NEMLA 2022- Representations of the Female Body in Pakistani Literature and Film

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Sameera Abbas
contact email: 

The mind and body binarism and its correlation with the male and female as opposites has been a subject of debate among academic scholars for some time now. Feminists have challenged such dualism and the related assumptions by offering accounts of the relationship between subjectivity, corporeality and identity. These changes in attitudes towards corporeality have also led to a change in treatments of the female characters in literature who once represented as passive and vulnerable seem to have achieved autonomy and control of their bodies and thus their subjectivity. The present panel will focus on the various representations of the female body in the Pakistani literature and media by engaging with related questions about female subjectivity and agency, post-colonialism, nationalism, human rights theory, disability studies etc. 

Keeping in mind, the intimate connection of Pakistani literature with the political history of the country, the panel aims to invite scholars to explore how this literature brings out the intricate relationship of the female bodies with the political history of Pakistan and how representations of the female body might be associated with the national consciousness. Scholars may also examine the representations of tortured and raped female bodies during the course of historical events such as the 1947 and 1971 partitions and their implications about female subjectivity and agency. Furthermore, the literary implications of using the bodies of mothers as nationalist tropes can be excavated to analyze how they impact female identity and citizenship. The panel may also examine Pakistani literary texts for tracing the epistemic colonial and Western legacies in attitudes towards the female body; whether or not the treatment of the female body in these writings has changed over time; and whether these changes in literary representations have any relationship with the contemporary social issues such as ‘My body, My choice’.