Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Florida in February

23 February 2012 is the 220th anniversary of the publication of Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (translation for the curious). A Scandinavian collaboration has planned a one-day philosophical symposium to be held at Lund, although the event website does not mention why the date was chosen. More explicitly to mark the occasion, our American cousins are also hosting a conference, twice as long, entitled "Mary Wollstonecraft: Legacies". Janet Todd will be giving the keynote, but all the other speakers appear to be working in the USA, with half from the University of Florida itself.

I note that the conference will be taking place in the main building of the Center for Women's Studies & Gender Research. It was designed in 1919 as the Women's Gymnasium, and I find a fitting link to the mid-nineteenth century German Gymnasium around the corner from Mary's first grave, and equidistant from it and the British Library. Have a look at the strapping young lasses at the botom of this post of Old St Pancras, and think of the Wollstonecraft words: "I wish to persuade women to endeavor to acquire strength, both of mind and body". I like to think she would be amused.

February is an excellent time to visit Florida. The last time I ventured there was around that season: I fled a bleak northern midwinter, on a quest for academe and apple trees, in another century.

[Correction, mid Feb 2012: The building was opened in 1919 as a men's sporting venue, according to Wikipedia, and only became the women's gymnasium in 1948, when UF became co-educational. Also, it now appears that Janet Todd will not be appearing. Oh well.]
Full blurb:
The Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research will host a conference on February 23-24, 2012 to commemorate the 220th anniversary of the publication of Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman, a text that has had profound influence on political modernity and on continuing discussions about feminist thought. This conference follows our inaugural conference on Simone de Beauvoir (February 10-11, 20111), and is the second in a series that will commemorate the re-reading of key feminist texts and the legacies of major feminist thinkers.
Professor Janet Todd of Cambridge University will deliver the keynote address. Other presenters include Anne Mellor, UCLA, Kari Lokke, UC-Davis, Wendy Gunther-Canada, UA-Birmingham, and Dan O’Neill, Sheryl Kroen, and Danaya Wright from UF.

This event is sponsored by the Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research, the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere (Rothman Endowment), the Office of Research, the Levin College of Law, the Office of the Dean (CLAS), the Albert Brick Chair, and the Department of Political Science.
And a reminder of the binational co-sponsors of the Lund event: from Sweden, Understanding Agency (Conceptions of Action, Human Nature and Value in the Western Philosophic Tradition); and from Finland, the Philosophical Psychology, Morality and Politics Research Unit at the Universities of Helsinki and Jyväskylä. (And speakers from Birmingham - the British one - and Bilkent.)

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I want to go--though flying in February is iffy. But hopefully there will be a crowd of other Mary fans. Thanks for letting us know, Roberta!