CFP: Feminist Witchcraft in Literature, Film and Social Movements (9/15/06; NEMLA, 3/1/07-3/4/07)
Call for Papers
38th Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
March 1-4, 2007
Deadline: September 15, 2006
Panel: Feminist Witchcraft in Literature, Film and Social Movements
This panel welcomes papers from all disciplines that address feminist
reappropriation and reinterpretation of the witch in literature, film, and
social movements. It is known that second-wave feminists self-consciously
choose the negative term "witch" as their identification figure. In
Gyn/ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism (1978), Mary Daly argues that
the hag is a role model. In 1968, WITCH, acronym for Women's International
Conspiracy from Hell, an offshoot of NYRW (New York Radical Women) was founded.
In France, Sorcières is the title of a feminist journal (1976) edited by
Xaviere Gauthier, who believes that witches have the desirable qualities
countering what phallologocentrism tries to make women believe of themselves.
In West Germany, feminist self-portrayal as witches ranges from Walpurgis Night
demonstrations on the eve of May Day to Witches' exhibitions, to articles and
novels about witches, such as those that appear in the West German feminist
magazine Emma (1977). The frequent appearance of witches in GDR (German
Democratic Republic) women's writing from the 1970s and 1980s indicate a shared
recognition in the potential of the figure of the witch for the feminist cause.
The positive rendition of witches owes much to Jacob Grimm's revolutionary
effort to redeem the image of 'the witch'. In his Teutonic Mythology, Grimm
observes deterioration in the image of the witch after the Christianization of
Europe. In Jules Michelet's La Sorcière, the witch is narrated as the product
of extreme ecclasiastical and feudal suppression; witchcraft/Satanism is
construed as secret worship of overthrown gods and means of resistance.
Catherine Clément's article "The Guilty One" in the book The Newly Born Woman,
co-authored with Hélène Cixous, opens another insight on the Sorceress.
Critiqueing Freud's theory on hysteria and on infantile sexuality, she sees
parallel between the Sorceress and the hysteric. However, the use of the witch
as a feminist double is also questioned, for example, by Diane Purkiss in her
book The Witch in History: Early Modern and Twentieth-Century Representations
Papers address feminism in general, cultural imagination of the witch, etc, are
also welcome. Please send an abstract of 500-800 words to Qinna Shen
(qinna.shen_at_yale.edu) by September 15, 2006. Please include with your abstract:
Name and Affiliation
A/V requirements (if any)
For the complete Call for Papers for the 2007 Convention, please visit:
www.nemla.org. Interested participants may submit abstracts to more than one
NeMLA panel; however panelists can only present one paper. Convention
participants may present at a paper session panel and also present at a
creative session or participate in a roundtable.
Germanic Languages and Literatures
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or write Jennifer Higginbotham: higginbj_at_english.upenn.edu
Received on Sat May 27 2006 - 13:27:36 EDT