CFP: Women Writing Rape: Literary and Theoretical Narratives of Sexual Violence (UK) (3/21/07; 4/28/07)

full name / name of organization: 
Zoe Brigley
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Women Writing Rape: Literary and Theoretical Narratives of Sexual Violence

A Half-Day Symposium at the University of Warwick ~ Saturday 28th April 2007

Funded and Organised by the Feminist & Women's Studies Association (FWSA)
Featuring a Keynote Speech by: Dr. Ananya Jahanara Kabir, University of Leeds

This symposium proposes to bring together academics with an interest
in feminism and gender studies across a variety of fields, including
Literary Studies, History, Sociology, Legal Studies, and Creative
Writing. The central aim is to consider how rape is theorised in
contemporary feminism. The symposium will encourage dialogue between
literary narratives of rape and theoretical aspects of feminist
debates about sexual violence.

In her 2002 article, 'Toward a New Feminist Theory of Rape', Corinne
M. Mardorossian argues that for British and American feminisms,
'[r]ape has become academia's undertheorized and apparently
untheorizable issue'. Mardorossian asks why there is such 'stagnation
in the theorizing of sexual violence precisely at a time when the body
is so high on the feminist scholars' list of priorities' and she seeks
to understand this phenomenon. Mardorossian demands an alternative
feminist theory that addresses these problems i.e. that 'does not
accept existing premises and established "truths" but problematizes
them by asking alternative questions and offering different
conceptions'. However, some feminists have criticised Mardorossian's
suggestions for a solution at the end of her article, because they are
rooted in challenging representations rather than in detailed
sociological research. Mardorossian demands that feminists 'resist the
facile opposition between passivity and agency'. She concludes that
ultimately feminists must 'theorize and reconceptualize the meanings
of categories such as "victim" and "experience" rather than merely
criticize their use'.

Despite the claim that feminism has failed to re-theorise rape, this
symposium aims to show that the kind of subversive representational
deconstruction demanded by Mardorossian is already being performed in
contemporary literary texts that deal with sexual violence. We are
particularly interested in papers that deal with subversive literary
texts that perform one of the following strategies:

- rethinking categories such as "victim" and "experience" in relation
to rape narratives;
- subverting the notion of a "gender script";
- undermining active/passive binaries;
- questioning the separation of rape from an experiential perspective;
- reasserting the importance of women's experience;
- recognising relations of power and panopticism in representations of rape;
- undermining media representations of 'real' and 'fake' victims.
Some writers that might make interesting case studies are novelists
like Yvonne Vera, J.M. Coetzee and Toni Morrison, or poets like Selima
Hill, Pascale Petit and Sharon Olds.

The symposium will include a keynote speech by Dr. Ananya Jahanara
Kabir on the topic of how rape is represented in contemporary South
Asia. There will also be a creative writing workshop for delegates
that provides ways into rethinking categories such as 'active',
'passive' and 'victim'. Negotiations are being made for the
proceedings to be published.

Deadline for Abstracts: 21st of March 2007

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words for 15 - 20 minute papers.

Please send by e-mail (in the e-mail body or by attached Word
document) to Sorcha Gunne (

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Received on Fri Feb 16 2007 - 19:26:57 EST