CFP: [Gender Studies] Feminist Studies of Age: The Politics of Naming (2/1/09; NWSA 11/12/09-11/15/09)

full name / name of organization: 
Erin Gentry Lamb
contact email: 

Feminist Studies of Age: The Politics of Naming

National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA)
Atlanta, GA
November 12-15, 2009
For more conference details, see
Abstract deadline: February 1, 2009

In the decades since Women’s Studies has been institutionalized as a field
of study, many scholars have suggestedâ€"for a variety of political
reasonsâ€"other ways to name the work they do: feminist studies, gender
studies, etc. Feminist scholars who explore the social, cultural and
political dimensions of age also face a dilemma in naming the work they do.
 The latin root gérōn- literally makes “Gerontology” the “study of old
men,” replicating the patriarchal biases Women’s Studies works to overturn.
 So what do we name ourselves and why? Critical Gerontology? Feminist
Gerontology? Aging Studies? In Aged by Culture, Margarette Gulette argues
passionately for the appellation “Age Studies,” calling attention to the
need to study age throughout the life course. Roberta Maierhofer has
coined the term “anocriticism” as a name under which to blend the study of
age and other intersectional identity categories. In Learning to Be Old,
Margaret Cruikshank suggests the name “Gerastology,” indicating the study
of old women from a feminist perspective.

For this panel, we seek papers that address the ways that feminist theory
and praxis have informed these nominal debates and the history of the
critical study of age. Possible themes for papers might include, but are
not limited to:

• an exploration of the political and institutional alignments that lie
behind the choices of names for the study of age
• tensions between the biological and the cultural in theorizing age
• how feminist theories have helped to denaturalize the binaries
younger/older, and youth/age; or how the category of the “natural” has been
invoked in both traditional and critical studies of age
• how the choice of name for the field might impact the institutional
uptake of the study of age, as well as its relationship to Women’s Studies

Send 250-word abstracts or full papers by February 1, 2009. Please include
your full name, institutional affiliation (if applicable), mailing address,
and email address in the proposal. Email submissions strongly preferred.
(If you cannot submit via email for some reason, please contact the
moderator below.)

Erin Gentry Lamb
Department of English
Duke University
Box 90017
Durham, NC 27708

 From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List
             more information at
Received on Thu Jan 08 2009 - 23:29:01 EST