Girls After the Apocalypse (NeMLA, April 3-6, 2014)

full name / name of organization: 
Julie Cary Nerad, Morgan State University
contact email: 

45th Annual Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
April 3-6, 2014
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Host: Susquehanna University

Girls After the Apocalypse

In the 1990s, Octavia Butler published two novels - _Parable of the Sower_ and _Parable of the Talents_ - in which an adolescent girl hyperempath establishes her own religion in an America of a new world (dis)order of religious fanaticism. In 2008, Suzanne Collins published the first of _The Hunger Games_ trilogy, in which another adolescent sparks a revolution against a fascist government that reigns over what used to be the United States. Most recently, in 2012, NBC began airing _Revolution_, a television series in which the young heroine unifies a fractured resistance movement in the oppressive regime of Monroe (formally the northeastern U.S.). Although the causes of apocalypse differ, at the center of each of these texts is a young adult female who challenges contemporary concepts of the adolescent girl. Indeed, these texts each re-conceptualize female adolescent identity as empowered, intelligent, independent, (often) deadly, and fundamental to the reproduction of culture in ways that extend beyond a biological framework. However, these heroines often remain situated within a discourse of family, albeit one that expands to incorporate the extended family of the revolution/resistance movement.

This panel seeks papers that explore any literary or television/filmic representation of girls after apocalypse. Papers might consider how such texts reconfigure gender roles and/or gender identity, as well as how they may simultaneously reify gender stereotypes. Papers may also address the relationship between the heroines and the texts' cultural criticisms, exploring whether/how the sex of the protagonist informs the texts' socio-historical or ecological critical analyses. How, in short, is gender being re-constructed in a post-apocalyptic world? Considerations of these protagonists within intersections of race, class, sexuality, nationality, and/or religion are also particularly encouraged, as are feminist or ecofeminist approaches.

Email 300-word abstract to Julie Cary Nerad at by September 30, 2013. Please provide a brief bio (including academic affiliation and contact information). Also, note any A/V requirements (if any; $10 handling fee with registration).

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.

About NeMLA 2014:

The 2014 NeMLA convention continues the Association's tradition of sharing innovative scholarship in an engaging and generative location. This capitol city set on the Susquehanna River is known for its vibrant restaurant scene, historical sites, the National Civil War museum, and nearby Amish Country, antique shops and Hershey Park. NeMLA has arranged low hotel rates of $104-$124.

The 2014 event will include guest speakers, literary readings, professional events, and workshops. A reading by George Saunders will open the Convention. His 2013 collection of short fiction, _The Tenth of December_, has been acclaimed by the New York Times as: "the best book you'll read this year." NeMLA's Keynote Speaker will be David Staller, Producer and Director of Project Shaw. Mr. Staller presents monthly script-in-hand performances of Bernard Shaw's plays at the Players Club in New York City.