UPDATE: Female Rebellion in Young Adult Dystopian Fiction
Female Rebellion in Young Adult Dystopian Fiction
In the last decade, stories of dystopian societies have become increasingly prevalent in young adult fiction, and almost all question young people's places within such societies. Works such as Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games, Lauren Oliver's Delirium, Ally Condi's Matched, Veronica Roth's Divergent, and Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone are particularly concerned with how their adolescent female protagonists' navigation of social mores and structures give them virtually no control over the outcome of their lives. For example, in The Hunger Games Trilogy, Katniss Everdeen has learned from growing up in Panem, a country that willingly sacrifices its children to maintain control of their parents, that masking emotion is key to survival. Other protagonists, such as Matched's Cassia and Delirium's Lena, directly confront experiences of love and desire in societies that have eradicated such feelings.
While these female protagonists challenge the audience's preconceptions of what it means to be a young woman--someone who is preoccupied with consumer culture, dating dilemmas, and high school cliques--the use of the dystopian genre raises the stakes of adolescent struggles regarding identity, agency, and community. These authors specifically place female protagonists in settings where they must rebel against society to take any control over their own lives and to improve the societies in which they live. Thus, through the realm of dystopian fiction, these authors argue that rebellion against authority allows young women to defy both social and gender expectations in order to become active agents in their own lives, rather than being passive recipients of social mores.
This proposed anthology seeks papers that consider how female protagonists are represented in contemporary young adult dystopian fiction. How are the authors of young adult dystopian fiction consciously (or unconsciously) reinforcing or challenging stereotypical characterizations of female protagonists?
Topics may include, but are not limited to:
•young women as rebels, leaders, or instigators
•young women as the head of the family
•war and its impact on young women
•young women who reject/question socially-constructed feminine virtues
•young women who challenge what it means to be a young women in their individual societies
•role of environment and circumstance in YA dystopian fiction
•claiming female agency in a dystopian society
•female protagonists in YA dystopians compared to female protagonists in more conventional YA novels (i.e., Gossip Girl or The It Girl)
•adolescent female rebellion in YA fiction
We are currently seeking a book contract for this anthology. Please submit a 500-word abstract and a brief CV by May 1, 2012 to: Sara K. Day, Miranda Green-Barteet, and Amy L. Montz at firstname.lastname@example.org.