NeMLA 2015 - '(Im)modest Witnesses': Women and Scientific Work in the Long Eighteenth Century

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Northeast Modern Language Association
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Feminist critics argue that when Robert Boyle proposed his ideal scientific spectator, the 'modest witness,' he set an exclusionary standard, barring women from scientific production. This panel explores femininity and the female body in the making of scientific knowledge from the Scientific Revolution to the early 1800s. Did women employ discrete processes or ideologies, devise experiments, and construct evidence in ways that were fundamentally distinct from the masculine university model? Broadly, how did gender affect their scientific acts?

We especially encourage submissions from scholars interested in science studies, women's studies, and interdisciplinary science studies. While this panel is primarily focused on the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, we will also consider submissions that consider contemporary issue of women in science in relation to these historical discussions. We also welcome papers on any aspect of gender and science in the long eighteenth century.

Conference - NeMLA 2015, Toronto, ON. April 30 - May 3, 2015. Submissions due by September 1.

Contact Anna Sagal ( or Nicole Keller Day ( with questions; abstracts submitted through NeMLA. (