Call for Papers: “Shed Walls, Don’t Build Them”: Developing Critical Menstruation Studies

deadline for submissions: 
January 17, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Maria Rovito / Penn State University
contact email: 


Call for abstract proposals: American Studies Association (ASA) 2020 conference in Baltimore, MD, November 12-15, 2020.

Many activists, artists, and scholars in recent years are critically investigating the influences of menstruation and bleeding in literature, culture, the arts, medicine, technology, and media, among others. From the annual Menstrual Hygiene Day promoting education on menstruation in the Global South, to the artist Sarah Levy creating a portrait of President Donald Trump out of her menstrual blood, to the development of Thinx period-proof underwear, menstruation is challenging how we think about art, activism, and the cultural and medical constructions of the body. Critical menstruation studies, then, as a mechanism of resistance and revolt within and outside of the academy, must theorize menstruation, menstrual blood, menstrual products, and menstruating bodies within an intersectional perspective and social justice framework. Papers submitted to this panel might theorize: menstruation and embodiment; menstruation and sex; using menstrual blood in art and activist work; menstruation in queer, transgender, and nonbinary folx; the role of slavery and colonialism in gynecology and menstruation; the medicalization of menstruation; the experience of menstruation for indigenous folx and people of color; literary representations of menstruation and the “ugliness” of menstruation, among others. Please submit a 300-word abstract and brief biographical statement to Maria Rovito at mrr354@psu.edu by January 17, 2020.

This panel will be proposed to the American Studies Association for the 2020 conference in Baltimore, MD.