CFP: Mommy Lit and Gender Prescriptions (9/15/06; NEMLA, 3/1/07-3/4/07)

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CFP: Mommy Lit and Gender Prescriptions (9/15/06; NeMLA 3/1/06 –

Call for Papers

Mommy Lit: Product Placement, "Friendly" Competition, and Gender
Prescriptions for the Thinking Mother

38th Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
March 1-4, 2007
Baltimore, Maryland

"Mommy lit" is being called the "big sister" of "chic lit" in some
literary circles. Of course writing about mothering has been around
since women first began writing their own stories, but we may be in an
age where mothering is being discussed (at least in public) more
frankly and more immediately after one becomes a mother than ever
before. At the same time, magazines and PR material about child
rearing and children's products are becoming more available and often
take on some of the poses of mommy lit, while maintaining that
mothering, with the right products and attitude, is, if not easy, then
at least fun and fulfilling. I am interested in the ways these
various types of literature focused on mothers, especially new
mothers, shape societal attitudes and expectations about the
accoutrements needed for mothering, the stance(s) most appropriate for
mothering, and the prescription of gender roles deemed correct for
parents and children. Are any of these texts feminist? How do we
account for feminism within the context of these materials? Where do
fathers fit in to this narrative? What is the cultural and consumer
impact of the explosion of this material?

This panel will explore the many forms and genres of "mommy lit" and
its significance. Mommy lit, for the purposes of this panel,
encompasses anything from the free material given to mothers regarding
products like formula and diapers, developmental baby books
compliments of those in the baby business, unsolicited and subscriber
magazines, the What to Expect books and others of that ilk, memoir and
other nonfiction mother-writing, along with fiction that has morphed
from "chic lit" into mommy lit as authors and readers change subject
positions from single young woman to mother. This panel is open to
discussions regarding consumer culture, product placement, how
consumer culture plays a role in competition between mothers,
autotheory about panel members' experiences with the literature and/or
parenting and/or the academy, prescriptions for gendered parenting and
gendering children, images of mothering, societal expectations of
mothers, and the experience of reading any of these texts.

Please send a 250 to 500 word abstract and a 50 word bio to Nicole
Willey at or mail to:

Nicole Willey
English Department
Kent State University Tuscarawas
330 University Drive NE
New Philadelphia, OH 44663
Deadline: September 15, 2006

Please include with your abstract:

Name and Affiliation
Email address
Postal address
Telephone number
A/V requirements (if any)

For the complete Call for Papers for the 2007 Convention, please
Interested participants may submit abstracts to more than one NeMLA
panel; however panelists can only present one paper. Convention
participants may present at a paper session panel and also present at
a creative session or participate in a roundtable.

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Received on Sat May 27 2006 - 13:26:40 EDT