International Colloquium

Exceptional Women of the 16th Century: Representation, Memory and Forgetfulness

May 21, 2024, 9h00

Amphitheatre III, Faculty of Arts and Humanities - UC >> Registrations are open

Luís de Camões (c. 1524-1580) dedicated a significant part of his work to the creation of female figures, whom he sang in the most diverse guises. Between the image of Leonor going barefoot, the weave of her basquine “whiter than pure snow”, and the face of the “blackness of love” offered by Bárbara, the poet made famous countless characters who dispute the fame of “matchless men”. These figurations correspond to idealisations dictated by the aesthetic-literary principles of the time, as well as their historically situated social imagery. In our contemporary times, we recognise that we are dealing with a figuration “of woman” unrelated to the women of our time, who are plural and diverse in their materiality.

In Portugal, as in other countries, the effort to reclaim women for history has been robust in recent decades: today, we know many women who were previously forgotten and hidden from our gaze. From our place in the present, in the year that marks the 500th anniversary of his birth, we believe that Camões’ poetry invites us to debate what we know today about the women who distinguished themselves in the 16th century.

This colloquium brings together specialists in history, literature, and art history and aims to reflect on the women of the 16th century who have since been reclaimed, focussing on how they came to prominence, any testimonies left behind, the figurations that have been made of them by the arts and historiography, and the knowledge we currently have about them. The aim is also to reflect on research strategies that contribute to the recovery of female figures in various areas of knowledge, thus promoting an interdisciplinary dialogue that allows for the creation of broader and more robust knowledge.
Admission is free: everyone is welcome.

Registration is compulsory by email: or by filling in the following form:

Interuniversity Centre for Camonian Studies (University of Coimbra)
Doctoral Programme in Feminist Studies (Faculty of Arts and Humanities and Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra)

Research Group Reescrever o Século XVI (CNPq/University of São Paulo)