CFP: [20th] Points of Exit: Gothic Escapes?

full name / name of organization: 
Centre for Gender and Diversity

Points of Exit: Gothic Escapes?

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.

For one of the panels, entitled Gothic Escapes?, we invite papers 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 position.
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 November 1, 2008.

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

For further information on the Points of Exit conference, see:

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Received on Wed Oct 01 2008 - 05:30:23 EDT