Symposium: Women and Revolution in the 18th Century

This symposium in Lund started this morning, and carries on till tomorrow afternoon. So if you’re nearby you should go!


The conference aims to investigate the political, philosophical, historical and linguistic meaning and importance of the French revolution, with particular emphasis on the role and representation of women in revolutionary discourses in Europe in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Venue: Pufendorf Institute, Biskopsgatan 3, Lund

Contacts: Lena Halldenius, Anna Cabak Rédei, Ulrika Björk

All are welcome! Pre-registration is not necessary, but if you plan to attend we appreciate if you notify one of the contact persons. There is no fee.

Organized by: Human Rights Studies, Lund; Semiotics, Lund; Philosophy, Uppsala


The full program is here.

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Talk on the Du Chatelet archives.

I have just received the following notice from Andrew Brown, the president of the Fonds de dotation Voltaire:

Le catalogage des documents aux Archives départementales de la Haute-Marne est pratiquement terminé et les premières recherches ont pu commencer. Bernard Ducouret, conservateur du patrimoine, Service régional de l’Inventaire (Champagne-Ardenne), prépare une publication sur le château de Cirey et donnera une conférence issue de ses recherches le 15 avril :
Les travaux réalisés au château de Cirey-sur-Blaise par Voltaire et Mme Du Châtelet (1734-1749)
« En juin 1734, à la suite de la condamnation de ses « Lettres philosophiques », Voltaire doit quitter Paris. Il accepte l’hospitalité que lui propose son amie Émilie Du Châtelet au château de Cirey. Tous deux y demeurent jusqu’en 1739 puis n’y font plus que de courts séjours jusqu’à la mort de la marquise en 1749. Dès leur arrivée, ils entreprennent des travaux pour rendre habitable cette demeure quelque peu à l’abandon et font aménager les jardins. Mme Du Châtelet s’occupe ensuite de réaliser de luxueux appartements tandis que Voltaire construit une aile en rez-de-chaussée, « la galerie », principalement dédiée à l’étude des sciences. Ces travaux sont connus depuis longtemps, grâce, entre autres, à la correspondance de Voltaire. Le fonds Du Châtelet, entré récemment aux Archives départementales de la Haute-Marne, les confirme tout en ajoutant une foule de précisions sur leur nature, leur date exacte, livrant le nom des artisans et des artistes qui y ont œuvré. »
20h30 mardi 15 avril 2014, salle Niederberger, Conseil général de la Haute-Marne, entrée par la rue du Capitaine Tassard, 52000 Chaumont.
Nous vous rappelons que des informations sur la disponibilité des archives à Chaumont, sur l’avancement des numérisations et sur les publications basées sur les documents retrouvés en 2010 seront diffusées régulièrement par le Bulletin de la Société Voltaire auquel vous pouvez vous abonner via
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Happy International Women’s Day!

I’m celebrating Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day by blogging for the #WomenInspire Campaign sponsored by USC’s masters degree in social work program. Join the blog carnival to honour a woman who has inspired you!

To celebrate, here’s an old post of mine: Of beards and philosophy.

This week was supposed to be Ada Lovelace day, a day when bloggers all over the world blog about women scientists. And then, inexplicable, the day was moved to October. I hope to hell they don’t do that with Christmas. Or my birthday.

In the meantime, I’d written a heartfelt post about Madame du Chatelet, a woman who translated and commented on Newton in the Eighteenth century. In my research on the topic I came across this little ditty by Kant, a philosopher so well respected that you’ll find his name in at least three philosophy department courses in any university.

“A woman who has a head full of Greek, like Mme Dacier, or carries on fundamental controversies about mechanics, like the Marquise du Chatelet, might as well have a beard.”

Well, we know from the numerous texts written about him, that Kant wasn’t terribly experienced with women, so let’s try be gentle when we tell him.

She did have a beard. Just not on her face.

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Lascano’s Review of Clarke’s The Equality of the Sexes

Marcy Lascano’s review of Clarke’s book came out today on Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.

Read it here.

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CFP Teaching early modern philosophy: New Approaches.

This call for papers may be of interest to some you. The first and the last point, particularly (about focusing on a narrow canon and about integrating women) present an opportunity for writing about including women authors in history of philosophy courses.

Contact Alberto Vanzo ( for more information.

The cfp is here, and below.


CFP – Teaching Early Modern Philosophy: New Approaches
Continue reading

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Stoic feminists: all mouth, no toga?

Socrates had Diotima and Aspasia, The Academy had Axiothea and Lasthenia, the Cynics had Hipparchia, and the Hellenistic Pythagoreans had Perictione I and II, Miya, Theano, and a few more. But the Stoics are the ones who are known as proto-feminists, with hints  in Zeno’s Republic and in texts by Musonius Rufus on the equality of the sexes as far as virtue, and the need to study philosophy is concerned.

So where are the Stoic women?

This is a question we may ask during Stoic week, an online project culminating in a one day workshop in London.


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Desmond Clarke’s The Equality of the Sexes

Desmond Clarke, one of the two editors of the Cambridge Series in the History of Philosophy, has published an exciting new book: The Equality of the Sexes: Three feminist texts of the seventeenth century. The book contains new translations of the ubiquitous Poulain de la Barre, Marie le Jars de Gournay and Anna Maria van Schurman. Amazon has a ‘look inside’ option, and you can read an extract here.

It might strike some of us as slightly paradoxical that the editor of a series of texts in the history of philosophy had to go to another publisher when he needed to present new texts! Unfortunately, Cambridge texts isn’t great on women philosophers: out of 121 texts, only two are by women (Conway and Cavendish).

In any case it’s fantastic that Oxford is publishing these translations – I for one look forward to reading the book.

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