Thursday, February 16, 2012

American conference program

The University of Florida has released the programme (or, I should say, program), for Mary Wollstonecraft: Legacies, to be held next week, at Ustler Hall, Gainesville (pictured).
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, 2011), and is the second in a series that will commemorate the re-reading of key feminist texts and the legacies of major feminist thinkers.
Thursday 23 February
4:30-6:00: Panel Discussion on Wollstonecraft’s Legacies
Anita Anatharam, Rachel Rebouché, Stephanie Smith, Louise Newman, and Judith Page, moderator (all University of Florida)

Friday 24 February
Sheryl Kroen, Associate Professor of History, UF, “Writing Women's Lives: the Case of Mary Wollstonecraft”
Kari Lokke, Professor of Comparative Literature, UC-Davis, “Grasping at Immortality:
Forms of Freedom in Mary Wollstonecraft's Scandinavian Letters.”
Anne K. Mellor, Distinguished Professor of English and Women’s Studies, UCLA,
“Wollstonecraft, Austen and the Problems at Mansfield Park”
Moderator: Pamela Gilbert (University of Florida)

Wendy Gunther-Canada, Professor and Chair of Political Science, UA-Birmingham,
“Disinherited Daughters: Wollstonecraft and the Politics of Female Birthright”.
Daniel O’Neill, Associate Professor of Political Science, UF, “Mary Wollstonecraft and Democracy”
Danaya Wright, Professor of Law, UF, “Mary Wollstonecraft’s Unintended Legacy: The Normative Contours of the Parens Patriae Jurisdiction and the Changing Face of Legal Interference in the Family”
Moderator: Ed White (University of Florida)

A talk by Anne Mellor, Distinguished Professor of English and Women’s Studies, UCLA, “Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman and the Problems of Liberal Feminism,” followed by discussion

More details here and the full program(me) here (pdf). The long breaks between the sessions, when lots of interesting conversations are bound to happen, are well judged. When I first wrote of this conference, Janet Todd was giving the keynote talk; now, apparently not, alas.

Perhaps you'd prefer the philosophers' day-long symposium in Sweden. Bear in mind that Lund is just up the road (in the European sense) from Malmo. Malmo, across the bridge from Copenhagen, has a programme to experience Swedish hospitality -- supper (and maybe party games) with the locals.  No promises that the mayor will invite you to camp in his garden shed; details here, or maybe not....

Addendum: I had forgotten, or not known, that Janet Todd gained her PhD at the University of Florida. The Guardian's Higher Education profile (by John Sutherland, with whom I have a question outstanding) says:
She wanted to do Mary Wollstonecraft "but nobody had heard of her". So she did her doctoral work on the rustic poet John Clare. They hadn't heard of him, either, but the name was reassuringly masculine. Todd's supervisor died mid-thesis, so her research was uninterfered with - something she has always preferred.

Photo: Ustler Hall is, according to Wikipedia , "the only freestanding campus building in the United States devoted solely to Women’s Studies [...and...] the first building on the UF campus renamed to honor a woman." (First, or only, I wonder?) 
I do appreciate the coincidence linking it to the German Gymnasium near MW's first grave: 
"I wish to persuade women to endeavor to acquire strength, both of mind and body".  
The image was taken by Douglas Whittaker and is used under a GNU Free Documentation License.


  1. Thanks, Roberta, for posting this up-to-date program--it's most edifying. I'm sorely disappointed to see that Janet Todd will not do the keynote on Wollstonecraft and her romantic conflicts (or something of that ilk). But I'm nevertheless looking forward to the panels and talks and the discussion-in-between. Wish I lived closer to Sweden!

  2. I live closer to Sweden, but mere proximity would do no good. Both conferences commemorate the 220th anniversary of the publication of Mary's magnum opus, and thus both occur at the same time. One has to choose. I chose.