Tag Archives: symposium

Conference Report: Mythic, Magical and Monstrous Women in Contemporary Women’s Writing

The last of the PG CWWN nationwide symposium series of ‘Women on Women’ for 2012 was held on 20 June at the University of Leicester. Entitled ‘Mythic, Magical and Monstrous Women in Contemporary Women’s Writing’ it was always going to attract a great deal of interest, and did so, both in the quantity of high quality papers presented and in the volume of postgraduates, at many different stages of their research, who attended the event.

The three panel sessions, ‘Grotesque Mothers’, ‘Monstrous Women I’ and then two simultaneously running panels of ‘Gender, Ghosts and Haunting’ and ‘Monstrous Women II’, negotiated the numerous genres in which femininities are presented in contemporary fiction as metafictional signifiers of gender boundaries. From research work on novels and short stories through to film and manga the papers sought to both expose and challenge the continued dominance of patriarchy and stereotypical masculine roles whilst simultaneously exploring the challenges facing females in developing their own sexualities and identities within, and sometimes consciously outside of, the patriarchal system. The dichotomous representations of the mother figure as both revered yet derided, and the non-mother as villain yet an exemplar of emancipation were addressed in many of the papers which were thoughtful, vibrant and provoked lengthy, wide-ranging questioning from the audience. Indeed, the inclusion of gender theory, feminism, queer theory, historiography and film theory throughout the speakers’ presentations created the opportunity for much discussion throughout the day.

The keynote speaker to round off this fascinating day was Dr Becky Munford, Senior Lecturer in the School of English, Communication and Philosophy at Cardiff University. With research interests in feminism and gender, twentieth century women’s writing and Angela Carter in particular, she was perfectly placed, in light of the event’s overall themes and subsequent discussion, to give her keynote speech on ‘Writing in Blood and Dust: Angela Carter and the Sadeian Gothic’. This proved to be as entertaining as it was enlightening, receiving a very warm reception and subject to lively and varied questioning from an enraptured audience.

One of the most appreciated components of the event, and commented upon by numerous attendees, was its overriding friendliness. Those giving papers, from first-time presenters to those more experienced at presenting their research, were very lucky to be doing so in such a supportive and encouraging environment. The venue itself was easy to find and delegates were warmly greeted by the PG CWWN steering group, replete with name badges and conference packs for delegates. Lunch time arrangements merit some praise, too – a welcome cold buffet lunch, given the tremendous heat of the day that continued to keep everyone satiated well into the afternoon sessions. To complete the event, a wine reception, and a great opportunity to utilise this time for networking with other researchers, sent everyone home smiling and with a great deal of food for thought.

Overall, this well-organised and smooth-running conference day was indicative of the exciting and stimulating research which notably strengthens the interdisciplinary cohesiveness between such subjects as English, philosophy, history, film studies and sociology as it explores the continued representation of gender in twenty-first century creative works. It became very clear throughout the day that there is much valid work to be done in the consideration of, and challenge to, the multifarious nature of the mythic, monstrous and fairy tale woman as a (self-) perpetuation of gender stereotypes in modern culture, and that the postgraduate community is particularly pro-active in this strand of research. I can only say that, after such an inspiring PG CWWN event, I look forward immensely to April 2013 and the next PG CWWN conference in Belfast.

 

Claire Cowling, Open University

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Full Event Details: Global Relationships in Contemporary Women’s Writing

Sister Earth: Global Relationships in Contemporary Women’s Writing

Thursday 26 April 2012, 2.00 – 7.00pm

Goldsmiths (University of London)

Keynote Guest: Bernardine Evaristo 
(Blonde Roots, Lara, Soul Tourists and The Emperor’s Babe)

The PG CWWN would like to invite you to ‘Sister Earth: Global Relationships in Contemporary Women’s Writing’, a free postgraduate symposium taking place on the afternoon of Thursday 26 April at Goldsmiths (University of London).

At the close of the twentieth century, feminists such as Audre Lorde, Susan Stanford Friedman and Sara Ahmed urged women to look beyond their local and national communities. Since 2000, contemporary women’s writing has sought inspiration from the idea of an increasingly global community. Women from a variety of locations have produced a number of works that engage with transnational and global relationships, including Bernardine Evaristo, Aminatta Forna, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Isabel Allende, Ahdaf Soueif, Radwa Ashour, Suniti Namjoshi, Leila Ahmed and Doris Lessing, amongst many others. This half-day symposium seeks to both address and celebrate the global outlook of contemporary women’s writing.

