Non-Binary: Retheorizing Romantic Sexes and Genders

deadline for submissions: 
December 30, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
North American Society for the Study of Romanticism (NASSR 2019)

This panel seeks to retheorize social constructivists accounts of Romantic sex and gender circulating since the early 80s that continue to persist and insist—however unwittingly—on a binaristic or universalistic normativity (hetero- or otherwise). Moreover, all such accounts are often firmly anthropocentric, offering little flexibility to engage the nonhuman in all of its material forms. More recent New Materialist accounts of sexes and genders provide resources for moving forward from the confines of the discursive prison of sex and gender that retains within it, again however unwittingly or unwillingly, a binarism between the social and the material, the human and the nonhuman. For this reason, this panel wants to turn to recent theorists and philosophers like Susan Stryker, Jack Halberstam, Karen Barad, and other sex-and-gender scholars and new materialist thinkers who explode social constructionism as a naïve but well-meaning politics that strove to resist mansplaining essentialist patriarchy by demystifying it as the bad harmful fiction it is. New materialist theories take things to the next level since they remind us that there is a material aspect to sexes and genders and that this does not return us to a bad essentialism or a patriarchal phallogocentricism but rather turns us forward in radical new ways to witness, think, and theorize the material body and discursive constructions of non-binaristic, non-universalistic sexes and genders.

The panel also performatively offers a non-Butlerian account of performativity, one that strives toward a posthuman materialization of entanglement, a getting outside of our binaristic selves. This panel asks for papers authored by two or more people (or beings) to explore and perform notions of interactivity, and in doing so seeks to push the boundaries of conference performance. The goal is to stage and/or explode conceptual, argumentative, authorial, textual, intertextual, intellectual, and performative entanglement via, to borrow Barad’s words, “multiple im/possibilities that coexist and are iteratively intra-actively reconfigured.”

The panel welcomes papers on how Romanticism thinks sexes and genders that include but are not limited to self-identities such as lesbian, gay, queer, pansexual, asexual, bisexual, transgender, intersex, cishetero, cisgender, ace, genderfluid, genderqueer, bigender, and pangender. We also welcome papers that attend to differences that intersect with sexes and genders like race, ethnicity, class, religion, national identity, disability, and political orientation. Papers are welcome to extend beyond the human to nonhuman materiality, affect, the animal, the plant, the robotic or technic, or the imaginary. In all papers, we look for a determined non-anthropocentric approach, a nod toward the posthuman, and hence a nod toward the future—and the future that is already here in our present.

Papers should be no more than 20 minutes in length. Please submit 500-word abstracts to Chris Washington ( by Dec 30th, 2018.

NASSR 2019 will take place in Chicago on August 8-11, 2019.