(Extended Deadline Oct. 15) NeMLA 2022: Sex in Literature After #MeToo

deadline for submissions: 
October 15, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association
contact email: 

In recent years there has been increased attention to conversations concerning consent, sexual violence, and rape. The stories of survivors have been an important tool for informing the public about these issues and providing healing. First-hand nonfiction accounts of sexual violence like A Woman in Berlin, Know My Name, and Willow Weep for Me have helped to destigmatize conversations about rape and sexual assault and problematized mainstream understandings of these concepts. Novels like The Handmaid’s Tale have also been able to question what sex and pleasure could look like within a rape culture. On the other hand, feminist critics have underscored the problems with mainstream representations of sex, particularly those written by cis-male authors.

This panel invites projects concerning sex in literature. What problematic depictions of sex might need re-examining in our current context? How have people who have experienced rape and sexual assault represented those experiences and/or their impacts? How has literature been able to represent sex that is joyful, pleasurable, and equitable?

Potential topics:

--The potential for certain depictions of sexual violence to retraumatize readers

--How literature can be healing and the limits to that impulse

--How race influences representations of sexual violence and the people who experience it

--How sexual violence is used to discipline bodies

--How can literature help to critique and/or dismantle rape culture?

--Importance of witnessing and affirming the stories of survivors

--Class critiques of representations of sexual violence in literature

--Representations of sexual violence against trans and non-binary people


This panel will be held in person at NeMLA's annual convention in Baltimore between March 10-13, 2022.


Please submit your proposal via the NeMLA portal by October 15th, 2021:  


You may direct any inquiries to Kellie Sharp (kelliesh@buffalo.edu).