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About this website

This website is part of a project, Equality and Superiority in Renaissance and Early Modern Pro-Woman Treatises (the “Equality Project”), directed by Professor Marguerite Deslauriers of the Department of Philosophy at McGill University, and funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The Project took as its inspiration the work of two women who participated in the querelle des femmes, Lucrezia Marinella (1571–1653) and Marie de Gournay (1565–1645), and explores the sources and the influence of their ideas as part of the history of philosophy.


Participants in the querelle des femmes either attacked women or defended them, and although men dominated the discussion, women joined in as early as 1405, when Christine de Pizan published The Book of the City of Ladies. The 15th and 16th century in Italy, and the 17th century in France, are particularly lively and philosophically interesting moments in the querelle.


Main Questions

We are interested primarily in three overarching questions: (i) how is the nature of women represented in these texts, and how is it supposed to differ from the nature of men? (ii) what is the evidence on which authors rely to defend women and argue for their equality with men or — more often — their superiority to men? and (iii) did the claims about nature carry practical implications for women, in particular for their education or political participation?


Our goals with this website are (i) to make available, in searchable formats, early texts in the history of feminist philosophy that have largely been ignored by philosophers, (ii) to provide sufficient information about the authors of these texts so that users may place them in their historical, literary, and philosophical contexts, (iii) to open up new avenues of research on these works through analyses (quantitative as well as conceptual) of the arguments and sources used by our authors.