Of Victorian Interest

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CFP: Romanticism and Gender: The Discontented Divide (1/15/2016; 8/11-14/2016)

University of Berkeley LogoRomanticism and Gender: The Discontented Divide
2016 Annual Conference of the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism
August 11-14, 2016

In 1993, Anne Mellor claimed new territory for gender studies with her re-working of the Romantic ideology. In Romanticism and Gender, she posits two frameworks: a “masculine” romanticism of ego, self, and isolation, versus a “feminine” romanticism rooted in family, community, and others. But, as Mellor herself noted, “the use of a model grounded on polarity [would be] both theoretically dubious and critically confining.” This theoretical heuristic might allow us to uncover women writers and women’s writings of the period, but it would be necessarily limited, dichotomous, and binary—perhaps even inherently male. A differentiated and more expansive taxonomy would eventually be required.

Critics drawing on Mellor’s gendered spectrum have since applied her terms in often-polarizing ways, even in cases that attempt to overcome these gendered binaries. While an array of cross-gendering studies has emerged—incorporating lenses from performativity, masculinity, and feminist studies to gay/lesbian studies and queer theory—few have overcome the boundaries of gender and genre. The “big six” poets largely continue to occupy a separate sphere from their female compatriots.

Discontented with these limited terms, our panel will consider new avenues for studying gender across British Romanticism. The coordinators will posit new methodologies for assessing the relationships—historical and theoretical—between male and female writers. Papers might trace similar epistemologies, strategies, and/or concerns extending across the gendered divide, or may offer comparative approaches that dismantle previous critical ideologies in favor of proposing new, non-binary epistemologies. Specific readings of literary texts as well as theoretical or methodological considerations will be equally welcome.

Please express your interest by submitting a 300-word abstract and CV to tmvcroan@bu.edu by January 15, 2016. Feel free to contact with any questions.

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