The corpus of Quaker women’s history and literature offers one of the most fascinating studies of gender across all centuries and continents. This small group of women pioneers, activists, prophets and writers has often been at the grassroots of revolutionary movements, fuelling and propelling the way for global, monumental change. Yet, there is very little in Quaker historiography that specifically highlights or features the gathered influence of these women. While only a few scholars have analysed early Quaker women’s contributions as spiritual foremothers and visionary leaders (Christine Trevett’s Women and Quakerism, 1991; Phyllis Mack’s Visionary Women, 1992; Rebecca Larson’s Daughters of Light, 1999; and Catie Gill’s Women in the Seventeenth-Century Quaker Community, 2005), there has not been a twenty-first-century compilation of new critical studies on Quaker women. With a central focus on gender, this project seeks to assemble an interdisciplinary body of writers with a shared interest in reassessing early Quaker women, highlighting new discoveries and interpretations about their literary creation, historical landmarks, and transatlantic movements.
Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
Women and the origins of Quakerism (the influence of the earliest women Friends)
Feminization of early Quaker religious practices
Women’s socio-political positions within Quaker theology and culture
Women’s Meetings (as a site of power, autonomy, change)
Women and Quaker print culture (vs. the censorship of Second Day Morning Meeting)
The limited placement of women in early Quaker historiography
Women on the margins of QuakerismWomen and the slave trade
Martyrology and gender
Women and Language
Women and Prophetic Performance
Religio-political writings by womenAutobiography and “convincement”
Dissent and identity studies
Women, leadership, and networking
Lesser known Quaker women (e.g. Elizabeth Hooten, Martha Simmonds, Mary Fisher, etc.)
Women Friends’ influence on other religious sects and communities
Please submit proposals of approximately 500 words, along with a curriculum vita, to: Michele Lise Tarter (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Catie Gill (C.J.Gill@lboro.ac.uk) by October 25, 2015. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
There are still a few places left for the first of our conferences at Dr Williams’s Library on Saturday 9 November 2013. You can download the complete programme here.
Speakers are: Michael Davies, Crawford Gribben, Ann Hughes, N. H. Keeble, Kathleen Lynch, Chad van Dixhoorn, and Elliot Vernon.
These three one-day conferences, a partnership between the Aix-Marseille Research Centre on the English-Speaking World and Dr Williams’s Centre for Dissenting Studies will take place in early November, in 2013, 2014, and 2015. They will explore the religious and social experiences of Independent and Baptist churches and their members during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Although the focus will remain primarily on what could be termed the ‘gathered churches’, the conferences will also offer opportunities to explore other aspects of the experience of dissent: from, for example, the perspective of Presbyterians and Quakers. This year is on “Ministers and their congregations”, while we’ll look at the “Variety of dissenting expression” next year with speakers on Church records, diaries, poetry, letters and entring books.
To register, send an e-mail to Anne Page with your title, affiliation, postal address and dietary requirements: email@example.com. Registration is free and a buffet lunch will be served at the Library.
As Michael, Joel and I are little by little filling up the pages of this blog, we realize how little suitable material there seems to be out there to use to illustrate it. Of course, portraits of ministers are not exactly lacking, nor are manuscript pages that institutions would allow us to use for academic purposes, or engravings of later chapels, but we’re not making huge progress with early material, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, with crowd scenes.
David Wykes has dug out the wonderful title-page of The Pathway to Eternal Life: Being the Last Sermon of that Eminent Divine Mr T. Williams, that he has kindly allowed us to reproduce here (see our ‘Events’ section, it’s been trimmed as we’re using it for publicity material for our forthcoming conference). Collage (London Metropolitan Archives) has a good engraving of the inside of Salters’ Hall (1720), which you might well want to check out if you don’t know it already; it’s n°6311 in their collection.
The French ‘Quaqueresse qui préche’ was apparently engraved by Bernard Picart around c.1723 and is in the public domain.
I know I should probably know more about this picture and yet I don’t! Can anybody out there help us with early-modern representations of dissent? We’d particularly like to change the default header that you can see above. Do you know anything that could be suitable and is there any work being conducted in the field, perhaps by art historians?
As talking about pictures makes me think of dissenting architecture, I’ve added a link in the relevant section to the Historic Chapel Trust. This is not a charity I know, but some of their restoration projects are gorgeous. I love browsing through the volumes of Christopher Stell’s Inventory and I’m just sorry such labours of love are hardly available outside major research libraries.
A research blog on the history, literature and culture of early-modern religious nonconformity in Britain (1500–1800)