53rd NeMLA Convention - Panel: Women's Voices, Women's Lives: Female Identities in Contemporary German Context

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Ph.D. Benedetta Bronzini/ Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia

53rd NeMLA Convention

10-13 March 2022, Baltimore, MD


Although there appears to be a notable amount of literature discussing the topic of gender and media, the relation between gender, identity and their transposition in fiction remains a relevant aspect to be analyzed.

“Frauenliteratur” is the German word used to describe literature “written by/for/about women”. For instance, starting from the leading role of Carolina and Dorothea Schlegel in the German romantic movement up until Hertha Müller, women authors and intellectuals have been active and crucial voices of modern and contemporary German literature. The same can be said about female characters, just think of Lessing’s Emilia Galotti or Friedrich Schlegel’s Lucinde, to quote some of the first relevant examples.Heroines, activists, mothers, killers, abandoned souls, scientists: here some of the main female archetypes that cross Western history, civilization and fiction “tout court”, enlightening about the social perception and idealization of women in their specific context.

From 1991 is the volume Die Frau als Protagonistin und Dichterin im deutschen Mittelalter In 2006 Anja May published Wilhelm Meisters Schwestern: Bildungsromane von Frauen im ausgehenden 18. Jahrhundert, pointing out the female characters in German Bildungsromane. Nowadays the topic has become a part of the so called “Gender Studies” and, on the other hand, it has spread and shattered into various specific focuses of attention.

This panel welcomes papers about female protagonists of contemporary German culture focused on, but not limited to:


Contemporary victims and heroines;

Evolution or explosion of archetypes and stereotypes;

Comparative studies with contemporary non German literature;

Comparative and intermedial studies;

Women protagonists of contemporary Bildungsromane;

Women protagonists of historical fiction;

Women mavericks, outcasts and outsiders.