Call for Papers Women and Religion: Dissenters, Workers, Writers in the Early Modern European

Context (ca. 1500-1700)

June 12-13, 2023, University College Dublin

This two-day seminar aims at developing approaches to the history of the early Enlightenment,

focusing on the engagement of women in both the practice of religion and discussion of

theology in the post-Reformation period. Our seminar will explore how social practices such

as participation in religious organisations and discussion, were mutually entwined with the

development of foundational Enlightenment concepts such democracy, egalitarianism,

freedom of conscience, free speech, and tolerant co-existence. For example, social practices

where we can see evidence of women’s participation include philanthropy, court hearings,

education and caring work, letter writing, pamphleteering, as well as authoring more formal


We invite contributions on early modern women within religious contexts, focusing on how

their activities fostered new cross-cultural social relations specifically in the public sphere,

including transnational dimensions. Particular attention will be given to women who were

members of religious minorities and dissenting groups and those who changed their religious

positions or seemed to hold a plurality of views. Possible subjects include, but are not limited


− Women and their participation in religious communities;

− Women’s social relationships with men;

− Women as educators and charity workers in local and regional contexts;

− Women writers and religious, metaphysical, and political ideas;

− Women’s poetry and playwriting in private and urban contexts;

− Women’s development of new genres of writing such as speculative fiction;

− Women and controversy;

− Debates on the status and ‘problem’ of women and the meaning of ‘female’;

− Women and the emerging of the public sphere.

Participants will be given 30-40 minutes for their paper presentations, followed by comments

by a designated respondent and with time for a general Q&A with the seminar participants.

The seminar is scheduled for June 12-13, 2023, and it will be held at UCD School of

Philosophy, University College Dublin, as part of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral

Fellowship funded project EuWoRD (European Women and Religious Dissent: The Advent of

Modernity and the Democratic Public Sphere), in cooperation and with the support of UCD

Newman Centre for the Study of Religions. The deadline for submission of abstracts is

March 31. Please submit a paper proposal of no more than 300 words, prepared for blind

review. Please leave biographical details such as current institutional affiliation (if any) in the

body of the email. Send to

We especially welcome submissions from early career researchers. There will be no conference

registration fees and there are bursaries available to support participation by those who may

not have institutional funding or have caring responsibilities. We envisage this will be an inperson

event. The conference events will be fully accessible to wheelchair users. The

conference organisers also welcome inquiries about supporting other disability needs.

Refreshments, lunches and a conference dinner will be provided to speakers.

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