This essay argues that the underrepresentation of women writers in the institution of early modern literature is an academic symptom of a larger social prejudice against women. It finds an earlier example of a robust academic response to prejudice on the field—a response that reached beyond the field's borders to engage with the social engines driving that prejudice—in the early twentieth-century work of Dr. Carter Woodson to help build the field of African American history. While denying any exact analogy between Woodson's situation and that facing contemporary scholars of Renaissance women's writing, the paper does argue that an effective way forward from the current impasse might be an adaptation of Woodson's explicitly antiracist politics for feminist ends, with scholars combining a consistent political critique of misogyny with consistent efforts to build intellectual community for themselves and to work for the institutional stability that can support it.


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pp. 45-53
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