Gender, Rights, and Citizenship in the Enlightenment: French and English Women Writers in the Shadow of the French Revolution

Beginning in 1789, French Revolutionaries fundamentally reframed questions of citizenship, legal equality, and political rights for Frenchmen, but left largely intact the subordinate legal status of women. Yet in these same years women within and beyond France, including Olympe de Gouges and Mary Wollstonecraft, also took up their pens and wrote influential texts claiming women's rights and responsibilities as equal citizens. Seminar participants will read and discuss selected primary sources written by such authors, often considered foundational feminist texts. Participants also will consider developments of the early Revolutionary years from 1789-1794 as critical context for understanding these texts and their authors.