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Call for Papers: Women and Property in the long Eighteenth Century

Please note: the Call for Papers is now closed.

We warmly invite proposals for 20 minute presentations for this multidisciplinary workshop including an abstract of up to 300 words by the 17th of March. In the absence of a formal C18 Midlands Symposium this year, we particularly welcome proposals for papers from Midlands-based scholars.

Please send proposals to the conference organiser, Dr. Rita J. Dashwood, at

The anonymous author of The Hardships of English Laws in Relation to Wives complained in 1735 about the injustice of English laws with regards to women’s property rights, especially when compared to other European countries: “I have been informed by Persons of great Integrity, who have long resided in Portugal … that a Wife in Portugal if she brought never a Farthing, has Power to dispose of half her Husband’s Estate by Will; whereas a Woman by our Law alienates all her own Property so entirely by Marriage, that if she brought an hundred thousand Pounds in Money, she cannot bequeath one single Penny.” The Married Women’s Property Act of 1882 was the watershed moment in which married women’s property rights finally became law. Women, however, had been establishing powerful relationships towards property long before the change in the law.

These relationships formed by women towards property, both portable and non-portable, will form the focus of this multidisciplinary workshop. By joining together speakers from a wide range of disciplines, including but not limited to, Literature, History and Human Geographies, this event hopes to generate a productive discussion on the ways in which these relationships have been constructed in both fictional and non-fictional texts.

Eighteenth century mezzotint lady_of_the_manor.jpg