CFP, 2016 MMLA Conference Theme "Border States" St. Louis, Missouri November 10-13, 2016

full name / name of organization: 
Nevine El Nossery
contact email: 

WIF's (Women in French) panels at MMLA, 2016
Deadline to send an abstract April 20.
 
 
Panel 1. The Self and the Other: African Women's Wartime Memoirs and Autobiographical Novels
 
      Women's memoirs and autobiographical novels set in civil war have emerged as an important form of expression in Africa in recent years. Women are writing about their experiences as child soldiers and as combatants, as refugees and internally displaced people, as wives of guerrilla fighters, as doctors and nurses helping the wounded and dying, as peace negotiators, as activists in peace movements, as survivors of violence, as political leaders, as writers, diarists and chroniclers, or simply as victims and witnesses of war's turmoil. The sheer volume of work in these two genres is noteworthy in and of itself. Some main concerns, among others, are at stake in these narratives. 1) War shatters the boundaries between the private and the public in a myriad of ways. How is the individual and collective experience interrogated, navigated, combined and dissected through the memoirs and autobiographical novels. 2) Why women authors have become so dominant in this particular area of self-writing. 3) What would be the utility of these genres for history and literature more generally in understanding the ways in which war is gendered.
 
Please send a 250-words abstract to elnossery@wisc.edu before April 20 2016
 
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Panel 2. "Crossing Borders: Transgressive Acts or Transvestism as Liberation in Women's Writings
 
Moving beyond states or stages: transgressive acts, transvestism as liberation. Women's writings often put in tension the constraints of different "boundaries" or borders. This session will examine the different ways in which writers and characters become free from the constraints of gender, sex, and various territorial or performance definitions."
 
Please send a 250-words abstract to elnossery@wisc.edu before April 20 2016
 
 
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Panel 3. Women between Aesthetics and Politics
 
Increasing confrontations with totalitarian regimes have prompted women to find new ways to cope with political expression and national disenchantment.  The dynamics in these movements are complex and sometimes paradoxical. This panel proposes to reflect primarily on women's aesthetic and artistic forms of resistance across time and space, and to expand our understanding of the different means of protest they deploy to subvert social constructions and barriers.  The panel also proposes to discuss the gender/feminist artistic and aesthetic strategies that advocate for innovative relational possibilities between genders, between citizens and the state, and across ethnic, classes, space and national divides.  Specific topics may include, but are not limited to: Aesthetic Articulation of Protest; Art and Feminism; Politics and Gender; Women's Rights: Universalism and Cultural Relativism; Third Worldism; Renegotiating Female 'Public/Private' Space; The Secular and the Religious Visual Protests: Photography & Documentaries; Transnational/transversal Feminist Networks.
 
Please send a 250-words abstract to elnossery@wisc.edu before April 20 2016
 
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Panel 4. Negotiating the local and the Global in French and Francophone Literatures
 
Considering that we are witnessing and experiencing a momentous surge in the circulation of capital, goods, ideas, and populations, should we revisit Goethe's 1827 concept of Weltliteratur? In the context of globalization, or to use Edouard Glissant's more enlightening concept "globality" (mondialité), how can we teach foreign cultures through literature, cinema, music, painting and cooking? Locality can promote cultural and historical awareness and it can dispel stereotypes, generalizations, and reductive understandings of the "Other"; it can also appraise particularities and reinforce contextuality. On the other hand, globality fosters trans-national topoi, targeting universalities and affinities among different cultures. How much cultural and historical background should be taught in order to provide sufficient context for a given text? How can we teach La Chanson de Roland for example without looking at Saladin and the Islamic Empire, or Racine's Bajazet without talking about Turkey, or Balzac's Eugénie Grandet without mentioning the industrial revolution, or Sembene's Xala without studying la négritude, or Djebar's L'amour, la fantasia without taking into account Nouba music? In terms of authenticity, legitimacy, and readability, what is at stake when these texts and cultural topics are taught in their original languages, and what could be lost in translation? From a pedagogical standpoint, how should culture be taught in a language classroom? How should we acknowledge and address the constant dialogic relationship that exists between the texts themselves and their contexts, between the local and the global, in order to better teach these texts?
 
Please send a 250-words abstract to elnossery@wisc.edu before April 20 2016
 
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Panel 5. Assia Djebar: Poetics of Love and Desire
 
Assia Djebar, a celebrated figure of francophone and world literature and a major representative of the era of decolonization, died in February 2015, leaving behind half a century of novels, essays, and films through which she explored her country's past and present in a fundamental endeavor to preserve memory and history and to challenge colonial histories and official nationalism. If her works are mainly concerned with women's lack of agency, patriarchal domination, the ravages of colonization, and violent religious extremism, they also advocate for love. Her reflections on love and desire are necessarily linguistic, as she considers her mother tongue to be the only possible form of personal expression of deeply amorous communication, in contrast to "the aphasia of love" that characterizes the French language in her experience, but they are also corporeal, as the writer highlights the role of body language in her culture, textual, as they take on the form of letters, in all senses of this word, of written words in constant search of their destination, they are also discursive as they revisit affinities between historical accounts and personal stories, and they are prohibited, in their relation to the interdict imposed by the father, all while pointing to possible solidarity, as well as to sisterhood among women. The panel will reflect on the many aspects of Djebar's poetics of love and desire.

Please send a 250-words abstract to elnossery@wisc.edu before April 20 2016