NeMLA 2014 CFP - Vexing Gender in 19th-Century American Women's Writing

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45th Annual Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) April 3-6, 2014 Harrisburg, Pennsylvania cfp
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When existing conditions actively work to suppress women's expression, how can the female subject assert herself? Performing female selfhood becomes a vexed notion in the context of nineteenth-century American women's writing, in which women faced "separate spheres" ideology, the cult of domesticity, and other complex and often-contradictory social circumstances necessitating private performance of idealized gender roles as a means towards securing financial survival in the public sphere.

With idealized femininity being both conscious performance and survival strategy, how does the space between depiction of and satirization/critique of gender roles manifest in women's writing from this time? How do nineteenth-century American women writers engage the space between performing idealized gender roles and affirming or challenging those roles? How do they depict the female subject who negotiates between real self and role self to navigate the world? This panel seeks essays investigating the relationship between engaging, endorsing, and repudiating restrictive gender roles in nineteenth-century American women's literature.

Topics may include: the cult of domesticity, the Poetess figure, antebellum aesthetics, literary sentimentality, variations on the "angel at the hearth" trope etc. Essays focusing on works by specific writers are welcome, as are comparative essays investigating thematic connections throughout a selection of works.

Please send 300-500 word abstracts and 100-word bios to Mary Ellen Iatropoulos at

Deadline: September 30, 2013

45th Annual Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) April 3-6, 2014 Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Host: Susquehanna University
Deadline: September 30, 2013

Please include with your abstract:
Name and Affiliation
Email address
Postal address
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A/V requirements (if any; $10 handling fee with registration)

The 2014 NeMLA convention continues the Association's tradition of sharing innovative scholarship in an engaging and generative location. This capitol city set on the Susquehanna River is known for its vibrant restaurant scene, historical sites, the National Civil War museum, and nearby Amish Country, antique shops and Hershey Park. NeMLA has arranged low hotel rates of $104-$124. The 2014 event will include guest speakers, literary readings, professional events, and workshops.

Convention participants may present a paper at a panel and also present at a creative session or participate in a roundtable.