Bodies, Bawdies, and Nobodies: Early Modern Women, 1500-1800

Eve, the Serpent and Death, Hans Baldung Grien, c. 1510-15

February 21-22, 2003
Annual EMC Conference
McCune Conference Room (HSSB 6020)

Keynote Speaker: Felicity Nussbaum (Professor of English, UCLA)

The Early Modern Center of the University of California, Santa Barbara and its affiliates invite scholars to attend a conference on the role of Early Modern Women in literature and literary production. The two-day conference will explore the concept of embodiment as it relates to women as creators, subjects, and consumers of British, Continental, and early American cultures. How has our understanding of the association between the body and women been complicated by recent critical investigations into the female body in culture and domesticity? Panel topics to include literature, history, cultural studies, and art history.

Registration information is available below. You may register by mail, email, or online. Participants need not re-register.

Conference Co-Sponsors

Early Modern Center
Department of English
Renaissance Studies
Comparative Literature
French and Italian
Spanish and Portuguese
History of Art and Architecture

Conference Schedule

Friday, February 21st

8:30-9:00 | Introduction

Patricia Fumerton
Diana Solomon

9:00-10:15 | The Body Beautiful

Chair: Laurie Ellinghausen

Edith Snook
University of New Brunswick
“Aemelia Lanyer, John Milton, and How ‘Beauty is Excelled by Manly Grace and Wisdom’…or Not”

Severine Genieys
University College Dublin
“Women in the Works of Lady Mary Wroth and Madeleine de Scudéry: ‘Angells’ or ‘Beasts of the Hansommer Sort’?”

Andrea Stevens
University of Virginia
“Anticosmetic Discourse and Abdeker, or The Art of Preserving Beauty”

10:15-10:30 | Break

10:30-11:45 | Busybodies

Chair: Bryan Reynolds, UC Irvine

Natasha Korda
Wesleyan University
“Labors Lost: Women’s Work and the ‘All-Male Stage’”

Eric B. Song
University of Virginia
“Bidding Adieu: Eliza and the Banishment of Feminine Anxiety”

Brooke Stafford
University of Washington
“Bodies of Text: Textual Identities in the Mary Carleton Corpus”

11:45-1:00 | Lunch

1:00-2:15 | Keynote Lecture
Felicity Nussbaum
Department of English
University of California, Los Angeles
“Racial Femininity on the Eighteenth-Century Stage”

Introduction: Bill Warner

2:15-2:30 | Break

2:30-3:45 | The Body Politic

Chair: Everett Zimmerman

Emilie L. Bergmann
University of California, Berkeley
“Riotous Nurturers: Wetnursing and Social Anxieties in Early Modern Spain and Spanish America”

Basuli Deb
Michigan State University
“Reclaiming the Subaltern Voice: The Case of Imoinda”

Joshua Eckhardt
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
“The Politics of Anti-Courtly Love Poetry: Frances Howard Libels in Manuscript”

3:45-4:00 | Break

4:00-5:15 | Keep Your Laws Off My Body

Chair: Jennifer Hellwarth, Allegheny College

Martine Van Elk
California State University, Long Beach
“Lewd and Idle Bodies: Female Counterfeiting in the Bridewell Court Records and Rogue Literature”

Marina Leslie
Northeastern University
“Begetting Crimes: ‘Pleading the Belly’ and the Rhetoric of Female Criminality in Early Modern England”

Albert Sheen
University of Wisconsin-Madison
“Body of Evidence: Elizabeth Canning before the Law in Mid-Eighteenth-Century London”

5:15-7:00 | Reception

Saturday, February 22nd

10:00-11:15 | Homebodies

Chair: Richard Helgerson

Marta Straznicky
Queen’s University
“Women and Printed Drama in Early Modern England”

Ellen Kennedy Johnson
Arizona State University
“‘Taking Up Some Work from the Table’: The Rhetoric of Needlework in Jane Austen’s Novels and Letters”

Jennifer Higginbotham
University of Pennsylvania
“Embroidered Texts: Pens and Needles in the Hands of Renaissance Women”

11:15-11:30 | Break

11:30-12:45 | Nobodies That Matter

Chair: Michael O’Connell

Kay Young
University of California, Santa Barbara
“Pamela and Bette Davis Play Dress Up”

Jennifer Hellwarth
Allegheny College
“Playing Pregnancy: Social Practices and the Dramatic Representation of Childbirth in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale

Lesley Peterson
University of Alberta
“Somebody Somewhere: Placing Elizabeth Cary”

12:45-2:00 | Lunch

2:00-3:15 | Bodies and Antibodies

Chair: Bob Erickson

Lexey Bartlett
University of Texas at Arlington
“Pathological Conceptions: Medical Discourse and Disruptive Rhetoric in Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women

Penelope Anderson
University of California, Berkeley
“‘Most True, If Ever Truth Were Pregnant by Circumstance:’ Bodies, Facts, and Persuasion in The Winter’s Tale

Suzanne Montgomery
University of Utah
“The Embodiment of Truth: Sex Education in L’école des Filles ou la Philosophie des Dames

3:15-3:30 | Break

3:30-4:45 | Bawdy Talk

Chair: Lee Bliss

Caroline McManus
California State University, Los Angeles
“Women and Fools in Trevor Nunn’s Twelfth Night

Amy Greenstadt
Portland State University
“WILLING SUBJECTS: Sexual Consent and Colonial Conquest in the Writing of Margaret Cavendish”

4:45 | Closing Remarks

Elizabeth Heckendorn Cook

Registration Information

Conference participants do not need to re-register.

Online registration is available at
However, if you would like to register by email or mail, please send us a letter with:

Your Name
Department Affiliation
University Affiliation
Mailing Address
E-mail Address
Telephone Number

and a check for $25 (faculty) or $10 (graduate students) before February 1st. Fees go up to $35/$15 after that date. The conference is free to UCSB students and faculty. Checks with your name prominently marked should be made out to Regents, University of California and sent with the above information to Diana Solomon at the address below.

Diana Solomon
Department of English
University of California
Santa Barbara, California 93106
(805) 893-4365

Conference Coordinators:
Diana Solomon
Anna Viele
Tassie Gniady
Laurie Ellinghausen
Stephen Deng