Literary and Dramatic Representations of Coercion and Consent

deadline for submissions: 
May 15, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Kirsten Mendoza/RSA 2018

 This panel proposes that early modern transformations in rape law placed pressure on issues concerning female self-possession, sexual knowledge, pleasure, and consent and that these tensions were critiqued and, at times, exploited by playwrights and authors of the period. In what ways do sixteenth and seventeenth century poetry, drama, and literature explore the injustices and ambiguities arising from the elision of resistance, coercion, and consent in sexual encounters? Papers for this panel might discuss the critical approaches of playwrights and authors to the no-means-yes topos, which interprets coyness as foreplay and masculine aggression as a consequence of and response to feminine arousal; representations of the social consequences of a victim’s linguistic “failure” to dissuade her aggressor and protect her body from rape; sexual assault and racial miscegenation; tropes of seduction and coercion in politics or religious conversion; rape and empire; sexual pleasure and submission.  

Please submit your name, contact information, a 1-page CV, paper title, and abstract (150-word maximum) by Monday, 15 May 2017 to Kirsten Mendoza (