NeMLA 2020 Panel: Reading and Theorizing Rape Culture

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association

This pre-approved panel seeks scholars to present at the 2020 NeMLA conference (March 5-8 in Boston, MA) on the topic of rape culture.

Panel Description:

Narrative representations of rape culture are everywhere—from literary (non)fiction to mainstream media—and shape our attitudes and beliefs. While some narratives laudably reveal the structural nature of sexual violence and the damage of its aftermath, others serve to reinforce rape myths that perpetuate ideas of “real” rape, create stereotypes of victims and perpetrators based on race and gender, and ultimately shame survivors into silence. Roxane Gay defines rape culture as “a culture where we are inundated, in different ways, by the idea that male aggression and violence toward women is acceptable and often inevitable.” Especially in the wake of the #MeToo movement, critical attention must be paid to the ways this rape culture informs and is informed by narrative representations.

This panel invites explorations of narratives that document the wide spectrum of harm caused by gender-based violence (ranging from microaggressions to rape) and theoretical interventions in the ways we interpret them. Questions to consider may include: How has rape culture influenced literary studies? How have narratives depicting rape culture and our theories of interpretation changed over time and/or across space? How have literary narratives supported or subverted rape culture? How might we read, write, and teach these narratives in ethically responsible ways? Papers may address the theme of rape culture across time periods, nations, and genres—including TV and film. PoC encouraged to apply.

Please direct any questions to the panel chair, Sarah Hildebrand, via email ( or Twitter (@smhildebrand)  

Finalized abstracts can be submitted at: