[UPDATE] Women and the Gendering of Talk, Gossip, & Communication Practices Across Media

full name / name of organization: 
Sarah Burcon & Melissa Ames

We are seeking proposals for an anthology focused on gendered communication practices.  (Articles need not be completed at this time to submit).

This collection, accepted for publication by McFarland press, aims to update existing theories of orality in the light of technological advancements which have altered communication practices on a large scale. Although these shifts in communication practices affect both genders, this book looks specifically at how the last century of technological inventions have specifically affected women's means of communication. Women have long been stereotypically associated with the oral realm. We aim to reexamine the so-called essentialist notion of women's relation to oral culture by attending to their shifting practices at the onset of the 21st century. Moreover we seek to understand how women learn gendered talk/communication, how they have (historically) utilized this in everyday practices, and how these practices now, when combined with current technological apparatuses, allow gendered spaces to be co-opted by women to an extent that gendered "talk" might, in fact, be eliminated and/or replaced by non-gendered communication practices and androgynous "talk."

This text will be organized into three sections representing three key arguments about women and oral culture that have yet to be brought into conversation with one another. Section one will deal primarily with performative spaces where women learn and act out gendered ways of communication. Section two will delve into literary spaces, revising theories of oral literacy and residual literacy by analyzing texts where print culture and oral culture meet to further the needs of women's communities. And section three will focus solely on technological spaces where "talk" itself is transformed in the digital era and narrative forms are forever altered.

For this contributed volume, the editors seek previously unpublished essays from a wide array of disciplines and theoretical approaches. Writing may explore, but need not be limited to, the following topics:

• How performative spaces (literal locations and mediated zones) construct "gendered" communication practices
• How chick flicks and (feminist) television teach women how to interact with one another
• How "feminine performances" revolve around exaggerated (and sometimes emotional) moments of talk, tell alls, gossip, gab.
• How certain locations lend themselves more to idle chit chat than others (waiting rooms and lobbies) and how men and women fill "down" time with conversation differently within these situational spaces
• How the chat of motherhood differs from other social conversation (for example, the difference between talking in front of [and about] the K-I-D-S)
• How women adapt speech to fulfill the needs of different environments and the effect this has on their interpersonal communication practices
• How literary (print) spaces utilize orality in the discourse(s) of "feminine" communities
• What the historical practice of female letter writing reveals about women's communication
• How and when the act of diary and journal writing became a "girl" thing to do (how diaries are marketed today versus the famous canonized diaries and travel journals of the past)
• How technological spaces transform "talk," genre, and narrative form in the 21st century
• How text messaging and emoticons have changed female communication patterns and friendships
• How men and women's communication has altered differently due to their active text messaging or instant messaging practices in an era of waning face-to-face communication
• How contemporary media practices, and technology, change long-standing communication practices and "print" genres, such as memoir, in terms of gendered production, authorial intent, and social reception
• How the autobiography genre morphed into blogging and became, initially, a masculine practice focused more on the reporting of opinions (often politically-based ones) rather than personal happenings (as associated with female autobiography)
• How social networks, such as MySpace and Facebook, have un-gendered and transformed the genre of autobiography
• The Internet provides a multitude of forums for a new type of "talk" emerging on screen rather than in person
• How, with coded and/or ambiguous user names like AR711 and SoxFan, chatrooms and fan sites provide spaces where gender cues are erased and how this erasure may help to bring about a form of technological talk that is androgynous and free of the usual gender clues usually found in written formats that would often tie the speaker to his or her gender
• Other topics related to gender and communication are welcome as well

Deadline for Abstract (500 word maximum): November 15th, 2009

Please send abstract and a brief biographical statement to Sarah Burcon & Melissa Ames at: sburcon@gmail.com and mames@eiu.edu. The subject line should read: Submission for Women and the Gendering of Communication.