CFP Female Networks: Gendered Ways of Producing Knowledge (1750-1830)

September 13, 2018, Department of History, King’s College London

Call for papers

It has been evident for some time that women were active participants in scientific culture across Europe in the eighteenth century, and a number of individuals such as the Duchess of Portland, Caroline Herschel, or Madame Lavoisier are well known. Women typically operated outside scientific institutions, although some women associated together to read, learn, consume and produce scientific knowledge, such as the Dutch merchants’ wives of the Natuurkundig Genootschap der Dames (Women’s Society for Natural Knowledge), or the botanizing women of late eighteenth-century England (Jakob and Sturkenboom, 2003; Shteir, 1996).

This workshop will address women’s activities at the scale of the circle, network, or community. It will explore how communities and networks of women were created and maintained and seek to understand the contexts in which they operated, how they related to existing scientific communities or how they generated new ones. It will ask what were the acceptable topics, the ways of doing, and the preconditions for these communities to be able to engage in science. In the case of women philosophers for instance, these included writing on certain topics that concerned women directly (marriage, equality among sexes) and giving a strong emphasis to moral and religious issues (Hutton, 2015).   How did these communities foster new femininities, and new roles for women in society? How did these practices mirror, reinforce, and sometimes challenge contemporary ideas of gender, and how did they demarcate masculine domains in science? What forces were at work to enable such network-building and scientific activity? What forces acted to disaggregate these communities, preventing their formation or disrupting their continuity?

We invite abstracts of no more than 250 words addressing any of these issues for a one-day workshop to be held at KCL just ahead of the European Society for the History of Science conference taking place on September 14-17 in London. Abstracts should be sent to Simon Werrett at; Elena Serrano at ;or Anna Maerker at no later than May 31, 2018. There is no registration fee for this meeting, but we regret that we are unable to offer funding towards accommodation or travel. Abstracts should please include name, affiliation, current academic status (PhD student, postdoc, lecturer, etc) and contact details.

  • Elena Serrano (Max Planck institute for the History of Science, Berlin)
  • Anna Maerker (Department of History, King’s College London)
  • Simon Werrett (Department of Science and Technology Studies, UCL)

*note the venue for this event has changed from UCL to Kings College London

Contact Info:


Deadline: May 31, 2018

Posted: March 28, 2018