Legacy’s recent special issue “Women and Early America” (28.2 ), guest-edited by Tamara Harvey, demonstrated the rich diversity of approaches that generate new understandings of women’s cultural production in the Americas. Since that issue appeared, we have sought to extend the inquiry by addressing the status of the study of women and gender in early American studies at academic conferences, where scholars present new work and test out new ideas. We present here five papers from Legacy-sponsored panels at two such conferences in 2013. Papers by Tara Bynum, Ava Chamberlain, Amelia C. Lewis, and Lucia McMahon comprised a roundtable on “Women and Early American Studies” at the Society of Early Americanists Conference in Savannah, Georgia, February 28–March 2; Harvey’s essay was presented as part of a panel on “Redefining Recovery in a Transatlantic Context” at the Transatlantic Women II Conference in Florence, Italy, June 6–9.
Together, these papers explore the challenges and questions facing those seeking to recover and produce scholarship on early women. To what extent have women and gender been incorporated into the field’s dominant paradigms? To what extent do women continue to be excluded, marginalized, or subordinated? What impedes the study of women and gender during the early periods, or what demonstrates its necessity? What insights, methodologies, or theoretical frameworks emerging from the study of early women and gender have the potential to revise, reshape, or sharpen the paradigms constructing our understandings of the broader field? What are the challenges of extending the study of “women’s writing” outward into broader forms of cultural production, non-alphabetic literacies, languages other than English, and regions [End Page 23] outside New England? Does attention to women and gender in the Americas before 1820 have the potential to indicate new directions in the study of women’s writing more generally? These papers represent some of the most exciting work being done in the field, and we hope they will spark still more new research and findings in the years to come. [End Page 24]