The Contest for KnowledgeDebates over Women's Learning in Eighteenth-Century Italy

The Contest for KnowledgeDebates over Women's Learning in Eighteenth-Century Italy

Maria Gaetana Agnesi

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226010540

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

At a time when women were generally excluded from scholarly discourse in the intellectual centers of Europe, four extraordinary female letterate proved their parity as they lectured in prominent scientific and literary academies and published in respected journals. During the Italian Enlightenment, Maria Gaetana Agnesi, Giuseppa Eleonora Barbapiccola, Diamante Medaglia Faini, and Aretafila Savini de' Rossi were afforded unprecedented deference in academic debates and epitomized the increasing ability of women to influence public discourse. This book reveals how these four women used the methods and themes of their male counterparts to add their voices to the vigorous and prolific debate over the education of women during the eighteenth century. In the texts gathered here, the women discuss the issues they themselves thought most urgent for the equality of women in Italian society specifically and in European culture more broadly.