November 13-15, 2020

Jacksonville, FL

Call For Papers

Affiliated Group Session

“Breaking Rules: Re-thinking Early Modern Women’s Cultural Production in the Hispanic World”

Early modern women’s writing and cultural production have long been seen as exceptional, particularly in the Hispanic and Hispanic American canons. Early scholarship largely focused on women’s publications in genres that privileged male writers, like poetry and the comedia. Some researchers interpreted these feminine interventions as “monstrous,” or “varonil” and often analyzed them in relation to masculine cultural production. The resultant paradigms marginalized less prominent women’s voices—particularly those whose echoes are more difficult to trace in the written archive. Additionally ,prior approaches struggled to value the autonomous artistic space that women created, either independently of or in harmony with their male counterparts. 

In response, scholars endeavor to trace early women’s artistic and intellectual contributions in cultural spheres that have received less attention, including: cloistered women’s writing, epistolarity, feminine participation in the visual and musical arts, patronage, education, and more. These efforts show how women’s artistic and scholarly production “developed … [its] own parallel history, at times resisting and other times emulating men’s literary models,” as Nieves Baranda and Anne Cruz remark in the introduction to the Routledge Research Companion to Early Modern Spanish Women Writers (2). Like the articles in Baranda and Cruz’s volume illustrate, women were far from silent participants in the early modern Hispanic world. Indeed, expanded methodologies in early modern literary, historical, and cultural studies have paved the way for today’s scholars to re-examine women’s cultural production as a thriving artistic sphere in which many participated.

Keeping with trends in the field as well as the conference theme “Breaking Rules, Making Texts,” this panel seeks to interrogate the construction of early modern women intellectuals as exceptional in the transatlantic Hispanic world. We especially welcome papers that examine previously understudied women writers and artists; shed new light on feminine participation in scholarly spheres through reading, writing, patronage and more; or challenge the exceptionalism of well-known figures like Ana Caro, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and María de Zayas.   

Submit a 250-word abstract, brief bio and A/V needs to Sarah Finley ( by May 27, 2020. All participants must be current members of GEMELA. Renew your membership here