University of Gothenburg

Philosophy in Other Words

Research Network on Early Modern Women and Philosophy.

In the early modern period (c. 1450–1800), women were deeply engaged in the creation, production, and diffusion of philosophy. They addressed ethical, political, metaphysical, educational, and natural issues. They created concepts, constructed theories, and critiqued or developed work by their male peers. Yet somewhere along the way, these women intellectuals disappeared (or were excluded) from conventional narratives of the history of philosophy. Though they were often famous in their own time, many are relatively unknown today.

The research network Philosophy in Other Words (POW) strives to change this. We are an interdisciplinary network for Nordic researchers working with any aspect of women’s philosophical activities in the early modern period. We are committed to retrieving and reframing women’s contributions to intellectual history by attending to specific women thinkers as well as to questions of gender, genre, and historiography more broadly.

We welcome researchers who work with canonical female thinkers, those whose research centers on figures and texts that have hitherto not been considered philosophical, and those who study the material and social conditions of intellectual life.

The network’s name “Philosophy in Other Words” reflects many early modern women’s choice to present their philosophical thought “in disguise” – as poetry or drama, in journals or newspapers. Like these women, we appreciate new ideas and approaches regarding genres and modes of philosophical expression.

Cooperation

POW brings together scholars from Sweden (The University of Gothenburg, Stockholm University, Linköping University, Lund University), Norway (The University of Oslo, The Arctic University of Norway), Denmark (The University of Copenhagen, Roskilde University) and Finland (The University of Jyväskylä).

Events

POW held an introductory workshop on October 1st, 2021. In autumn 2022, we will organize a second workshop, which will focus on Danish philosopher Birgitte Thott (1610–1662).

In autumn 2023, POW will organize an international conference on early modern women’s political and ethical thinking in cooperation with The Early Modern Seminar at the University of Gothenburg.

Education

At the University of Gothenburg, members of POW teach the course “Women and Intellectual Life in Early Modern Europe”. Through close reading of women’s philosophical works, the course explores the intellectual world of early modern Europe from the perspective of women philosophers and writers of the age.