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University of Iowa News Release

April 22, 2005

Visiting Scholar To Speak On Women's Roles In French Revolution April 28

More than two centuries ago, the cry for liberty and fraternity on the streets of Paris launched a series of revolutions across Europe. On Thursday, April 28, Joan Landes, Ferree Professor of Early Modern History and Women's Studies at the Pennsylvania State University, will discuss the dramatic roles women, men and their visual images -- from paintings to placards to caricatures -- played in the French Revolution.

Her presentation, "Possessing la Patria: Gender Politics in French Revolutionary Visual Culture," will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the third-floor Gerber Lounge of the English-Philosophy Building on the University of Iowa campus. It is free and open to the public.

This is the third in a series of University of Iowa lectures on the topic "Global History through the Eyes of the Artist: War and Revolution in the 18th and 19th Centuries." The series is hosted by the Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Interdisciplinary Colloquium, a part of UI International Programs.

Landes is a world-renowned historian who is a current distinguished scholar at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. She is a past president of the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies and the author of such ground-breaking books as "Visualizing The Nation: Gender, Representation, and Revolution in Eighteenth-Century France" (Cornell University Press, 2001) and "Women and the Public Sphere in the Age of the French Revolution" (Cornell University Press, 1988). She is also an editor or co-editor of several books, including "Monstrous Bodies/Political Monstrosities in Early Modern Europe" (Cornell University Press, 2004) and "Feminism, the Public and the Private"  (Oxford University Press, 1998). During her fellowship year, she is writing a book titled "Artificial Life in Eighteenth-Century France."

"While we often associate wars and rebellions with men -- from generals to foot soldiers -- Landes puts women and female imagery back in the picture of France's past," said Teresa Mangum, associate professor of English in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and colloquium director. "Her work tells a fascinating story of pervasive French revolutionary propaganda of female allegories of liberty, justice and the republic."

Mangum added that Landes argues that this propaganda depicted the nation almost as an enticing female body, a body that might inspire even hesitant revolutionaries to fight for a more democratic France. At the same time, eighteenth-century French women themselves took to the streets, demanding that they be included in the vision of freedom driving the Revolution.

Landes has held nearly every major fellowship in the humanities from a National Endowment in the Humanities award to a Guggenheim. She also serves on the editorial boards of leading journals in her field such as "Gender and History" and "Eighteenth-Century Studies."

The Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Interdisciplinary Colloquium is part of UI International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects, and services. Organized under the associate provost for academic programs and dean for international programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.

For more information or special accommodations to attend this lecture, contact Teresa Mangum at 319-335-0323.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026,; Program: Teresa Mangum, 319-335-0323,