CFP: Art Objects and Woman's Words: Women's Ekphrastic Writing (3/1/06; MLA '06)

full name / name of organization: 
Jill R Ehnenn

CFP: Art Objects and Women's Words: Women's Ekphrastic Writing (3/1/06; MLA '06, 12/27/06-12/30/06)

Call For Papers for a proposed Special Session

Modern Language Association (MLA)

Annual meeting December 27-30, 2006, in Philadelphia

Art Objects and Women's Words: Women's Ekphrastic Writing

This goal of this panel is to explore how female authors have produced verbal representations of visual representations.

Language. Gaze. Space. Time. These concepts invariably come to mind in academic considerations of ekphrasis, as do
difference, desire, otherness, mimesis, muteness, blindness, power, perception, narrative, fragment, (re)production,
consumption, and commodity. Notably, these concepts are also inextricably linked to the gendered particularities of the
historical moment(s) that produced the author/spectator, the represented subject and its ekphrastic mirror. Nevertheless,
while literary critics of the past few decades have observed that ekphrasis engages various gendered dynamics, still,
scholarship tends to focus solely upon texts (and the function of gender within texts) authored by men.

What might characterize ekphrastic texts by women? Ekphrasis that is feminist and/or queer? What considerations--formal,
historical, material, phenomenological, and philosophical--would be involved in conceiving of such projects? For instance,
if temporality and spatiality are both to be considered in relation to ekphrastic writing, what happens when we consider
gendered spaces--or how the sex/gender system affects the signification of particular bodies, objects or iconographies in
space, over time? What happens, as Judith Halberstam and Lee Edelman have each recently considered, when we eschew
"reproductive futurism" and reflect upon the possibilities and implications of queer time? How are accounts of the varied
desires and pleasures associated with verbal and visual arts inflected by positing a female reader/spectator? How are
ekphrastic texts considered through the lenses of gender and sexuality different from other kinds of literary appropriations
and revisions?

In light of and in addition to the above questions, possible topics might include:

Feminist, anti-feminist, queer ekphrasis

Narrative transvestism, linguistic mastery

 "Fine" and "domestic" arts

Ekphrastic poetry vs. fiction, art criticism or texts of mixed genres

Beauty, ugliness, disgust

Silence, violence, envoicing

Landscapes, interiors, museums, academies

Spectators, connoisseurs, professionals, amateurs

Referents, re-visions; the model, role models

Satire, irony, style

Performance, performativity, citationality, disidentification

Production, consumption, reception

Desires, pleasures, perversions, subversions

Authors, texts and topics related to women's ekphrastic texts from any time period are welcome, as are interdisciplinary and
cross-period approaches.

Of note: A major university press has expressed serious interest in an edited collection of scholarly essays on this topic.
Although I will issue a separate CFP for the essay collection in a few months, I hope to generate a preliminary pool of
potential contributors from among these MLA proposals. Inquiries are welcome.

Please submit proposals consisting of paper title, 1-2 page abstract and a brief CV to by March 1,

Jill R. Ehnenn

Department of English

Appalachian State University

Boone, NC 28607

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Received on Sat Jan 14 2006 - 09:47:08 EST