Women and Republicanism

Panel at the British Society for the History of Philosophy Annual Conference, York 9 April 2015 (9.40 am – 12.40 pm)

Feminists have had a long history of suspicion of republicanism. This has not been surprising given how its principles have been used to support patriarchy and to exclude women from the benefits of citizenship. In recent years, however, this stance has thawed somewhat with a number of republican feminists emerging.

The history of republicanism, however, remains resolutely male. Its widely accepted canon of writers – from Machiavelli to Milton, and from Madison to Mill – includes no women. Female writers, however, have long used republican principles in support of their arguments. The panellists have already shown how Mary Wollstonecraft should not only be understood as drawing on republican themes, but as offering her own contribution to its theory and resources. This symposium is dedicated to further developing the field of uncovering women’s historic use of republican ideas, by engaging with the works of Mary Wollstonecraft, Catherine Macaulay, and Sophie de Grouchy.

1. Sandrine Berges (Bilkent), “Sophie de Grouchy and the cost of domination”
2. Alan Coffee (King’s College London), “Macaulay and Wollstonecraft: Two Concepts of Republican Liberty”
3. Lena Halldenius (Lund), “Mary Wollstonecraft and Feminist Republicanism”
4. Martina Reuter (Jyväskylä), “Wollstonecraft’s concept of duty”