaber Charlotte Young: “Our Wives you find at Goldsmiths Hall”: Women and sequestration during the English Civil War. Helen Draper: Mary Beale and the Performance of Friendship. Mascha Hansen: Beyond Marriage: Envisioning the Future in Women’s Writings, 1660-1830.
Saturday 18th March, 2017 (works in progress). Chair: TBC 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).
For further information, see our seminars page, or contact the organiser Carolyn D. Williams. To join the WSG, see our membership page.
This year the WSG’s annual outing was to the Geffrye Museum. WSG member Miriam Al Jamil writes about the day:
“This year our group visit was to the Geffrye Museum, coming close on the heels of our workshop. So from discussions centring on the public voice increasingly claimed by women we turned to the traditional private sphere of domestic spaces. The museum occupies a modest almshouse building which opened for pensioners of the Ironmongers Company in 1714. It was built by the wealthy merchant Sir Robert Geffrye, and rooms in a side wing of the museum have been restored to display the accommodation offered to pensioners until the early twentieth-century. The emphasis was on cleanliness, godliness (regular attendance at the small chapel was compulsory), but also on a degree of comfort and stability. As a ‘Museum of the Home’ there is an emphasis on the variety and development of material culture from the seventeenth century onwards. The personal items included in the reconstructed pensioners’ rooms are the first examples we saw of the carefully displayed objects that characterise the Geffrye’s approach to historical engagement.
The main gallery conducts us through an enfilade series of period room settings beginning with 1630 and concluding in 1998. Although our visit mirrors the experience of progressing through the rooms in stately homes the emphasis is specifically on middle class life and culture. Informative displays of materials and construction, the trades and markets supplying necessities and luxuries are well presented introductions to each room. We are encouraged to imagine that the residents have just slipped out and we are thus voyeurs encountering the possessions that defined a family’s status and interests at particular points in time.
Arrangements and contacts made by WSG members Angela Escott and Marion Durnin meant that archivists had prepared a selection of books, documents and objects from the archive as part of our visit. This was certainly a highlight and I am sure will encourage further exploration by WSG researchers. The archive focuses on domestic material, mainly from London, and with an inevitable accent on women’s history. There is a fine collection of cookery and medical recipe books, household accounts and diaries, prints and manuals. A small chest of drawers with a pencilled note indicating that it was made for a woman in 1728 has rare provenance, as does a japanned corner cupboard of around 1750 with the japanner’s stamp inscribed. The museum keeps a selection of shipwreck porcelain tea ware, complete with barnacles, to demonstrate what might have been kept in the cupboard. These pieces could be handled, and are among resources available for a variety of educational programmes.
Our trip concluded with WSG member Helen Draper’s fascinating insight into the life and work of her research subject, the artist Mary Beale. Beale’s self-portrait with her husband and son of about 1660 is her first known painting and it was a treat to have the opportunity to examine and discuss it. The possibility that the artist had depicted herself in late pregnancy was of particular interest. Helen showed us sketches related to the work, and placed it within the context of Beale’s career. Our trip provided much food for thought as I am sure everyone who attended would agree. Many thanks are due to the organisers for such a pleasant and stimulating day!”
WSG member Helen Draper will be writing more about the artist Mary Beale in a forthcoming blog post.
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:
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
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 thechange 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.
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. Please reply to WSG Seminars Organiser Carolyn D. Williams on email@example.com.