Modernist Masochisms (MSA 12: 11/10/2010-11/14/2010)

full name / name of organization: 
Jennifer Mitchell / City University of New York
contact email: 
mitchell.jen@gmail.com

Since Richard von Krafft-Ebing’s first clinical naming of “masochism” as a perversion located in men in 1890, masochisms and masochists have been approached through a variety of lenses: scientific, sexological, artistic, literary, psychiatric, and dramatic. Importantly, the most prolific period regarding the circulation of ideas and theories about masochism is the same period that produced the modernist text.

This panel seeks to explore the intersections between theories of masochism and literature at this critical historical juncture. What might this examination of representations of masochism during this period reveal about modernist notions of love, lust, desire, sexuality, and relationships? What does the idea of a masochistic modernist text do to our scholarly notions of modernism and masochism? How might we define modernist masochisms as unique, telling, or vital in a critical context?

Possible topics of inquiry might include:
Adherences to masochistic norms
Deviations from contemporaneous diagnoses of perversions
New theories of masochism surfacing in literature
Representations of alternative masochistic behavior
Connections between masochism and emotion
Masochism and marriage, adultery, family ties
Gender and masochism
Modernist literature and sexology
The modernist relationship between sadism and masochism
Uncovering masochistic models and archetypes

Please send 300-word abstracts and a brief CV to Jennifer Mitchell at mitchell.jen@gmail.com by April 28th, 2010.

cfp categories: 
american
childrens_literature
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
ethnicity_and_national_identity
gender_studies_and_sexuality
interdisciplinary
poetry
popular_culture
theory
twentieth_century_and_beyond