CFP: 3 Women In French sessions at NeMLA 2022!

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Anne Brancky
contact email: 

THREE Women in French-sponsored sessions at NeMLA 2022 in Baltimore, March 10-13.   Proposed abstracts (~250 words) should be submitted to the NeMLA portal by September 30, 2021. 

Roundtable: Professional Issues around Women, Work and Care


The pandemic has been especially catastrophic for working women and for those in precarious employment positions, including contingent faculty, the underemployed, low-wage workers and freelancers. This roundtable invites participants to explore professional issues that have been exacerbated or illuminated by the pandemic related to working conditions, dependent care, racial equity, pay, pedagogy, accessibility and accountability. How have we been called on to care for others? Where have we been stretched too thin? How can we establish mutual support? What can we learn from each other’s successes in making change at individual institutions? What might the future of the profession look like? What can we do to influence and shape this future? 

Topics may include: racial equity, caretaking, job precarity, online teaching, resources, parental and sick leave, sabbaticals, research, tenure, the review process, retirement, graduate school, stipends, funding, etc.




Panel: Maternal Care in Contemporary Quebecois Fiction(Sara Giguère and Anne Brancky, co-chairs) Birthing gives rise to an ambiguous relationship between mother and child. On one hand, because it is gratuitous (preceded by no request and unencumbered by any requirement of restitution, it is impossible to reciprocate), the gift of birth constitutes an irrecoverable debt contracted by the child. On another hand, childbirth engages the mother (sometimes in spite of herself) in an unconditional act of giving to her child. Is the mother then also indebted to her child for having imposed this fatality on them? Is the mother motivated by a desire to be forgiven for the curse accompanying the gift of life? Can the mother end her sacrifice? Can the child? Does the child have to symbolically and/or literally "kill" or "abandon" their mother to become an individual? In what ways does care turn to cruelty when it is preceded and regulated by the logics of the gift and the counter-gift, of sacrifice and of debt?


Contemporary Quebecois writers such as Ying Chen, Marie-Célie Agnant, Martine Delvaux, Nelly Arcan, Katherine Raymond, Marie Sissi-Labrèche and Lori St-Martin have explored the entangled, perplexing, deeply loving and sometimes painful relationships between mothers and their children. Themes of sacrifice, attachment, unconditional love, separation and jealousy support and enrich fascinating portraits and theories of motherhood. This panel seeks to explore how the care that one gives or receives can have a cruel edge and become a burden. Papers focusing on Quebecois fiction are encouraged, but papers dealing with all francophone regions will be considered.  Panel: Women and the Invisible Labor of Care 

So much of the caretaking that makes the world turn falls into the category of “invisible labor” or “invisible work.” It is underpaid, ignored, maligned and marginalized. Yet many writers, thinkers and filmmakers have focused their attention on this essential but unseen labor of care. In her recent work, Françoise Vergès has emphasized capitalism’s fundamental reliance on the invisible cleaning and care work undertaken largely by women of color. “The cleaners’ invisibility,” she writes, “is required and naturalized.” This invisibility is duplicated in cultural representation. Feminist theorists like Janelle Hobson and bell hooks critique the absence and erasure of Black women in film and offer oppositional ways of looking that create new forms of agency. In her work, Assia Djebar has explored and exposed the invisible worlds of women in domestic spaces and of Europe’s obsession with visually penetrating those worlds. 


This panel seeks to direct our gaze to the unseen, invisible work of care undertaken by women in literature, film and other cultural artefacts. Who cares for whom? What kind of care is unseen? How do writers, artists and filmmakers draw our attention to these otherwise invisible responsibilities, charges, nourishments? What happens when light is shone on this work of care? How does it open to new perspectives, new approaches, new epistemologies?