CFP: [International] Extended deadline: Gothic Escapes?

full name / name of organization: 
Centre for gender and diversity

Points of Exit: Gothic Escapes? Maastricht University, 19-20 March 2009

- extended deadline: 1 December 2008 -

On Thursday, March 19, and Friday, March 20, 2009, the Centre for Gender
and Diversity,
Maastricht University, the Netherlands, will mark its ten-year
anniversary with a conference
entitled Points of Exit: (Un)conventional Representations of Age,
Parenting, and Sexuality.
The conference aims to examine the potential deconstruction of
conventional scripts of age,
parenting, and sexuality.

One of the five panels is entitled Gothic Escapes? The keynote lecture
for this session will be held by prof Sue Zlosnik (Manchester
Metropolitan University), co-president of the International Gothic
Association. She co-authored several publications on the gothic with
Avril Horner: Landscapes of Desire: Metaphors in Modern Women's Fiction
(1990); Daphne du Maurier: Writing, Identity and the Gothic Imagination
(1998) and Gothic and the Comic Turn (2005), Le Gothic (Palgrave, 2008).

Other confirmed keynote speakers are Prof. Deborah Chambers (Newcastle
University) and Prof. Henry Abelove (Wesleyan University).

For the session Gothic Escapes?, papers are invited that deal with the
following theme:

Gothic fictions have been said to challenge dominant discourses ever
since the late eighteenth
century. Gothic has been labeled as unconventional or plainly deviant, as
dangerous or as
utopian, as transformative or transgressive. Whether gothic
transgressions are perceived as
threatening or as empowering, is likely to depend on your political
However, Chris Baldick & Robert Mighall (2000), among others, have argued
that the gothic
is conservative rather than progressive. Especially on the issue of
female gothic, opinions
have been strongly divided. While some feminists declared female gothic a
progressive form,
others have maintained that gothic plots are even reactionary for women.
Can gothic fictions â€"
famous for their featuring of confining spaces such as prisons, dungeons,
coffins and
labyrinths â€" provide a point of exit of narrative confinement? Do gothic
fictions offer a
possible escape from conventional representations of, for example,
gender, sexuality, family
relations or age?

This panel seeks to revisit the question if and how gothic fictions offer
a way out from
restricting narrative conventions. Can we evaluate this cultural strategy
that we call Gothic
politically, or does escape mean escapism? Does unconventionality
immediately lead to
monstrosity, or are there other options? Is it true that psycho-
analytical perspectives favour
the gothic as transgressive, while more historical/materialist analyses
see gothic as more
conservative? After the many discussions on female gothic, is there still
a productive way of
connecting gothic to feminism, and how should we evaluate the ways
feminism has
appropriated the gothic?

Papers are welcomed on topics from different periods, and different
narrative art forms. They
may either offer a close reading of a particular work, or a more
theoretical contribution on the
issue of the political evaluation of the gothic mode and the narrative
possibilities of this
persistent cultural strategy.

Send in a 500-word abstract and a short bio to
(subject heading:
“Gothic Escapes?”) before December 1, 2008.

We aim at publishing a selection of conference papers in a special issue
of a peer-reviewed

For further information on the Points of Exit conference, see:
With any questions regarding this session, contact Agnes Andeweg at

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Received on Wed Nov 12 2008 - 08:54:06 EST