CFP: [General] Women Producers and the Politics of Form in the Interwar Period

full name / name of organization: 
Laurel Harris

Call for Papers
“Women Producers and the Politics of Form in the
Interwar Period”
40th Anniversary Convention, Northeast Modern Language
Association (NeMLA)
February 26-March 1, 2009
Hyatt Regency, Boston, MA
Continuing to engage Rita Felski’s question, asked
over a decade ago in The Gender of Modernity, of what
happens when gender is the central lens through which
we view modernity, this panel will ask how the
aesthetics of women producersâ€"including novelists,
short story writers, filmmakers, journalists, and
poetsâ€"in the 1920s and 1930s might be conceived as
left-wing, right-wing, or an entirely different kind
of political activism or social vision. How might
gendered discourses of this interwar period of
modernity influence how women producers engaged
aesthetics as a cultural politics? Is the perception
of women producers as either disembodied aesthetes or
embodied feminists in the story of modernism one women
producers of this period themselves tended to share?
What models can be conceived with which to theorize
women’s unique positioning in modernity as a site from
which to construct what might be called a politics of
aesthetic form?
Areas to be considered might include:
• How might the relation between femininity and (high)
modernism or the avant-garde be conceived for women
producers working within these aesthetics? How and
why do women “modernists”â€"as varied as Djuna Barnes,
Gertrude Stein, Virginia Woolf, Germaine Dulac, H.D.,
for exampleâ€"see their gender as related to conceptions
of formal innovation?
• How might the relation between femininity and
modernity be conceived for women producers in the
interwar period? Is Andreas Huyssens’ provocative
point that mass culture is a feminized other to (high)
modernism represented in the work of women producers?
How is femininity ingeniously or strategically engaged
or challenged by women producers as either a
primordial source of creativity outside the modern
world or, conversely, as a site of ephemeral flux and
distraction central to modernity?
• How is T.S. Eliot’s “disassociation of sensibility,”
the division of body and mind, one narrative of
modernity, disputed or shared by women producers?
What is at stake in the idea of a disembodied
aesthetic or, conversely, embodied materiality for
women producers particularly?
• How did war, revolution, and feminist struggles
influence the form or language of women producers? Is
“sex war,” for example, as Rebecca West terms it, an
evident influence on some women of the period? How
might the aesthetic be conceived as a site of these
particular politics?
• How have women producers in the interwar period
been placed in academic narratives of modernity or
modernism, and how have text and context been
negotiated? What particular problems does gender
raise for this negotiation of text and context?
Deadline: September 15, 2008
Please send a 500-word abstract along with your
institutional and contact information to
laurel_e_harris at

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Received on Thu May 22 2008 - 18:08:57 EDT