[UPDATE] Imagining Middle Eastern/Oriental women in the West: An Orientalist Legacy Borrowed from the Past? July 2/ Nov. 8-11, 2

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The 54th Annual M/MLA Convention- Cincinnati, Ohio
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Imagining Middle Eastern/Oriental Women in the West: An Orientalist Legacy Borrowed from the Past?

This panel seeks papers which investigate the image of the Middle Eastern/Muslim women in the West constructed throughout centuries and the manner in which these images are deployed and interpreted by the Western audiences. Thus, the panel is open to a wide range of literary periods, such as the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Long Eighteenth Century, Victorian Period, as well as Modern and Post-modern Literatures. Due to the multidisciplinary nature of the topic under investigation papers dealing with history, sociology and religion which build on literary texts are welcome as well.

Some of the possible topics for papers:
Identifying internal repetitions in the colonial/post-colonial/ Orientalist discourses: How do we learn about the women living in Islamic societies? How is the image of Muslim women constructed in literary texts, both authored by native and western writers? What are the images repeated in the media, literature and other forms of non-fiction? What are the ideological, cultural, and literary presuppositions upon which such a construct is based?

Identifying and thinking about the basic rhetorical features of this discourse: How do particular images and representations shape West's understanding of the eastern other? What are the implications of these particular representations and images regarding the Middle Eastern women in the West, especially in terms of understanding the 'reality' of their position and condition in their societies?

Islamic Feminism: How is Islamic feminism connected to or divergent from Western feminism/s? How do literary texts contribute to the discussion about women's place in Islamic societies? Is there any change in imagining the Middle Eastern women after 9/11? If so, how is this registered in fictional and non-fictional texts?

The issue of veiling and the harem: How is veiling interpreted in the West? What are the implications of carrying out the westernization projects through female body in different Middle Eastern countries with a majority Muslim population—especially in terms of identity (religious and cultural)? Related to the previous questions, what is the connection between modernization project and veiling? Do we hear the Muslim women's voice in these debates about veiling? Lastly, how do all these discussions register in literary texts?

Please send 250-word abstracts by July 2nd to Filiz Barin, fbarin@ilstu.edu

Chair: Filiz Barin, Illinois State University