Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Virtues and the Formation of the Feminine Moral Subject: 1250-1550

As part of the 7th ANZAMEMS Conference to be held 2-6 December 2008 at the University of Tasmania, Hobart, we propose to hold a symposium, with several sessions, devoted to the construction of women as virtuous agents in texts written by and for them during the period 1250-1550 This symposium will explore the construction of women as virtuous agents in texts written by and for them during this period. This was time during which there were great political upheavals and setbacks for women, such as their exclusion from the succession in France but which also spawned the Reformation and /querelle des femmes/, and produced a number of significant texts which demonstrate women’s effective moral didacticism.

Our focus will be on works dedicated to women or written for their edification, such as devotional texts and manuals for princesses, as well as ethical and didactic works written by women such as Marguerite Porete, Christine de Pizan, Laura Cereta, Vitoria Colonna, Gabrielle Bourbon, Marguerite of Navarre, etc. Writing during a period when contemplative spirituality vied with more classical representations of active virtue, and against the background of Aristotelian and biblical representations of women as defective males and as particularly susceptible to vice, the above women adopted various strategies of self-authorization. We are particularly interested in exploring the continuities and discontinuities between women’s texts, and in women’s understanding of the good life for women and men, as well as the differences, if any, between female and male authored texts. We also invite the discussion of Platonic, Stoic, Epicurean, Aristotelian and monastic conceptions of virtue in women’s self-representation as
virtuous subjects.

Could those interested in contributing to this stream indicate their interest as soon as possible and no later than 1st July 2008 to A 500 word abstract will be required by 20th August 2008.

A published volume on the topic is proposed. Contributors who are unable to attend the Hobart Conference, but would like to contribute a paper to the volume are invited to submit papers for consideration by December 15th 2008.

Convenors: Janice Pinder, Constant Mews and Karen Green.

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