Transatlantic Gender-Crossings: Masquerade, Transvestitisms & the Carnivalesque / NeMLA, March 15-18, 2012, Rochester, NY

full name / name of organization: 
Anita Duneer / Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
contact email: 

This panel seeks papers on gender-crossings in fiction and drama by authors on both sides of the Atlantic. Topics might include a variety of literary and performative crossings, which transgress and re-imagine gender roles, or challenge the notion of discrete binaries of gender and sexuality. Of particular interest are papers that explore the ways in which literary masquerades, transvestitisms, and carnivalesque versions of gender or sexual identity intersect with issues of race, class, and national identity.

Mikhael Bakhtin sees the carnivalesque performance itself as a "temporary liberation from the prevailing truth and from the established order; it mark[s] the suspension of all hierarchical rank, privileges, norms, and prohibitions." For Judith Butler, all gender is performative, but she distinguishes between the "punitive and regulatory social conventions" at stake for "doing gender wrong" in the real world and the socially acceptable gendered act in a stage performance. In the real world, with "no theatrical conventions to delimit the purely imaginary character of the act . . . there is no presumption that the act is distinct from a reality." In what ways is a carnivalesque performance an expression of real identities or desires, and in what ways is it an expression of the imagination? In what ways does masquerade or transvestitism allow the performer to merge real and imaginary identities? Proposals on American, British, or Caribbean literatures from the long eighteenth-century to the present will be considered.

Deadline for proposals: September 30, 2011

Please submit a 250-300 word abstract to Anita Duneer at

Please include with your abstract:

Name and Affiliation
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A/V requirements ($10 handling fee with registration per person; two person per panel minimum for Media Projector)

The 43rd Annual Convention will feature approximately 350 sessions, as well as dynamic speakers and cultural events. For the complete Call for Papers for the 2012 convention, visit

Interested participants may submit abstracts to more than one NeMLA session; however, panelists can only present one paper (panel or seminar). Convention participants may present a paper at a panel and also present at a creative session or participate in a roundtable. Do not accept a slot if you may cancel to present on another session.