Call for Submissions: The Femme Philosophe in Early Modern Art

Women were incorporated into the history of philosophy only in 1981 when Mary Ellen Waithe published her groundbreaking A History of Women Philosophers. 

At the time she identified approximately sixteen female philosophers from the classical era, seventeen from 500 to 1600, and thirty from 1600 to 1900. Among the names revealed were Mary Wollstonecraft, Elisabeth of Bohemia, Anne Finch, Elena Cornaro Piscopia, Catherine Trotter Cockburn, and Margaret Cavendish, all intellectual luminaries who lived during the Early Modern Era. 

That these were highly educated women meant that they were also highly cultured and, therefore, they often collected, commissioned, or even produced art. Christina of Sweden, for example, was a student of Descartes and held academies in her home where the latest intellectual debates were the norm. Her art collection, which included a significant number of works from the ancient era, became the backdrop for these events and served to recreate the glory of the ancient past and provide philosophical inspiration. 

Anna Maria van Schurman, who corresponded with scholars from the university of Leiden and who completed her Dissertatio de ingenii mulieribus ad doctrinam on the aptitude of the female mind for science and letters in 1639, was an accomplished portraitist and engraver. Yet, the subject of the femme philosophe in the history of art has not been explored sufficiently and requires inquiry that goes beyond acknowledgment of their existence and the cursory mention of the art objects produced due to their intervention in one form or another. 

Zephyrus Scholarly Publications LLC seeks to publish an anthology comprised of papers that analyze the contributions of Early Modern femmes philosophes to the history of art, with particular emphasis on the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when a high level of philosophical activity took place. 

Of particular interest are papers on Carthesian female philosophers, though women with other philosophical inclinations will also be considered. Please send a 300 word abstract to Lilian H. Zirpolo at L H Zirpolo by October 1, 2017 (deadline extended).