ASECS 2023 Panel: Women Writers and Scientific Fiction(s) in Enlightenment France

deadline for submissions: 
October 3, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
contact email: 

American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

53rd Annual Meeting

Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch

March 9-11, 2023

Full conference CFP and Submission Information:

Panel #107. Women Writers and Scientific Fiction(s) in Enlightenment France 

Chair: Charlee Bezilla, George Washington University,

In recent years, scholars have focused increased attention on the important scientific work, collaborative contributions, and publications of women in Enlightenment France. Women practitioners who engaged in the domains of mathematics, astronomy, botany, chemistry, and natural history and philosophy such as Emilie du Châtelet, Geneviève Thiroux d’Arconville, Madeline Françoise Basseporte, Marie-Anne Paulze Lavoisier, Marie-Marguerite Biheron, Jeanne Dumée, and Nicole-Reine Lepaute, among others, have been the focus of recent articles and monographs. For example, Nina Gelbart’s 'Minerva’s French Sisters: Women of Science in Enlightenment France' (2021), Erica Harth’s 'Cartesian Women: Versions and Subversions of Rational Discourse in the Old Régime' (2018), Meghan Roberts’ 'Sentimental Savants: Philosophical Families in Enlightenment France' (2016), and Sarah Benharrech’s work on female botanists, among others, highlight the contributions of these often overlooked women. This panel, however, seeks to pose a different question: what about French women writers of the long eighteenth century who incorporated “scientific” ideas and subjects into fiction? How did these writers take up, represent, and even transform scientific subjects in their fiction, and to what ends? Which genres and literary forms and tropes did they use to convey such ideas? How might fiction have provided an alternative space for women to engage with science? Panelists might discuss writers of contes de fées like Marie-Madeleine de Lubert, the work of Marie-Anne de Roumier-Robert, or how scientific ideas appear in the texts of women writers not usually associated with “scientific fiction.”

Abstracts of 250-300 words should be sent via the submission portal available here:

Questions can be directed to