Recording Women in the Early Modern Atlantic World

Texas State University and University of Texas at Austin

September 26-28, 2024

**Proposal Deadline: March 1, 2024**

With support from Texas State University and the University of Texas at Austin, conveners Caylin Carbonell, Sara Damiano, and Julie Hardwick invite participation in a workshop on “Recording Women in the Early Modern Atlantic World.” This in-person workshop will take place in the Austin, TX, area on September 26-28, 2024. The workshop’s goal is publication of a Journal of Women’s History special issue, to be guest edited by Sara Damiano and Caylin Carbonell.

Contributions to this workshop will investigate women’s production and preservation of manuscript and material sources in the early modern Atlantic world, ca. 1400-1800. In keeping with the JWH’s emphasis on comparative and transnational methods, our expansive geographic scope encompasses Africa, the Caribbean, the Americas, and Europe. We particularly encourage work beyond the Anglophone world, and work that sheds light on practices employed by women of African and/or Indigenous descent. We conceive of “women’s record-keeping” broadly and invite papers that expand the definition of this term.

“Recording Women” builds upon multiple lines of scholarly inquiry. Recent studies of the early modern period have highlighted European-descended women’s involvement in composing and safeguarding myriad records, including those that the law considered to be the property of men. At the same time, critical interventions in Black and Indigenous studies have underscored the ways in which power conditioned the production and preservation of the early modern archive. 

We ask: How does the archive structure our ability to locate women as creators of early modern sources? How might attending to the gendered work of record-keeping revise our understanding of skills and practices including literacy, numeracy, authorship, and stewardship? And, in a world in which writing was a crucial instrument of law and commerce, how did differential access to record-keeping undergird power relations and social hierarchies? In what ways did women use material and manuscript sources to advance personal, familial, or group interests? When women could not themselves produce records, what strategies did they deploy to shape the materials that others produced about them? Ultimately, we envision that such approaches will shed light on women’s relationship to the early modern period’s key transformations, including the building of states and empires, the development of capitalism, and the forging of racial and gendered ideologies.

Prospective participants are asked to submit a 500-word abstract and 1-page CV by email no later than March 1, 2024. Please submit materials to both and

Participants will draft full essays of 6,000-8,000 words for circulation to workshop participants by September 1, 2024. The workshop will then take place September 26-28, 2024, with portions at both UT-Austin and Texas State University, located in nearby San Marcos. (The driving time between Austin and San Marcos is forty minutes.) Meals and lodging in Austin will be provided for all participants. A travel stipend will be provided to participants who are unable to secure travel funding from their own institutions. The workshop conveners will also coordinate transportation between Austin and San Marcos. 

Following the workshop, the conveners will select contributions to proceed through the peer review process of the Journal of Women’s History. The award-winning Journal of Women’s History is a quarterly, peer-reviewed scholarly journal published by Johns Hopkins University Press that showcases the dynamic international field of women’s history. The JWH features cutting-edge scholarship from around the globe in all historical periods. For more information, visit the Journal of Women's History.

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