“Varieties of the Monstrous Feminine in American Literature”

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Mary Balkun/Seton Hall University
contact email: 

NeMLA 2019

The monstrous female is a staple of the literary imagination. The Medusa, the witch, the Sirens, the succubus/vampire, the she-devil, the madwoman, the coquette, the cross-dresser—these are just some versions of this trope that can be identified from the earliest periods to the present day. Some figures represent the ways women have been marginalized as “other” and the impact of that designation, while others represent ways that outsider positions can become a locus of power. This roundtable will explore various manifestations of the monstrous feminine trope, specifically in American literature and culture. It will consider questions such as: Who defines monstrosity? How can it be construed as positive as well as negative? How does the monstrous feminine manifest in different time periods and locations (urban vs. rural, east vs. west vs. midwest, north vs. south)? Does the monstrous feminine always have to be female?

Proposals of 300 words should be submitted by Sept. 30, 2018 via the NeMLA portal https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/CFP.