Edited Collection - Convention and Contravention: Vexing Gender in Nineteenth-Century American Women’s Writing

full name / name of organization: 
Mary Ellen Iatropoulos
contact email: 
maryiatrop@gmail.com

Call for proposals for edited anthology

Convention and Contravention: Vexing Gender in Nineteenth-Century American Women’s Writing

Editor: Mary Ellen Iatropoulos
CFP Deadline: 9/12/14

When existing conditions actively work to suppress women’s expression, how can the female subject assert herself? Performing female selfhood becomes a vexed notion in the context of nineteenth-century American women’s writing, in which women faced “separate spheres” ideology, the cult of domesticity, and other complex and often-contradictory social circumstances necessitating private performance of idealized gender roles as a means towards securing financial survival in the public sphere. A paradox of feminine self-representation emerges; revealing themselves by concealing themselves, even as women work to approximate themselves to idealized, “natural” femininity, part of that performance entails obscuring the labor required to undertake it.

With idealized femininity being both conscious performance and survival strategy, how does the space between depiction of and satire/critique of gender roles manifest in women’s writing from this time? What strategies do women writers employ to problematize idealized femininity and manipulate patriarchal expectations to achieve greater degrees of agency? How, through their literary works, do nineteenth-century American women writers engage the space between performing idealized gender roles and affirming or challenging those roles, to depict the female subject negotiating between real self and role self to navigate the world? This CFP seeks essays investigating the relationship between engaging, endorsing, and repudiating restrictive gender roles in nineteenth-century American women’s literature. Topics for investigating the relationship between engaging, endorsing, and repudiating restrictive gender roles in nineteenth-century American women’s literature may include: the cult of domesticity, the Poetess figure, antebellum aesthetics, literary sentimentality, variations on the “angel at the hearth” trope, etc. Essays focusing on works by specific writers are welcome, as are comparative essays investigating thematic connections throughout a selection of works.

Please send 300-500 word abstracts to Mary Ellen Iatropoulos at maryiatrop@gmail.com by noon on Friday, September 12th, 2014.

Accepted contributors will be informed by October 1st, 2014. First drafts will be due in December, and final drafts will be due in March 2015 with the goal of a Fall 2015 publication date.

Abstract Deadline: 9/12/14

Please include with your abstract: Name, Affiliation, Email address, and Postal address

cfp categories: 
american
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
gender_studies_and_sexuality
journals_and_collections_of_essays
poetry