NeMLA 2023 -- The Body that Remains

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Marina Malli, Binghamton University
contact email: 

The theme of NeMLA 2023 is Resilience, and on a fundamental and visceral level resistance is located in the body that suffers or is threatened with disappearance.

In a poststructuralist turn, we might be tempted by the declaration that there is “nothing outside the text.” Judith Butler, in fact, suggests that postmodern feminist theory is sometimes accused of turning sex into a discursive category, and then they object that poststructuralism has made the body irrelevant. In an absolute sense, Butler argues, sometimes the body is thought “not only [to be] made by language, but made of language” (Senses of the Subject 19; emphasis original). Such a thinking, though, negates the materiality of the body and denies any extralinguistic presence; it assumes an absolute dependence of the body on language. Butler proceeds to argue that the body is not “reducible to language” (21). The body and language become inextricably melded, as linguistic production becomes impossible without the body while, at the same time and despite language’s efforts to conceal and contain it, the body keeps reemerging.

This panel seeks to examine representations of marginalized bodies in literature that persist and persevere in and through the text. I am interested in the materiality of the body as a source of resistance, particularly, but not exclusively, the female gendered body or the body whose precarity is highlighted in the literature. One can think of Sethe’s body in Toni Morrison’s Beloved whose scars have formed “a tree” or the enslaved body that resists its own disappearance. I particularly welcome entries on Transatlantic or World literature, but any abstracts dealing with the topic in literature of any period will be considered.


The 54th NeMLA Annual Convention will take place in Niagara Falls, NY on March 23-26, 2023.


Please submit a 200-300 word abstract and a short bio.

Abstracts accepted now through Sep 30, 2022. (Membership is not required to submit abstracts.)

Abstracts must be submitted through the NeMLA online portal:


For more information on submitting an abstract online, see

For questions about the panel, please contact Marina Malli (