Gendered Touch

Women, Men, and Knowledge-making in Early Modern Europe


This book aims at exploring how practical expertise, textual learning, and the gendered bodies intersected with the production of knowledge in early modern Europe. Gendered touch looks at both how representations of gendered bodies contributed to the production of knowledge, and at how practice itself was gendered. By exploring new archival material and by reading anew printed sources, the book inquiries about how knowledge was produced, translated, appropriated, and transmitted among different kinds of actors – both women and men – such as craftspeople, physicians, alchemists, apothecaries, music theorists, natural philosophers, and natural historians.

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Francesca Antonelli holds a Phd in History of Science at the University of Bologna and the EHESS, Paris. She is currently Postdoc fellow at the University of Bologna.

Antonella Romano is directrice d’études at the EHESS, Paris.

Paolo Savoia is Assistant Professor of the History of Science at the University of Bologna.
List of Figures
Notes on Contributors

Introduction: Gender, History, and Science in Early Modern Europe
Francesca Antonelli and Paolo Savoia

Part 1: The Gendered Construction of Textual Traditions: The Case of Maria the Alchemist

1 Maria the Alchemist and Her Famous Heated Bath in the Arabo-Islamic Tradition
Lucia Raggetti

2 Maria’s Practica in Early Modern Alchemy
Matteo Martelli

Part 2: Domestic and Apothecary Workshops: Food and Pharmacy in the Seventeenth Century

3 Cheese-Making and Knowledge-Making: Women’s Expertise and Men’s Explanation
Paolo Savoia

4 Making Marmalade and Conserving Fruit within the Architecture of Seventeenth-Century Courtly Entertainment
Juliet Claxton

5 Women in Secrets: Medical Inventions between Household, Guilds and Small Scale-Economy
Sabrina Minuzzi

Part 3: Eighteenth-century Spaces of Gendered Knowledge

6 The “Anonymous Neapolitan”: Faustina Pignatelli and the Bologna Academy of Sciences
Paula Findlen

7 Note-taking and Self-promotion: Marie-Anne Paulze-Lavoisier as a Secrétaire (1772–1792)
Francesca Antonelli

8 Musical Bodies: Materiality, Gender, and Knowledge in Musical Performance in 18th-century France
Amparo Fontaine


On Hands, Feelings, and a Nose: Bodies Beyond Gender as Transdisciplinary Tools in Science
Paola Govoni

Scholars and graduate students of history of science, technology and medicine, early modern history, European history, cultural history, music history, food history, and gender studies; libraries.
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