Gender, Objects, and Welty

deadline for submissions: 
December 1, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Katie Frye / Eudora Welty Society

Eudora Welty Society 

American Literature Association Conference

May 25-28, 2023 / The Westin Copley, Boston, MA

Welty delighted in the quotidian, including the things and consumer goods that shaped it. Her fiction often includes veritable shopping lists of objects–consider Sister’s roster of ragtag items packed for the P.O. or the motley assortment in The Ponder Heart of Uncle Daniel’s “things [...] that he’s given away.” Welty’s attention to the material world also often encompassed her awareness of gender, of the ways in which things afford opportunities for identity formation and self-creation. In considering gender through this lens, readers are left with such questions as, what sociocultural value did these objects have? What do they tell us about gender in Welty’s work, and conversely, what does gender tell us about the representation of things in Welty? 

For this panel, the Eudora Welty Society seeks submissions that consider this intersection between objects and gender in Welty’s oeuvre, including her fiction, essays, and photographs. Topics might include but are not limited to such objects as clothing, cosmetics, detritus, found objects, furniture, monuments, musical instruments, textiles, toys, and works of art. Papers might also explore conspicuous consumption, consumer culture, the objective correlative, gender and performance, thing theory, and trash culture. Papers from interdisciplinary perspectives—history, art, multimedia, philosophy, etc.—are especially encouraged. 

Send abstracts of approximately 250 words and brief bios by December 1st to Katie Frye (katie.frye@pepperdine.edu). Early statements of interest are encouraged.

 Key words: gender, the object word, thing theory, speculative realism, consumer culture.