Talk by Emily Thomas (Durham University): Travel Writing as Thought Experiments: Science, Francis Bacon, and Margaret Cavendish’s Blazing World @ University College Dublin
Feb 8 @ 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM


Travel has a long and intimate history with philosophy. Travel also has a long and intimate relationship with fiction. Sometimes travel fiction acts as ‘thought experiments’, experiments that we can run through in our heads.

This talk explores a 1666 fiction travelogue, Margaret Cavendish’s Blazing World. In the novel, a virtuous young lady is kidnapped and travels by boat through the North Pole into a new world. I argue this is no mere piece of science fiction. Instead, this travelogue acts as a distinctly philosophical thought experiment, exploring the philosophy of science, utopias, and what it means to be real.

Talk: Lara Dodds – Forms, Formlessness, and Literary Studies: The Case of Margaret Cavendish @ Harvard University
Feb 8 @ 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Conference: The Intermedia Restoration @ University of Maryland
Feb 16 all-day

Organized by Laura Rosenthal (Professor of English, University of Maryland)

& Scott Trudell (Assistant Professor of English, University of Maryland)

The Intermedia Restoration is a one-day conference that takes the interdisciplinary conversation in media history back to an especially vibrant intersection: the English Restoration, c. 1660-1700. This period of media novelty upon media novelty included newspapers, novels, still life, landscape painting, opera, and a newly cosmopolitan stage featuring female actors. The dynamic interactions across Restoration media were crucial to what made them appear to be so “new.”

One of the landmark publications in recent scholarship on the history and theory of media was Lisa Gitelman and Geoffrey Pingree’s New Media, 1740–1915 (MIT Press, 2003) – a book that “challenges the notion that to study new media is to study exclusively today’s new media.” This book was intended to expand media studies backward in time, and yet, fourteen years later, it emblematizes what has become a cut-off point. Scholars of media continue to conceive of the mid-eighteenth century at the early limit of a genealogy that stretches to our own, late capitalist experiences of oversaturation in new media cultures. The Enlightenment and Industrialization have retained a firm hold at the origin of the narratives we write about the modern and contemporary media concept.

“The Intermedia Restoration” aims to expand and enrich these narratives by addressing the following questions: What theoretical and methodological shifts do we need to better understand this period’s media ecology? How might we reimagine the concept of the seventeenth-century “baroque” in fresh, interdisciplinary ways? What new histories of religion and politics can we connect to media interplay? How can transnational histories of slavery and colonization be more fully integrated into our conceptions of Restoration aesthetics and media cultures? How might we think through the period’s failures and breakdowns in media interactivity? How might we use the concept of intermediation to rethink continuity and change in the periods preceding and succeeding the Restoration?

The conference will serve as the basis for a special issue of the journal Restoration: Studies in English Literary Culture, 1660-1700, to be published in the 2018-19 academic year and guest edited by Scott Trudell. The event is sponsored by the University of Maryland Center for Literary and Comparative Studies, College of Arts and Humanities, Department of English, and Department of Art History.

Keynote speakers:

William Germano, Dean and Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences at The Cooper Union: “Operatic Shakespeare, or the Restoration Road Not Taken”

Stuart Sherman, Professor of English at Fordham University: “Unknown to All the Rest”: Restoration Prologues and Epilogues as Intermedial Crux”

Amanda Eubanks Winkler, Associate Professor of Music History and Cultures at Syracuse University: “The Intermediality of Dramatick Opera”

10-minute papers:

Sharon J. Harris, Ph.D. candidate in English at Fordham University: “Domesticating the English Masque through Its Music on the Late Restoration Stage”

Franklin Hildy, Professor of Theatre History at the University of Maryland: “‘The Triumph of Isabella’ and ‘The Triumph of London’: Pageantry, Art and Message in the 17th Century.”

