Cultural Representations of Social Reproduction (2024 NeMLA panel)

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
contact email: 

This panel will focus on cultural representations of social reproduction. Social reproduction theory developed from a Marxist-feminist concern for typically-unwaged labor performed outside the traditional workplace, demonstrating how this “invisible” work is necessary for the reproduction of a capitalist workforce and social relations as well as the maintenance of life itself. While these theoretical contributions are invaluable, social reproduction is also bound up in practical considerations for activists and organizers across the globe – international feminist efforts to recognize unpaid labor and build collective power against patriarchal capitalist violence such as Wages for Housework, #NiUnaMenos, and Territorio Doméstico, center reproductive labor as the foundation of mutual support and demands for recognition and compensation.

Social reproductive labor remains an invisible cornerstone of the global economy, and those performing this work are uniquely positioned to engage in anti-capitalist community-building and solidarity across borders. Narrative representations of social reproduction may present a vehicle for liberatory theory and practice. In Tiffany Yanique’s novel Land of Love and Drowning, for example, women-led efforts to reclaim the public beaches of the U.S. Virgin Islands (a fictionalization of ongoing efforts to enforce and expand the Open Shorelines Act) demonstrates a unique resistance to capitalist enclosures and reinforces the necessity of communal reproductive space. We are interested in the capacity of cultural mediums like the novel to address issues in social reproduction. How do these narratives provide us with a means to understand and totalize our social reproductive reality? What perspectives do they illuminate, and how do these perspectives uniquely enrich our understanding of reproduction as it exists in theory and practice?

Abstracts are due Sept. 30, 2023, and should be submitted through NeMLA's submission portal here:

NeMLA 2024 will take place in person at Boston, MA on March 7-10, 2024. More information about the convention can be found on the NeMLA website (

Contact Joey Sechrist ( or Nate Dickson ( with any questions!