22 May 2015 10:30am - 5:00pm SG1, Alison Richard Building


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The sixth Balzan Skinner Lecture and Symposium with Balzan Skinner Fellow 2014-15 Dr Anna Becker.

Confirmed Speakers
Sylvana Tomaselli (University of Cambridge)
Clare Chambers (University of Cambridge)
Serena Ferente (King’s College, London)
Carol Atack (University of Oxford)

While ‘gender’ is a well-established subject in many historical disciplines, such as cultural history, social history and global history, the same cannot be said for the history of political thought. Especially once we turn to the sort of early modern political thought that can be seen as republican in a broad sense, women seem to disappear. They are simply not political: they are not citizens, they cannot participate in the sphere of the city or the commonwealth. In my lecture I shall develop a methodological approach to the question of how to write gender in and into the history of political thought in a historically sound and firmly contextual way that avoids anachronisms and show – as Joan Scott has suggested – that gender is indeed a ‘useful category’ in the history of political thought.



Registration and Coffee


Magnus Ryan (University of Cambridge)
Welcome and Introduction

Keynote Lecture
Anna Becker
(University of Basel)
Gender in the History of Early Modern Political Thought




Session 1: Women in the History of Political Thought

Serena Ferente (King’s College London)
Metaphor and political language in fifteenth-centry Italy: the wife and the slave

Sylvana Tomaselli (University of Cambridge)
Women and Political Theory in ‘le siècle de la femme’

Chair: John Robertson (University of Cambridge)


Tea Break


Session 2: Feminism, Gender, and Philosophy

Carol Atack (University of Oxford)
Gender and performance in Xenophon’s political thought

Clare Chambers (University of Cambridge)
Feminism and philosophy

Chair: Annabel Brett (University of Cambridge)


Wine reception in the atrium

Balzan-Skinner Fellows

The Balzan-Skinner Lecture in Modern Intellectual History since c.1500

“I don’t think the work would have been as good without the stimulation of an interdisciplinary group of scholars such as CRASSH provides. The chance to share it with CRASSH audiences has been a real boon.”
Dr Joel Isaac (QMUL), Balzan-Skinner Fellow 2010-11

The Faculty of History received  funding for five years from the International Balzan Prize Foundation to establish an annual Lecture in modern intellectual history since c. 1500. The Balzan-Skinner scholar holds a Visiting Fellowship at the University’s Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) for one term during the academic year.

Balzan Skinner Lectures and Symposiums

Dr Hannah Dawson (University of Edinburgh)
Friday, 10 Sep 2010
The First Balzan-Skinner Lecture: Normativity of Nature

Dr Joel Isaac (Queen Mary, University of London)
Thursday, 5 May 2011
The Second Balzan-Skinner Lecture: Radical Translation: Analytic Philosophy in America

Dr Tim Stanton (University of York)
Friday, 5 Oct 2012
The third Balzan-Skinner lecture: John Locke and the Fable of Liberalism

Dr Gabriel Paquette (Johns Hopkins University)
Friday, 26 April 2013
The fourth Balzan-Skinner Lecture: Romantic Liberalism in Southern Europe, c. 1820-1850 

Dr Karuna Mantena (Yale University)
Friday 16 May 2014
The fifth Balzan-Skinner Lecture: Gandhi’s Realism: Means and Ends in Politics


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Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk