UPDATE: Literary Dress: Fashioning the Fictional Self (deadline 9/30/10)

full name / name of organization: 
NEMLA 2011 (April 6-10, Rutgers NJ)
contact email: 

Literary Dress: Fashioning the Fictional Self

Fashion, fabricate, artifice, make-up: all these terms have a double valence. Each term in noun form denotes a prosthetic application of something foreign atop something natural (usually a human body) with the intention of concealing or enhancing the natural item beneath. Each term in verb form, though, carries a connotation of constitution and creation: a sense of literal "becoming," or even investiture. In some way, these terms gesture towards the ephemeral, frivolous, and the temporary AND towards a sense of ontological making.

Scholars in anthropology, sociology, psychology, art history, and material history have all taken fashion seriously. Literary critics, though, have paid scant attention to clothes, despite novelists' deep, vivid, and abiding interest in their characters' dress. Literary scholars have been much more concerned with the noun forms of words related to fashion – the concern with falsity and authenticity - than the verb forms.

This panel seeks to analyze the ways in which fashion operates in literature, with a particular interest in the concept of "fashion" as a verb. Paper topics might include, but are not limited to: fashion as a Foucauldian technology of self; the pro-consumerist "girl-power" movement as a reaction to second-wave feminism; self-fashioning in the biography and autobiography; theories and criticism of text and fashion (Barthes, Rancière, etc.); comparative study of illustrations and the written word; notions of visualizing the ineffable, etc.. Interdisciplinary work is invited.

Please send 500 word abstracts as MSWord attachments by September 30, 2010, to Heath Sledge and Helen Dunn at confabstracts@gmail.com. Inquiries may also be sent to this address.

Deadline: September 30, 2010

Contact information:
Heath Sledge (UNC-Chapel Hill) and Helen Dunn (UVA)

Mailing address:
Heath Sledge
406 Greenlaw Hall, CB 3520
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3520
A/V requirements (if any; $10 handling fee with registration)

The 42nd Annual Convention will feature approximately 360 sessions, as well as pre-conference workshops, dynamic speakers and cultural events. Details and the complete Call for Papers for the 2011 Convention will be posted in June: 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. Do not accept a slot if you may cancel to present on another session.