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NEWW workshop "Going European?"

4-5 April 2008
O.G.C., Utrecht

During this two-day workshop, we have discussed a provisional version of a global research programme for our future collaborative project. From an amended and expanded version of this text, entitled "Going European?", a concrete research proposal could be derived, in response to a specific “call for projects”.

A certain number of concrete decisions have been taken during these two days.


  • Vanda Anastacio

Associate Professor in the Romance Philology Department, Faculty of Letters of Universidade de Lisboa

  • Els Andringa

Associate professor of Comparative Literature at Utrecht University (Dept. of Foreign Languages)

  • Norbert Bachleitner

Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Vienna

  • Faith E. Beasley

Associate Professor of French, Dartmouth College, Hanover New Hampshire

  • Philiep Bossier

Professor of Historical Romance Literature and Culture, University of Groningen

  • Petra Broomans

Associate Professor of Scandinavian Languages and Cultures at the University of Groningen

  • Gillian Dow

Chawton Post-Doctoral research Fellow, University of Southampton, School of Humanities / English

  • Agnese Fidecaro

Coordinator of the gender studies program, Faculté des lettres, Université de Genève, Dépt. de langue et de littérature françaises et latines médiévales

  • Anke Gilleir

Catholic University Leuven

  • Madeleine Jeay

Professor of French literature at McMaster University, Toronto

  • Alicia C. Montoya

University of Groningen

  • Amelia Sanz

Associate professor at the French Department of the Universidad Complutense

  • Ina Schabert

Professor (em.) of English literature at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

  • Catriona Seth

Professor of 18th-century French literature at the University of Nancy II

  • Lieselotte Steinbrügge

Professor of Romance Philology at Ruhr-Universität Bochum

  • Ursula Stohler

Academic assistant of Didactics at the Faculty of Letters, University of Bern

  • Anne van Buul

MA in Dutch literature; finishing MA Literary Studies; Radboud University Nijmegen

  • Suzan van Dijk

Utrecht University

  • Lisa Vollendorf

Associate professor of Spanish at California State University, Long Beach

  • Kerstin Wiedemann

Assistant professor of German at the Department of foreign languages and literatures of the University of Nancy II

The aim of this meeting, held in Utrecht 4 and 5 April 2008, was to discuss our plans for an international collaborative research project in European women’s literary history, to be realized within the online infrastructure, which has been developed over the course of the preceding years. In particular we wanted:

  • to hear the opinions of prominent scholars working in our fields - women’s literary and cultural history, translation, press and book history, gender studies – on our plans and on the possibilities and limitations of the digital tools we are using;
  • to discuss the desirability as well as the feasibility of this large-scale approach, which should include the whole of Europe (including the colonies) and the period before 1900.

One of the important outcomes is this "mission statement", formulated by Agnese Fidecaro:

NEWW 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
a) makes us understand the historical literary field[s]
b) redefines existing concepts of literary history and comparative literature such as authorship, genre, the literary, the literary field, periodisation, etc.
c) questions 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.

SvD, July 2009

  • Conferences > NEWW international conferences > Utrecht 2008

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