CFP for ALA, 2018: Witches and “Nasty Women”: Unruly Tongues in American Literature

deadline for submissions: 
December 30, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Elif Armbruster, Suffolk University
contact email: 

CALL FOR PAPERS: FOR A PANEL at the American Literature Association, San Francisco, CA, May 24-27, 2018 

Witches and “Nasty Women”: Unruly Tongues in American Literature

This panel seeks papers which explore the concept of the “nasty woman” and/or the “witch” as a proto-feminist in American literature. As Martha Cutter has argued, “an unruly tongue” becomes symbolic of an “unruly identity that challenges a woman’s place within […] stereotypes of femininity and structures of patriarchal authority.” Nowhere does this seem more obvious than in the current socio-political environment. And yet, for centuries in the United States, women have been punished, vilified, or marginalized for being outspoken. How do these types of women—from witches in the 17th century to last year’s “nasty woman” type—appear in our national literature? How do authors from the period of colonization to the present day illustrate “unruly women”—women who in Cutter’s words, might be said to evolve their own discourse to counteract the patriarchy?

Please send 250 word abstracts along with a short CV (1-2 pages) to Elif Armbruster at, by December 30, 2017.  Please be sure to note ALA paper proposal in your subject line.