Special Session: Tradition and the Individual Man

deadline for submissions: 
April 15, 2019
full name / name of organization: 

In Gender Trouble, Judith Butler famously asserts that “gender is a “stylized repetition of acts” that are not only contingent on the public reception of that style, but also on the way in which the repetition “conceals its genesis,” where the “it” is the presumed “being” of (a) gender. T.S. Eliot makes a similarly well-known claim in his essay, “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” when he writes that for the poet, the key difference “between the present and the past is that the conscious present is an awareness of the past in a way and to an extent which the past’s awareness of itself cannot show.” Read together, both Butler and Eliot seem to be asking a similar question about the relation between a perceived tradition and the production of the subject(ive) therein. This panel seeks papers that explore the tropes of gender imitation and social initiation in the period between 1900 and 1945 so as to ask: in what way does the desire for a tradition through which to define one’s masculinity rely upon a series of repetitions that celebrate the double, the doppelgänger, the dual? Moreover, can pushing beyond the psychoanalytic allow scholars to more effectively grapple with literary constructions of masculinity that rely on a process of repetition? Papers may consider:

-Nationalism and its imagery

-Pop culture


-Sexuality/ gay panic

-Labor and unionization efforts

-Manhood as genre/style

-The so-called “crisis of masculinity”

-Literary tradition/canonicity

-The construction of whiteness

-The construction of race and/or the effects of racism on definitions of masculinity

Please submit 300 word abstracts along with your name, department, email, and university affiliation to Rachel-walerstein@uiowa.edu by April 15th, 2019.