Bridging the gender gap through time: how women philosophers of the past have contributed to today's thought
This two-day international and multidisciplinary conference is dedicated to raising awareness of the long and rich history of women’s political and philosophical writing and showing how their work continues to be relevant to current debates and controversies. The workshop forms part of a wider long-term collaboration between scholars based at King’s and several other locations across Europe and North America dedicated to the recovery of women’s contribution to intellectual history and bringing it to a contemporary audience.
Women have had a far deeper and more extensive influence on the history than is commonly realised. Far from confining their interests to questions of gender and domestic matters, women have been writing on all aspects of philosophy for as long as such a discipline can be identified. Indeed, it is often surprising just how much high quality philosophical and political thought women have produced throughout history given that so few of the writers are known outside of a few specialist departments.
Across history, women’s writing is now being recovered not as marginal but as theoretically important in its own right. Amongst the many names one could list, we might think of Hildegard von Bingen and Christine de Pizan from the Middle Ages; Margaret Cavendish, Anne Conway, and Mary Astell in the Early Modern Period; Catharine Macaulay, Mary Wollstonecraft, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, as well as Olympe de Gouges and Sophie de Grouchy, in the revolutionary period of the Enlightenment; to say nothing of Mary Prince, Harriet Jacobs, and Sojourner Truth amongst the numerous slave and abolitionist writings of the nineteenth century.
In spite of the many difficulties women have had in making their voices heard philosophically – women did not have access to the highest levels of education, they often had to confine themselves to safe subjects to avoid social censure, they frequently found it necessary to write anonymously or to destroy one’s work, and they were in any case not normally taken seriously – their work far was more influential in their own time than we often realise today, and it still has the potential to speak to us in our own time through its influence on contemporary debates and issues.
Conference Programme - please note this is provisional and subject to change
Thursday 22 February
9:45 Alan Coffee (KCL) and Sandrine Bergès (Bilkent): "18th Century Republican Women in England and France"
Respondent: Bensu Arican
11:30 Panel 1 - Non Western and Minority Philosophers
11:15: Valeria Stabile (Bologna) - " This is not a love poem. The contribution of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz to the philosophical debate about love"
11:45: Arezoo Dervish (Teheran) - "Forough: Rebellion of the Eastern Woman"
12:15: Tess Payongayong (U of the Philippines) " Filipino Women’s Philosophy throughout History"
13:00 Lunch for speakers
14:15 Panel 2 - Wollstonecraft and Friends
14:00 Lena Haldenius (Lund) "Mary Wollstonecraft’s Political Philosophy: on Revolution and Change"
14:30 Martina Reuter (Jyvaskyla) "Did Women Contribute to the Invention of Autonomy?"
15:00 Spyridon Tegos (Crete) "Petrifying Sympathy; Wollstonecraft and Adam Smith"
15:30 Serena Vantin (Modena) "Education, Empowerment and Relational Autonomy. Mary Wollstonecraft’s thesis and Black women in today America".
16:15 Panel 3
16:15 Helen McCabe (Nottingham) "Harriet Taylor Mill and On Liberty"
16:45 Ross Caroll (Exeter) " “I’m More Political Than Alexis Himself”: Mary Mottley, Madame de Tocquevil"
17:15 Serena Mocci (Bologna)"Education as a social reform in Margaret Fuller’s thought"
18:00 Penny Weiss (St Louis): " Toward a History of Feminist Epistemology"
Respondent: İkrime Yıldırım (Canakkale 18 Mart)
19.00 Drinks reception
Friday 23 February
9:45 Eileen Hunt Botting (Notre Dame) "Portraits of Wollstonecraft, 1787-2017"
11:40 Parallel sessions
Panel 1: Premoderns
11:45 Julia Lerius (Paderborn)“The soul in the body is like sap in a tree” – reconsidering Hildegard of Bingen’s philosophical perspective on the body and soul relation. Some impulses for future discussions”
12:15 Mary Anne Case (Chicago Law) " Medieval Women’s Contributions to Ongoing Debates in Theological Anthropology"
12: 45 Hadley Cooney (Wisconsin-Madison) "Christine de Pizan and the Possibility of Virtue".
Panel 3: Logic, Science and Metaphysics
11:45 Olivia Brown (Husserl Archives) "Sense and Sensibility: Mary Shepherd on Sensible Objects"
12:15 Tricia Van Dyk (Lithuania) " Inside/Outside the (Philosophy of) Sciences"
12:45 John Hanson (Notre Dame) "Du Châtelet on Divisibility"
14:10 Parallel sessions
Panel 2: Early modern
14:15 Allauren Forbes (Penn) " Astell on Bad Custom and Epistemic Injustice"
14:45 Simone Webb (UCL) " Philosophy as a Way of Life : Damaris Masham, Mary Astell and the Art of Living for Women across Time"
15:15 Manjeet Ramgotra (SOAS) " The critical voice of women in eighteenth-century western political thought"
Panel 4: Early Analytic
14:15 Frederique Janssen-Lauret (Manchester) "Founding Mothers of Analytic Philosophy: The Early Influence of Female Logicians and Metaphysicians"
14:45 Sophia Connell (Birkbeck) " Alice Ambrose and early analytic Philosophy"
15:15 Rafal Kur (Jagiellonian University, Krakow)" Women’s contributions to the achievements of the Lviv-Warsaw School."
16:15 Marguerite Deslauriers (McGill) "The Conceptualization of Masculine Power as Unjust: Tyranny in 17th C Venice"