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Workshop ‘Tackling Historical Women’s Writing: Research Practices and Communication’


This workshop (1 EC upon request) is centered around scholarly interest in the writing of women from the early modern period (1500s-1800s) and is geared toward early career researchers in the field of historical women’s writing. The workshop focuses on positioning our research in the current moment, as well as how to communicate this research through both journalistic/public writing and alternative digital venues alike. We turn to questions about the relevance of research about women’s writing and how tackling historical women’s writing might help us understand current, highly topical debates about gender and women’s position in society. It thus aims to provide a platform to reflect on research practices and on the relevance and importance of cultural- and literary historical research on women’s writing in the twenty-first century.

The workshop is geared towards PhD students and early career scholars, both those attending the conference and students in other Flemish and Dutch universities. In this workshop, we hope to foster a community of early career researchers with an interest in historical women’s writing and we aim to offer a platform to think collectively about how gender and diversity inform our research practices. This workshop follows the same innovative spirit as the conference succeeding the workshop, “Feeling Form/Forming Feeling?: Dialectics of Affect and Form in British Women’s Writing, 1550-1800” on Oct. 14 and 15 in Ghent, with the keynotes also curating workshops on public outreach, publishing, and archival research. Speakers on this workshop day are:

  • Prof. Ros Ballaster (Oxford University)
  • Prof. Danielle Clarke (University College Dublin)
  • Prof. Michelle Dowd (University of Alabama)
  • Dr. Kristine Johanson (University of Amsterdam)
  • Prof. Marianne Van Remoortel (Ghent University).

Date: Thursday 13 October 2022
Venue: Het Rustpunt, Karmelietenklooster, Burgstraat 46, 9000 Ghent, Belgium.
Max number of participants: 12
The workshop itself is free to attend and lunch/tea and coffee will be provided.
ECTS: 1 ECTS (provided upon request)
Registration: registration closed. Please register here for a spot on the waiting list:


Full programme

10 – 10.30: Opening address, housekeeping and introductions

 10.30 – 11.30: workshop 1: Talking Texts and Objects: Introducing your Archives (Ballaster)

This is an interactive workshop with two aims: 1) to introduce you to each other and the work you do with archives 2) to reflect on the ways that archives speak to us and how to communicate your research through powerful illustrations from the archives you work with.

Assignment: You should aim to prepare for this workshop a SINGLE powerpoint image which introduces a source or object or page of text in a way that allows you to introduce fellow participants to an archive you work with AND outlines the research questions that it prompts. You should aim to speak for NO MORE than 5 minutes to your powerpoint. Think of this as an exercise in ‘speed criticism’.

  • Ros Ballaster, Professor of Eighteenth-Century Studies in the Faculty of English, University of Oxford and tutorial fellow at Mansfield College. Ros is a literary historian with a particular interest in the history of narrative and performance. She has published monographs and many articles on the ‘rise’ of the novel exploring the significance of romance fiction, women’s writing (Seductive Forms, 1992) , and the oriental tale (Fabulous Orients. 2005). She edited Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility for Penguin Classics (1995).  In recent years her research interest has turned to the interaction of the Georgian (eighteenth-century) theatre and the novel and her book Fictions of Presence in the eighteenth-century Theatre and Novel was published by Boydell Press in August 2020. In 2019  her essay ‘Sensible Readers: Experiments in Feeling in Early Prose Fiction by Women’, appeared in The Sentimental Novel in the Eighteenth Century, ed. Albert J. Rivero (Cambridge UP), She was Principal Investigator on a collaborative project working with the archives of the Edgeworth family in Ireland and England, the ‘Digital Edgeworth Network’ 2019-2021 Maria Edgeworth | Great Writers Inspire ( Digital Edgeworth Network (@EdgeworthPapers) / Twitter

 11.30 – 11.50: coffee break

 11.50 – 12.50: workshop 2: digital humanities and women’s writing (Van Remoortel)

Digital storytelling is a new, immersive way to share research with a larger audience. This workshop will introduce you to the IIIF-based visual storytelling tool Exhibit. It will cover the basics of IIIF (International Image Interoperability Framework) and in a step-by-step manner teach you how to create your own digital story in Exhibit using high resolution images from your research.

  • Marianne Van Remoortel is Associate Professor at the Department of Literary Studies, Ghent University. She completed her PhD on gender, genre and the nineteenth-century sonnet in 2007. As a postdoctoral fellow of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO, 2009-2015), she specialized in Victorian periodicals, with particular focus on periodical poetry and women’s contributions to the periodical press. She is the author of Lives of the Sonnet, 1787-1895: Genre, Gender and Criticism (Ashgate, 2011) and Women, Work and the Victorian Periodical: Living by the Press (Palgrave, 2015; runner-up 2015 Robert and Vineta Colby Scholarly Book Prize), and the editor-in-chief of the Journal of European Periodical Studies. Her ERC Starting Grant project “Agents of Change: Women Editors and Socio-Cultural Transformation in Europe, 1710-1920″ takes her research on the periodical press into a new transnational collaborative direction.

 12.50 – 1.45: lunch

 1.45 – 3.15: workshop 3: preparing for publication (Dowd / Clarke)

This workshop will focus on preparing manuscripts for academic publication. Topics discussed will include preparing book manuscripts (monographs and edited volumes) and working with academic presses, publishing journal articles, and impact building and developing a professional profile through publication. The format will be informal, and we welcome your queries on any aspect of this topic.

  • Danielle Clarke is Professor of English Renaissance Literature at University College Dublin. Her work focusses on the intersections between early modern women’s writing, materiality, textuality and culture. Most recently she edited (with Sarah C.E. Ross and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann) The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern Women’s Writing in English, 1540-1700 (forthcoming), and she is currently working on a book called Becoming Human: Women’s Writing, Time, Nature, and Devotion 1550-1700.
  • Michelle M. Dowd is Hudson Strode Professor of English and director of the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies at the University of Alabama. In addition to coediting several volumes, she is the author of Women’s Work in Early Modern English Literature and Culture (2009), The Dynamics of Inheritance on the Shakespearean Stage (2015), and numerous articles in such journals as Criticism, Modern Philology, English Literary Renaissance, and Renaissance Drama. She is currently editing a new book series, Strode Studies in Early Modern Literature and Culture, published by the University of Alabama Press.

 3.15 – 3.35: coffee break

 3.35 – 5: workshop 4: Women’s Writing and Creative Approaches to Research (Johanson)

In this workshop, participants will use various writing exercises and peer discussion to develop creative approaches to their research. Using creative writing alongside your research can not only provide new perspectives on and introduce new questions to your work, but perhaps result in creative, public-outreach projects as well.

  • Kristine Johanson is a senior lecturer in English Renaissance Literature and Culture at the University of Amsterdam. Her first monograph, Shakespeare’s Golden Ages: Resisting Nostalgia in Elizabethan Drama, is forthcoming with Edinburgh University Press. Kristine’s scholarship is at work outside of the university as well, and she has worked with The Moving Arts Project, the Amsterdam Academisch Club, the Friends of the Rotterdam Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, and most recently with the Dutch National Opera and Ballet and Felix Meritis. Her first short film, Fever Dreams, co-directed with Daniel Hillel-Tuch and written about the first Corona lockdown, premiered in July 2020 and in December won Best Film at the Amsterdams Buurt Film Festival. In 2018 with John Mabey she was commissioned by Orange Theatre Company to write a play about Brexit. That play, The B Word – Strategies for a Graceful Exit, had a sold-out run at the Westergastheater in Amsterdam.

5 – 5.45: Drinks salon > dinner (optional/at participants’ own cost)