Women on Liberty, 1600-1800

  • An invited symposium at the Monash University Prato Centre, in Prato, Italy, supported by the Australian Research Council, which was held from Monday, 30 June, to Wednesday, 2 July 2014.

    From 1600 to 1800, women philosophers were active participants in discussions about concepts of freedom and liberty. To date, however, there has been little scholarship about their contributions to the topic.

    The main purpose of this three-day symposium was to enhance our appreciation of women’s philosophical ideas about freedom and liberty in the early modern and enlightenment periods.

    The topics of papers ranged from women’s metaphysical and moral-theological views concerning freedom, to their ethical and political ideas about liberty.

    Speakers examined early modern women’s ideas about free will and necessity in relation to their theories of human redemption and perfection, as well as their ideas about moral and political responsibility. They examined the connections between early modern women’s theological views about God’s essential nature and its implications for both divine and human agency.

    They also discussed connections between early forms of feminism and the political ideals of liberty as freedom from external interference, freedom as self-determination or independence, and freedom from domination or dependence. In addition, they examined pre-enlightenment women’s accounts of freedom with respect to present-day feminist theories of relational autonomy.

    For further details, please click on the links below:

    List of participants and topics



    Contact us


Latest News

  • Karen Detlefsen (Penn, US) on liberty and feminism in the early modern period Deborah Boyle (College of Charleston, US) on Margaret Cavendish (1623-73), freedom, and necessity Marcy ... Read more
  • If you have any queries, please feel free to contact the symposium organisers: Jacqueline Broad (Jacqueline.Broad at monash.edu) and Karen Detlefsen (detlefse at sas.upenn.edu). Read more
  • The location of our symposium was Meeting Room 10 on the first floor of the Monash University Prato Centre, located in an eighteenth-century palazzo called ... Read more
  • We recommend: The Art Hotel Milano Via Tiziano, 15 – 59100 Prato – Italy tel: +39 0574 23371 Map This modern hotel is within short walking distance to the Monash ... Read more