Katherine Hunt, Career Development Fellow in English Literature at Oxford University: “Kinetic epistemologies and the form of the book in Restoration playing cards”

Erin Keating, Assistant Professor of English, Film and Theatre at the University of Manitoba: “Paratextual Community: Secret History and Sociability in the Restoration Court”

Stephanie Koscak, Assistant Professor of History at Wake Forest University: “Playing Cards and Political Legerdemain: Communications Networks and the Representation of Conspiracy”

Eric Nils Lindquist, Librarian for history, American studies, classics, and religion at the University of Maryland: “Manuscript, Print, and Two Exclusion Crises”

Joseph Arthur Mann, Scholar in Residence at St. Gregory’s University: “A History of Hidden Monarchical Manipulation: The Themes and Strategies of Late-Stuart Music Propaganda”

Elizabeth Massey, Ph.D. student in Musicology at the University of Maryland: “Music Making English Identity”

Nicholas Smolenski, Ph.D. student in Musicology at Duke University: “Caroline Propaganda in Restoration England: Thomas Tomkins’s Musica Deo sacra”

Rajani Sudan, Professor of English at Dedman College, “Amboyna Burl: Dryden and the Ecology of Disaster”

Thomas Ward, Associate Professor of English at the United States Naval Academy: “Pindarique Waveforms ~ Abraham Cowley’s Irregular Verse in Print, Manuscript, and Music”

Conference: Bridging the gender gap through time: how women philosophers of the past contributed to today’s thought @ King's College London
Feb 23 all-day

Keynote Speaker: Eileen Hunt Botting – University of Notre Dame

Women have had a far deeper and more extensive influence on the history than is commonly realised. Far from confining their interests to questions of gender and domestic matters, women have been writing on all aspects of philosophy for as long as such a discipline can be identified. Indeed, it is often surprising just how much high quality philosophical and political thought women have produced throughout history given that so few of the writers are known outside of a few specialist departments.

Across history, women’s writing is now being recovered not as marginal but as theoretically important in its own right. Amongst the many names one could list, we might think of Hildegard von Bingen and Christine de Pizan from the Middle Ages; Margaret Cavendish, Anne Conway, and Mary Astell in the Early Modern Period; Catharine Macaulay, Mary Wollstonecraft, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, as well as Olympe de Gouges and Sophie de Grouchy, in the revolutionary period of the Enlightenment; to say nothing of Mary Prince, Harriet Jacobs, and Sojourner Truth amongst the numerous slave and abolitionist writings of the nineteenth century.

In spite of the many difficulties women have had in making their voices heard philosophically – women did not have access to the highest levels of education, they often had to confine themselves to safe subjects to avoid social censure, they frequently found it necessary to write anonymously or to destroy one’s work, and they were in any case not normally taken seriously – their work far was more influential in their own time than we often realise today, and it still has the potential to speak to us in our own time through its influence on contemporary debates and issues.

The purpose of this conference is both to raise awareness of the rich historical tradition of women’s philosophy as well as to help make the connection with current social, moral, political and philosophical debate by bringing neglected women writers, past and present, into dialogue with today’s discourses.

We invite submissions for papers on any related theme, including but not limited to those named above. We are also interested in papers focused on women writing from a non-Western tradition, or under conditions of social or political oppression today. Presentations may address any area of philosophy, or of social, moral and political thinking more widely conceived. Some suggested topics include women philosophers on education, social reform, or revolution.

Conference: Telling Her Story: Women’s History, Heritage and the Built Environment @ Wrest Park, Bedfordshire
Mar 19 all-day

Telling Her Story’ will bring together heritage professionals and academics to explore the diverse roles and experiences of women at historic sites. Whether in country houses or castles, women have played a pivotal role in shaping the built environment and in influencing the course of history. Yet, more often than not, their voices are marginalised or missing from the historical record and from interpretation at heritage sites. This conference seeks to uncover the many and varied experiences of women at historic properties in the care of English Heritage and other heritage organisations. It aims to move beyond stock biographies of famous and extraordinary women to discover the many diverse stories of women from all walks of life, to offer new perspectives on better-known individuals and to critique narratives and interpretations which continue to be constructed principally around the experiences of men.

What extraordinary things did ordinary women do? Which kinds of buildings or landscapes are women not commonly associated with and why? How can we place women’s stories connected to specific properties in the wider context of women’s history? What was distinctive about the experience of women – across different social classes – at these sites? How does the inclusion of women change the way in which we understand the histories of particular sites? By thinking about some of these questions, the conference will also explore the relationship between women’s history, heritage and the built environment and will highlight the potential of women’s history to enrich our understanding of the heritage environment.