The symposium shall commence at 2.00pm (in New Academic Building 326) with papers on a diverse range of subjects from postgraduate researchers. The event shall close with a very special reading from Bernardine Evaristo, award winning writer and editor of fiction and verse (including Blonde Roots, Lara, Soul Tourists and The Emperor’s Babe). Bernardine shall be reading selections from her varied work, focusing on extracts that address the symposium’s theme of transnational and global relationships. This will the be followed by a Q&A session with the audience (6.00pm in Richard Hoggart Building 256). All attendees are invited to the post-event wine reception.

Attendance is free and open to all (all levels of students, members of the public etc.): if you would like to attend, please email women@pgcwwn.org with your name.

Additional Information:

We look forward to welcoming you on Thursday.

PG CWWN Steering Group, with the support of the English & Comparative Literature Department, Goldsmiths (University of London)

CFP: Mythic, Magical & Monstrous Women in Contemporary Women’s Writing


Mythic, Magical & Monstrous Women in Contemporary Women’s Writing

A half day symposium at the University of Leicester

Wednesday 20th June 2012

Keynote Speaker: Dr Becky Munford

From Angela Carter’s subversive fairytales in The Bloody Chamber (1979) to Michele Roberts’ monstrous bodies, from Ali Smith’s mythic rewriting in Girl Meets Boy (2007) to A.S. Byatt’s metamorphic monsters, the themes of myth, magic and the monstrous continue to preoccupy contemporary women writers who repeatedly turn to such themes as a means of challenging the frequently distorted images of gender proffered by patriarchal representations of women. This symposium seeks to address why the magical, mythical and the monstrous continue to remain prominent in contemporary women’s writing and explore how such tropes and topics continue to be deployed and reworked by authors to represent women in fiction.

Topics may include (but are not limited to):

  • Magical realism
  • Revisions of myths, fairytales and folklore
  • Rewriting stereotypes (hagiography and folklore)
  • Monstrous women
  • Retelling oral (hi)storytales
  • Magic, myth and monsters in genre fiction, short stories and children’s literature
  • Representations of women as ‘Other’
  • Ghosts and the Occult (dark side of magic)
  • Sci-fi

Please submit abstracts of 250 words for 20 minute papers via email to women@pgcwwn.org. Please state ‘Leicester’ in the title of your email. The deadline for proposals is 6 April 2012.

CFP: Sister Earth: Global Relationships in Contemporary Women’s Writing

Sister Earth: Global Relationships in Contemporary Women’s Writing

A half day symposium at Goldsmiths (University of London)

Thursday 26th April 2012

Keynote Speaker: Bernardine Evaristo

At the close of the twentieth century, feminists such as Audre Lorde, Susan Stanford Friedman and Sara Ahmed urged women to look beyond their local and national communities. Since 2000, contemporary women’s writing has sought inspiration from the idea of an increasingly global community. Women from a variety of locations have produced a number of works that engage with transnational and global relationships, including Aminatta Forna, Bernardine Evaristo, Kamila Shamsie, Andrea Levy, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Tahmima Anam, amongst many others. This half-day symposium seeks to both address and celebrate the global outlook of contemporary women’s writing.

Topics may include (but are not limited to):

  •  Contemporary women’s writing in the diaspora
  • Friendship, family, romance and sexual relationships
  • Global influences on language, form and genre in the global era
  • Engagement with theories of transnational feminism
  • The global legacies of slavery and colonialism and/or globalisation
  • Immigrant women and the cosmopolitan city
  • The contemporary portrayal of women and religion

Please submit abstracts of 250 words for 20 minute papers via email to women@pgcwwn.org. Please state ‘Goldsmiths’ in the title of your email. The deadline for proposals is 13 April 2012.

CFP: ‘Queer Sisterhoods’ in Contemporary Women’s Writing

PG CWWN invite abstract submissions for this half day symposium at Queen’s University, Belfast.

‘Queer Sisterhoods’ in Contemporary Women’s Writing
A half-day symposium at Queen’s University Belfast.
29th February 2012.

Keynote speaker: Dr. Tina O’Toole

Emma Donoghue’s recent work Inseparable: Desire between Women in Literature seeks to trace the portrayal of female desire from medieval times. Passion has been marked by ‘excess, infraction, deviance. From the very beginnings of literature, women who desire other women tend to rampage across the boundaries of the acceptable’. This half-day symposium seeks to investigate how women interact with other women in contemporary literature. To what extent do friendships between women remain transgressive? How have depictions of female passion changed? How is identity mediated by sexuality?

Topics may include but are by no means limited to:
· Literary relationships between women
· Constructions of femininity
· Censorship and publication
· Transgender and identity politics
· Popular culture and queer theory
· Friendship and desire
· Local and national aspects of sexuality

Abstracts should be sent to women@pgcwwn.org by 10th February 2012.

Full CFP