"Making her Meaning Known": New Scholarship on Audre Lorde (NeMLA 4/7-11/2010; abstracts due 9/30/09)

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Northeast Modern Language Association Conference
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Seventeen years after her death, Audre Lorde's work continues to have influence despite—or possibly because of—inevitable shifts in dialogues about feminism and racism in American literary scholarship. Lorde dedicated much of her prose and poetry to complicating discussions of race, gender, class, and sexuality and to what she called "the transformation of silence into language and action." This panel seeks papers which analyze elements of Lorde's work which have remained silent in critical discussions yet and which question how her work may continue to help others "survive" in the 21st century. Ann Reuman reminds us that, before her death, Lorde participated in an African naming ceremony in which she took the name "Gambda Adisa" meaning "Warrior: She Who Makes Her Meaning Known." This panel responds to this name by asking how her meaning will continue to be known in the 21st century and how our understanding of her meaning may change. How can scholars participate in continuing to make her meaning known and what impact will such meaning have now that the warrior has passed on? In life, she told Charles Rowell that she "refused to be silenced"; how will our scholarly refusal to allow time to silence her manifest?

Papers may analyze her prose writing, her poetry, and/or her impact on black cultural theory, theories of sexuality, and of feminism.

Submit proposals of 250-500 words to Dr. Kirsten Ortega at kortega@uccs.edu by September 30, 2009. Please include your name, contact information (email address and phone number), university affiliation, and any A/V requirements ($10 fee).

The 41st Northeast MLA Conference will be held in Montreal, April 7-11, 2010. More information is available at www.nemla.org.

Interested participants may submit abstracts to more than one NeMLA session; however panelists can only present one paper (panel or seminar). Convention participants may present a paper at a panel and also present at a creative session or participate in a roundtable.

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