Periodic Reporting for period 1 - WALCHEMY (Early Modern Women and Alchemy, 1550-1700)
Periodo di rendicontazione: 2019-04-01 al 2021-03-31
The principal objective of WALCHEMY was to produce the single-authored monograph: 'Women Writers and Alchemy in Early Modern Britain'. During the Renaissance, alchemy referred to the craft of chemical transmutation. Scholars have demonstrated that the invention and flourishing of printing during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries facilitated the wide dissemination of alchemical knowledge in Europe. Whilst Renaissance male authors’ use of alchemical language is well known, women writer’s appropriation of chemical discourse is often overlooked. This monograph proposes that a vibrant female alchemical literary culture developed in early modern Britain in which women writers manipulated alchemical discourse to foreground the transformative physical, spiritual and intellectual agency of the female chemical practitioner. This monograph is important because it uncovers a previously unrecognized female-authored chemical culture and in so doing challenges the assumption that scientific discourses and traditions are exclusively male. The full manuscript of this monograph has been completed and is currently being prepared for peer review with Cambridge University Press.
The Forum of essays on ‘Women and Alchemy in Early Modern Europe’ (edited by the Fellow and published in the spring 2021 issue of ‘Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal’), has pushed the scholarship on women’s involvement in the history of science further by identifying an early modern pan-European female chemical culture.
The Fellow’s public lecture on ‘Alchemical Literature, the Elements and Gender’ (which was delivered via Zoom on 17 February 2021) introduced a non-specialist audience to the history of early modern women alchemists. This lecture was advertised on Twitter (via @RECIRC_) and Instagram (via ASV Prometheus) and brought the topic of women in the history of chemistry to a wide, non-academic audience.