Conference: The Renaissance Society of American (RSA) 2018 #RenSA18 @ Hitlon, New Orleans Riverside
Mar 22 – Mar 24 all-day

Panels of Interest:

Margaret Cavendish and Medicine

Childhood, Marriage, and Feminism in Margaret Cavendish

Work after Death: Posthumaelty in Early Modern Literature

Early Modern Literature and England’s Long Reformation II

British Women Writers Challenge Established Epistemic Frameworks

Roundtable: Women’s Poetics and Early Modern Literary Studies

Colloquium: The Second Early Modern Women Writers’ Colloquium @ Othello's Island, Cyprus
Mar 25 – Mar 27 all-day

Lead Convenors:

Dr. Stella Achilleos (University of Cyprus) and Professor James Fitzmaurice, (Northern Arizona University)


About the Conference:

We are very pleased to announce that our keynote speaker at the Second Annual Early Modern Women Writers’ Colloquium in 2018 will be Professor David Norbrook, Emeritus Merton Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford, who will deliver a lecture titled ‘Providence and Displacement: Writing Lucy Hutchinson’s Life’.

Dedicated to women writers from the period 1500 to 1700 (approximate dates), the Early Modern Women Writers’ Colloquium forms a strand within the annual interdisciplinary “Othello’s Island” conference on Byzantine, Medieval and Renaissance studies.

The strand was held informally at the fourth Othello’s Island conference in 2015, and became a formal feature in 2016 at the fifth Othello’s Island in 2016. This developing tradition continues at the sixth Othello’s Island Conference in 2018, where we will again welcome papers on women writers in all languages of the early modern period, with a particular emphasis on the writers Mary Wroth, Margaret Cavendish and Aphra Behn and their contemporaries.

The strand includes papers on women writers themselves, but also associated topics, such as the representation of women and women writers in work by male writers of the period, women publishers, and also the popular round table discussion, held outside under the olive trees, as a true academia, in the courtyard garden at CVAR.

If you would like to submit a paper to the Early Modern Women Writers strand of Othello’s Island, please follow the instructions below. If you have any questions, please do contact us.

Participants in the Early Modern Women Writers strand can, of course, attend all the other papers and events of the Othello’s Island Conference, and we encourage participants to do so.

The Early Modern Women Writers strand is held in association with the International Margaret Cavendish Society.

Shakespeare Association of America @ Renaissance Hotel
Apr 17 – Apr 21 all-day

SAA is hosting its annual conference this month at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington D.C. To learn more about the event, click on the link to the SAA homepage.

You can follow along on Twitter using the #Shax2019 hashtag!

Online Olio Webinars: Call for Chairs Autumn 2021
Jul 1 @ 4:34 PM – Jul 28 @ 6:00 PM

Call for panel chairs: second annual “Online Olio” webinar series for Fall 2021

Co-founded by Arnaud Zimmern, Sophia Richardson, and E Mariah Spencer. Affiliated with the International Margaret Cavendish Society and hosted by Digital Cavendish.

In October, 2020, the Online Olio, sponsored by the International Margaret Cavendish Society (IMCS), debuted a sequence of online webinars that helped members of the Society fight scholarly isolation when the biennial conference was cancelled due to the pandemic. It was a victory for international outreach, with high participant engagement from a dynamic mixture of early- and late-career students, established professors, and independent scholars. We are excited to continue and enhance this online program as a complement to our in-person events, such as the 2022 IMCS conference at Florida Southwestern State College. Our goals include making the works of Margaret Cavendish and her readers more broadly available, expanding teaching resources, deepening and diversifying ties between graduate students, early-career researchers, and advanced and independent scholars, and fortifying critical conversations about Cavendish and her contemporaries.

To that end, we are currently seeking panel chairs to design innovative webinars for fall 2021 (tentatively scheduled for Saturdays in October). Graduate students, post-docs, or similarly early-career scholars are eligible to apply by July 28th, 2021. If your proposal is successful, we will then provide an online venue for you to present your work and invite your most admired scholars to present alongside you. Our 3 finalists will benefit from customized logistical help, free advertising, week-of and day-of coordination, and hosting on Zoom and YouTube by experienced former chairs. In the proposal form linked here, please submit your CV and a 150-200 word abstract describing a panel you would like to design and chair, along with a wish list of 5-6 panelists (ideally a mix of late and early career researchers) with whom you want to present.

We are always eager to hear more interpretations of Cavendish’s works, both on themes common to existing scholarship (early modern women writers, natural philosophers, and Restoration dramatists, among others) and on new avenues, disciplines, and periods. We warmly invite a broad range of international and interdisciplinary participants. To see examples of past sessions, check out our 2020 panels on education and access, insects, and imagination on our YouTube channel here. For questions, or to inquire about suitable panel topics, please email us at theonlineolio@gmail.com.