NEMLA 2020: Gender, Identity, and Belonging in Minority Women Artistic Production

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
contact email: 

Within the current political discourse and political turmoil, representation of women’s races, identities, cultures, precisely of minority women, continue to be under discussion.  Women critics and writers have discussed and examined how current political discourse have changed the understanding of identity in connection with ethnicity, race, color, and language. Identity is formed and shaped by culture, beliefs, race, ethnicity, and space among several other factors. Stuart Hall argues “Identity is never complete, always in process, and always constituted within, not outside, representation.” With this in mind, how complex then this process of construction becomes when color, race, or religion emerges as defining factor of whether or not one belongs?

By creating a language of their own, minority and marginalized women can challenge accepted notions of gender to deconstruct and reconstruct their identities within the context of race, culture, and ethnicity in their artistic and literary creations. In Feminist Approach Kathleen Fraser asserts that for a woman, “[t]he limits of language present us, continuously, with the limits of what we might know about ourselves” (7). Therefore, by creating and using their own artistic language, minority women are not only able to redeem and reclaim their own voice, but also create what Bell Hooks calls a “space to move beyond boundaries” where women have the freedom to assert their own identities without the weight or limitations of cultural, societal, or religious expectations.


The following are some of the questions the panel aims to cover: a) How minority women conceive and negotiate their identities? b) To what extent gender, religion, and race shape women’s identity and experience of belonging? c) What are some of the strategies these marginalized women employ for self-identification and to better understand their sense of belonging? d) Does language play an indispensable role in this identity transformation or negotiation? e) What role memory plays in this self-identification? We welcome proposals working in a variety of disciplines including comparative literature, philosophy, gender studies, art, history, anthropology, film. We are looking for papers that address (but are not limited to) the following topics:

Women, queer, trans studies,

Displacement or dislocation

Cognitive theory

Film studies


Memory/ Nostalgia/ and retelling of the past

Women as the bastion of culture and tradition

The citizen as an absolute alien or outsider

Graffiti and writing identity

Please submit an abstract of 250-300 words