Whores, Harlots and Housewives: The Postfeminist Eighteenth Century (23 April 2010)

full name / name of organization: 
Ben Brabon / Edge Hill University
contact email: 

Papers are invited for an edited collection of essays entitled 'Whores, Harlots and Housewives: The Postfeminist Eighteenth Century' for consideration by Oxford University Press.

The collection aims to make an original intervention into critical debates on the representation of women (and men) within the Eighteenth Century (c.1660-1830) by adopting the much contested critical lens of postfeminism.

As a concept, postfeminism is marked by its interdiscursivity and intercontextuality, a boundary crosser that in Patricia Mann's words 'bring[s] us to the edge of what we know, and encourages us to go beyond'. A politically impure discourse, postfeminism is both retro- and neo- in its outlook and hence irrevocably post-. These contradictions and tensions at the heart of postfeminism – especially around issues of empowerment and subordination – provide a rich terrain upon which to imagine what a postfeminist Eighteenth Century might look like. Questions for consideration might include, but are not limited to:

- What are the critical implications of 'post-ing' feminism in the Eighteenth Century?
- Is it possible to identify the precursors of 'Girl Power' and 'Chick Lit', as well as 'Do-Me Feminism' and 'Raunch Culture', within the Eighteenth Century?
- What might an eighteenth-century postfeminist woman look like?
- How might postfeminism modify our interpretation of – for instance – Swift's scatological poems?

Within this context, we are interested in re-readings of both canonical and non-canonical texts in the light of postfeminist theories in order to open up new ways of understanding gender identity in the Eighteenth Century. Covering poetry, prose and drama, texts for consideration might include works by Austen, Dacre, Defoe, Goldsmith, Finch, Fowke, Leapor, Pope, Radcliffe, Richardson, and Swift.

Completed essays should be 6000 words (including notes) and will be due for submission by 23 May 2011.

Initially, please send a 300-word abstract along with a 50-word biography by 23 April 2010 to:

Dr Steve Van-Hagen at hagens@edgehill.ac.uk and
Dr Ben Brabon at brabonb@edgehill.ac.uk