Decentering the White Male Gaze: Inclusivity and Diverse Voices in Beowulf Studies (NeMLA 2022)
Beowulf studies has traditionally been the domain of white male scholars who have historically dominated both the scholarship and translations of the poem. This session seeks to decenter the white male gaze and invites novel perspectives from often marginalized voices in the field to contribute to the many ongoing academic conversations focused on Beowulf.
Although in the field of Beowulf studies, Beowulf has long been regarded as a poem about men and for men, this session rejects such notions and seeks to highlight the formative role women play both in the poem and in the scholarship. Moreover, this session intends to explore the role of race in both the poem and the scholarship, and scholars of color, who have even more underrepresented that women in the field, are especially encouraged to submit proposals. Some recommended topics might include discussion of the role of women in the poem or women’s contributions to scholarship and translations of Beowulf. Other recommended topics might include exploring the role of race and tribalism in the poem, examining the effects of ethno-nationalism and toxic masculinity on interpretations of Beowulf and its literary afterlives, highlighting scholars of color’s contributions to Beowulf studies or centering the perspectives of the monsters.