Profs & Pints: Women and the French Revolution

By Profs and Pints (other events)

Monday, September 13 2021 6:00 PM 8:30 PM EST

Profs and Pints presents: “Women and the French Revolution,” a look at feminism's role and rise in France’s transformative conflict, with Amy Leonard, associate professor of history at Georgetown University.

[Under current District of Columbia regulations attendees will be required to wear a mask except while eating or drinking. The Bier Baron also is requiring anyone seeking to enter to provide proof of a Covid-19 vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test from within the previous 72 hours. It also will be requiring ticketed event attendees to purchase a minimum of two items, which can be food or beverages, including soft drinks.]

Historians generally trace the beginnings of modern feminism to the French Revolution, when activists inspired by the calls for liberty and equality pushed also for the inclusion of women. Come learn in detail how that conflict was shaped by women and feminism and would influence feminist thought in the centuries to come.

We’ll start by tracing the early stirrings and evolution of feminist thought, looking at early proto-feminist Renaissance writers such as Christine de Pizan and the querelle des femmes (“The Woman Question”), the literary debate about the status of women that began about 1500. Then we’ll focus on the French Revolution as a watershed event, not only for women and feminism but for political and social rights in general.

Turning our attention to the streets and barricades, we’ll look at Charlotte Corday, who murdered Revolutionary leader Jean-Paul Marat because she felt he was becoming too radical, and the march on Versailles by lower-class women who dragged the king and queen back to Paris for trial. On a loftier level, we’ll look at the activists, such as Mary Wollstonecraft and the Marquis de Condorcet, who spoke directly and eloquently about the political, social, end economic enfranchisement of women.  Among them, Olympe de Gouges responded to the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man with her own 1791 Declaration of the Rights of Woman, where she asked: “Man, are you capable of being fair? A woman is asking: at least you will allow her that right. Tell me? What gave you the sovereign right to oppress my sex?”

We’ll also look female-run salons and “Enlightened” sexism, the sexualization and demonization of Marie Antoinette, and the role of race, class, gender, and religion in determining equality and liberty. Viva las education!  (Advance tickets: $12 plus sales tax and vendor fees. Doors: $15, or $13 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later. Please allow yourself time to place any orders and get seated and settled in.)