Women in Trouble in Contemporary Cinema: 46th Annual Convention of NeMLA, Toronto, 30 April - 3 May 2015

full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association

Women lost, isolated, backed into corners – the troubled woman pervades contemporary culture. This panel invites papers that address representations of breakdown, loss of identity, obsession, violence, victimization, criminality, and other kinds of trouble. What is this trouble? Is trouble necessarily a bad thing? Does trying to get out of trouble always lead to more trouble?

All women are, by definition, in trouble. From the loss of identity to obsession and addiction to juridical punishment, trouble can result from both real and symbolic institutional violence – the kind that is evident in families, churches, and schools, as well as asylums and prisons. Having desires, and especially sexual desires, in excess of institutional mandates, is both dangerous and subversive. The desiring woman is in danger because she has forfeited the protection these institutions provide. She is subversive because she reveals these institutions as mechanisms of control and punishment, mechanisms which put her in danger.

This panel seeks to explore cinematic representations of the woman in trouble. How is trouble brought to bear on women's lives? How can trouble provide alternatives to traditional discourses about identity? How are women in trouble a necessary part of constructing and maintaining the social fabric? How can women choose trouble as a form of subversion? Is trouble something that finds a woman or something that a woman finds? Is it possible, or even desirable, for women to stay out of trouble? The threat or inevitability of trouble demonstrates a need for the analysis of this particular aspect of the female condition.

Link to this session here: https://nemla.org/convention/2015/cfp.html#cfp15047, or go to www.nemla.org and follow the instructions there to create a user account and submit an abstract.