Searching for Authority: Rebellious Readers in Early Modern Texts (1640-1740) (Abstracts due 9/30/2012; NeMLA: March 21-24 2013)

full name / name of organization: 
North East Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
contact email: 
Fabriziogarciaabstracts@gmail.com

Searching for Authority: Rebellious Readers in Early Modern Texts (1640-1740)

44th Annual Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
March 21-24, 2013
Boston, Massachusetts
Host Institution: Tufts University

At a glance, reading may appear to be a passive activity; the solitary reader takes in the words on the page and is in some sense restricted by the scope of whatever is in the text. Because reading is in many ways instructional and can be used to educate or dictate to the reader, in early modern England those in power often used texts to control those classified as inferior or other, whether in the form of the complete denial of literacy or restrictions on what can and cannot be read. But as Edith Snook explains in her study of early modern women’s literacy, “reading was not necessarily circumscribed by social expectations that it would be a religious, domestic, chaste, trivial, or passive activity” (5). In women’s writings (as well as writing by and about other subordinates, such as servants or slaves), quotations, allusions, descriptions of characters’ reading, and representations of different types of reading, show the myriad of ways in which reading and literacy were utilized in the period to grapple with questions of power and to redefine and renegotiate the position of the reader and world in which the reader lived. In these texts reading leads to the stimulation of the reader’s imagination, expansion of the mind, and overall empowerment, highlighting the subversive potential of literacy and illustrating an anxiety about the effects of reading. This panel will explore how representations of literal acts of reading, figurative reading such as the reading of situations or people, and the allusions to things read impact power structures. We will address questions such as: how is reading represented in texts? What are the dangers of reading? What is the connection between reading, identity, and power? Does reading empower or control the person reading? How is reading material re-appropriated, redefined, or utilized? How does reading in the text shape the text and/or the world in which the reader exists? Send 250 word proposals and a brief CV to Andrea Fabrizio and Ruth Garcia at Fabriziogarciaabstracts@gmail.com

Deadline for Abstracts: September 30, 2012
Please include with your abstract:
Name and Affiliation
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A/V requirements (if any; $10 handling fee with registration)

The 2013 NeMLA convention continues the Association's tradition of sharing innovative scholarship in an engaging and generative location. The 44th annual event will be held in historic Boston, Massachusetts, a city known for its national and maritime history, academic facilities and collections, vibrant art, theatre, and food scenes, and blend of architecture. The Convention, located centrally near Boston Commons and the Theatre District at the Hyatt Regency, will include keynote and guest speakers, literary readings, film screenings, tours and workshops.

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. http://www.nemla.org/convention/2013/cfp.html

cfp categories: 
eighteenth_century
interdisciplinary