UA Little Rock professor organizes feminist panels on the early modern period

January 8-14, 2018

By Angelita Faller


A University of Arkansas at Little Rock professor is making it her mission to revive interest in research of the early modern period for a national women’s studies conference.


Kris McAbee, associate professor of English, organized two panels for the National Women’s Studies Association conference held Nov. 16-19 in Baltimore.


As a member of the conference’s Early Modern Women Interest Group, McAbee said that interest has been waning in the group. To get the group back on track, McAbee and fellow members organized two panels they hoped would tempt feminist researchers back to the area. The early modern period runs from around 1,500 to 1,800 A.D.


“It’s been latent the last few years, so I spoke with some colleagues about trying to bring some life back to that group,” she said. “The way we started was to put together two interdisciplinary panels. Our panels were well placed to look at, how in the early modern period, a period so historically removed from our own, we still have examples of women resisting oppression.”


The first panel, “Early Modern Nasty Women: Shrews, Whores, and the Legacy of Resistance,” featured research on women living in authoritarian regimes in the 17th century who participated in acts of resistance against oppression.


The second panel, “Transgressive Sexualities in Early Modern Capitalist, Carceral, and Colonizing States,” featured research exploring how colonialism and capitalism were used to subjugate women. The panel covered early modern period examples of anorexia, cross dressing, imprisonment, and witch hunts.


McAbee, who is already organizing panels for next year’s conference, also aims to publish these papers as articles in a special edition of an academic journal.