Mis-/Well-behaved Women: Setting and Subverting Social Standards (NeMLA 2020)
Setting social guidelines for women in various circles and economic classes has been common practice for centuries: as early as the 13th century and most popular in the 18th, conduct books established standards for righteous noble/rich women of marrying age, and gave their readers guides by which to weed out the spiritually and socially (and financially) destitute. Written by both men and women, these texts encouraged readers to practice a demure nature and tasteful displays of wealth in the interest of attracting potential suitors and keeping themselves in the circles of “important” friends, but these standards were frequently subverted in...rather creative ways.
How have women worked to undermine established etiquette in writing, social demonstration, visual/auditory art, political practice? In what other notable ways have men and women attempted to control, shape or subdue this potentially subversive element? How have women discouraged or encouraged the “misbehavior” of their sisters, and to what end? What has subversion looked like and accomplished? What does it look like today, in the era of “She Persisted” feminist activism?
This panel seeks to dive into the forming and dismantling of social rules for all women based on age, family, rank, and class, as well as their status as wives, mothers, employees, employers, etc…. Papers from all disciplines are encouraged, and should consider the many ways women have promoted, questioned, challenged, or deliberately subverted the established standards of gender- and sex-based etiquette.
NeMLA 2020 will be in Boston, MA on March 5-8, 2020.
Learn more about NeMLA here: https://www.buffalo.edu/nemla/convention.html
Submit abstracts of 300 words by September 30 to Laura Biesiadecki at firstname.lastname@example.org or submit an abstract online through the NeMLA user portal: https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/18317