CFP: [Cultural-Historical] ACLA 2009 Seminar: 'The Male Empire under the Female Gaze'

full name / name of organization: 
Susmita Roye

Call for Papers
Annual ACLA Conference
March 26-29, 2009
Harvard University

Papers are invited for an ACLA seminar on “The Male Empire under the Female

Imperialism is undeniably a male-oriented and male-dominated affair.
However, the ‘female’ element in the process cannot and should not be
overlooked. The womenfolk made their own contribution â"€ seemingly
insignificant, yet indispensable in reality â"€ to the construction and
consolidation of the Empire. Mary Procida rightly reminds us that the
‘empire may have been masculine, but it certainly was not exclusively male’.

And, many of these women wrote about what they saw and experienced. Women’s
literature in/about the Empire, though often neglected, is considerably
large. In India’s case, Emily Eden records her traveling expeditions, while
Flora Annie Steel narrates her fictional tales colored by her first-hand
experience of Indian life and life in India. Across the colonial divide,
Cornelia Sorabji and Kamala Markandaya speak out how they, in their turn,
view this male enterprise. It perhaps becomes more interesting when male
authors like E. M. Forster and Paul Scott take pains to show the imperial
venture through the eyes of their female protagonists like Adela Quested
and Daphne Manners/Sarah Layton respectively. On the other hand, Charlotte
Brontë’s views of the native in her portrayal of Bertha Mason in the
colonial times and Jean Rhys’ repartee to the stereotype in the
postcolonial world are widely-known by now. Alternatively, postcolonial
Europeans like Marina Warner feel impelled to give more attention to
Sycorax and Miranda in a real strife-torn world, in stark contrast to the
Shakespearean magical island.

Encouraging an interdisciplinary approach, this panel aims at exploring
this ‘female gaze’.

Topics for papers may include, but are not limited to:
* The Empire as seen by women from either side of the colonial divide
* ‘Colonized’ women as seen by ‘colonizer’ women and vice versa
* Female gaze in the writings by male authors
* Empire writes back
* Women’s travel writings
* Postcolonial writings about the Empire
* Nostalgia for the bygone imperial days of empowerment
* Life at Home and out in the Colony
* Missionary endeavors
* Sense of exile and pain of alienation
* Work of white women activists for the welfare of their colored ‘sisters’
* Female ‘Dissenters and Mavericks’
* Femininity and/or feminism in the female gaze
* Politics of canonization with regards to male and female writings of the

Please send a 300-word abstract for 20-minute papers along with a short bio
to Susmita Roye (Department of English, University of Bristol, UK; contact: by 1 November 2008. Successful applicants
will be informed by 15 November 2008.

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Received on Thu Oct 02 2008 - 13:54:30 EDT