Event: NeMLA 2020
The creation of space, place, language, and culture sufficient to shape female identities has been contested in American literature from early captivity narratives (Mary Rowlandson) to accounts of slaves hiding to escape capture (Harriet Ann Jacobs) to stories of feeling captured in confining spaces (Charlotte Perkins Gilman). This panel invites broad and deep reflection on what it means for women to carve, sculpt, build, and write into existence an environment in which they can develop their agency and express their creative apprehension of their own realities in relation to the world around them. Consideration will be given to paper proposals that explore both the internal and external environments crafted by women as characters, authors, and artists seeking to establish a realm in which they can exhibit self-determination. Why indeed has it been necessary for women to cultivate a space of their own in order to shape their own identity and share their perceptions of their place in life with those around them? The panel welcomes reflections related to both female and male writers and artists who are considering questions of how women have shaped space to shape the way they see, speak, survive, and succeed in American culture over time.