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NEWW Mission Statement

NEWW (New approaches to European Women’s Writing) is an international network of scholars committed to documenting facts of reception and cultural transfer that throw light on the position of women in the European literary field[s] before 1900. Reception data are collected and made available in the database WomenWriters.

The objectives of the network are twofold:


  • To promote the collecting of reception data concerning women writers in all European countries (colonies included) and to organise their large-scale stockage in the database WomenWriters.
  • To find the appropriate funding for the continuation and reinforcement of the database.
  • To develop research, teaching and publishing projects that organise, employ and interpret the data collected.
  • To promote the use of the database in research and teaching.
  • To develop innovative methodological and theoretical approaches to literary research that contribute to an understanding of the ways in which digital technologies modify research practice in the Humanities.


  • To foster and support collaborative projects that concern the literary history of women in Europe and that help move it into the mainstream of literary teaching and research.
  • To develop research projects that help understand the dynamics of reading, cultural transfer and networking in which women were involved.
  • To understand in particular how the study of such dynamics
    • make us understand the historical literary field[s],
    • redefine existing concepts of literary history and comparative literature such as authorship, genre, the literary, the literary field, periodisation, etc.,
    • question the hierarchies of "high" versus "low" culture, aesthetic versus documentary value, centre versus periphery, that shape our view of the field of literature and literary practice.
  • To reinforce the exchanges and collaborations between the field of women’s literary history and other disciplines that help redefine the practice of literary history, such as the history of the book, sociology of literature, gender studies, cultural studies and postcolonial studies.
  • To create a pool of experts that will also help other scholars develop teaching and research projects concerning the literary history of women, that will evaluate such projects and counsel public institutions and funding entities in this matter.

Agnese Fidecaro, April 2008

This Mission Statement has formed/forms the basis for the European COST Action IS0901 "Women Writers in History" (2009-2013).

Colleagues or young researchers who want to join these collaborations (NEWW and/or COST-WWIH) are asked to contact Suzan van Dijk.

SvD July 2010

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