Queer Gilman @ c19, the Conference of the Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists (Berkeley, CA, April 2012)

full name / name of organization: 
Sari Edelstein and Peter Betjemann

CFP: Queer Gilman

We are seeking a third paper for a proposed panel on Queer Gilman for c19, the conference of the Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists, to be held in Berkeley, California, April 12-15, 2012.

As one of the central figures of second-wave literary recovery, Charlotte Perkins Gilman has long been recognized for her strident feminism, her socialism, and of course, her now canonical 1892 short story, "The Yellow Wall-Paper." While scholars have acknowledged the complicated interdependence of her feminism with eugenic and nativist strains of thinking, we have only begun to subject Gilman's work to contemporary critical models, particularly queer theory. This is all the more surprising given that her published letters reveal sustained and passionate intimacies with women and her fiction is rife with depictions of homosocial utopias, failed heterosexual unions, and non-normative gender behavior.

In keeping with the conference's theme of "Prospects," we hope to rediscover Gilman through the lens of queer theory. How might queer theory help us to understand her relationship to region or genre? How might we more sufficiently explore what Alys Eve Weinbaum calls "the decidedly 'queer' sexual politics that . . . constitute her relentless racial nationalism"? What does Gilman's critique of "true womanhood" suggest about her vision of heteronormativity? How does our knowledge of her same-sex intimacies inform her work? We welcome papers that use queer theory to interrogate Gilman's short stories, novels, poetry, and non-fiction.

Please send 500-word abstracts and brief cvs to Sari Edelstein (sedelste@skidmore.edu) or Peter Betjemann (Peter.Betjemann@oregonstate.edu) by August 15.