Nemla 2019 Seminar "Queer Women: Reading and Writing in 19th & 20th Peninsular Spanish Literature"

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Ana Isabel Simón-Alegre / Adelphi University
contact email: 

The topic of this seminar is the presence of the “chicas raras” in Modern Spanish literature, also known as “queer women” in English. Queer is the perfect conceptual framework to think about how Spanish authors explore feminist themes, such as discrimination or inequality using their narratives as a tool to examine tensions in female subjectivity. The concept queer includes the idea of gender dissidence that encompasses how female intellectuals experience sex, sexuality and, gender. Even if oftentimes these writers have difficulties conceptualizing these notions, they are perceptible in women narratives, especially through specific genres: autobiography, memoir, romance fiction and letters.
This seminar wishes to explore not only the significant presence of queer women in Spanish literature but also ask why it has been silenced culturally. For that matter, we will take up notions such as “cursi” (cheesy) in texts written by women from 1850 up to the present. We argue that when literary criticism dismisses a woman-authored novel as “cheesy,” it is due to a gender mark related to the concept of queer. Noël Valis (2003) cleverly elaborated on the untranslatable concept of “lo cursi” and the structure of feeling that characterizes Spain’s uneasy surrender to the forces of modernity. We want to keep this debate open and propose a discussion on how the literary figure of the “queer woman” is, in fact, also present in European writers.
Abstracts accepted in Spanish or English. 
This seminar examines the significant presence of the queer woman in Peninsular Spanish Literature written by women from 1850 up to the present. Our objectives are: to examine how Spanish Women Writers used this literary figure in their novels to explore gender conventions, track the connections between these literary figures and those of other Women Writers and, and discuss how the figure of the queer woman was a factor in the personal lives of women writers.
Please email an abstract of your proposal in Spanish or English to Nemla by September 30, 2018. This session will be organized as a seminar.