Advanced Research Consortium on Gender, Culture and the Knowledge Society

Call for Papers

Behind the Lines

Women, War and Letters, 1880-1920

Date and Time: 9 and 10 June 2012
Venue: University of Limerick

Plenary Speakers:
Professor Lucy McDiarmid (Montclair State University)
Professor Matthew Campbell (University of York)

Proposals are invited for a two-day literary conference titled Behind the Lines: Women, War and Letters, 1880-1920, organised as part of a research cluster within the University of Limerick and NUI Galway Gender ARC. The conference will be held at the University of Limerick.

The aim of this conference is to interrogate the literary tropes and political constructions through which women’s writing conceptualises conflict. In Ireland, to engage with national politics and national conflicts in the period between the Land War and partition was to find oneself grappling with gendered norms and expectations, through which distinctive modes of patriotic action could be validated or naturalised, but also re-interpreted or condemned. At the same time, in an international context, imperial and colonial conflicts of the late nineteenth-century opened up new conceptions of space and national identity, while in the early twentieth century the First World War produced a sustained literary re-evaluation of cultures of militarisms and masculinity. These political events were, however, taking place alongside a series of other conflicts, conflicts centred around disruptions of norms of gendered behaviour and class alignments, as well as disruptions of literary norms with the rise of Modernism. What meanings accrue to these colliding agendas, needs, and practices? How can we discover them?

Papers may address, but are not limited to:

  • Gender and conflict in literature
  • Women’s nation-building narratives
  • Imperial femininities in literature, life-writing, travel writing, and/or epistolary writing.
  • Genre and conflict
  • Literary representations of women soldiers and non-combatants in conflict zones
  • Pacifism and conflict resolution in women’s writing
  • Sexualities in war narratives
  • Feminism and war
  • Literature as portable heritage: memorialising and commemorating national conflicts
  • Literary constructions of memory and trauma in the context of national struggle
  • Transnational solidarity in women’s war writing

Proposals of approx. 250 words should be sent to: by 31 March 2012.

Conference organisers: Professor Margaret Mills Harper (UL), Dr. Tina O’Toole (UL), Dr. Muireann O Cinneide (NUIG).

To download a Word copy of this CFP, click here.

Advanced Research Consortium on Gender, Culture and the Knowledge Society