Organization: Women in French
CALL FOR ARTICLE SUBMISSIONS
Women in French Studies
2024 Special Topics Issue
Out of Confinement: Creativity in Constraint
“True enclosure was surely a state of mind.”
—Anchorites, Wombs and Tombs: Intersections of Gender and Enclosure in the Middle Ages
In March 2020, the word confinement suddenly became an unwelcome part of everyday lexicon, as lockdown, quarantine, and stay-at-home orders were issued worldwide to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Within the household, mandatory confinement exacerbated women’s perennially uneven obligation to engage in invisible labor—whether middle-class women working from home, or working-class women compelled to risk their health so that others could abide by the imperative to stay in. Both within and outside the home, women were disproportionately tasked with “essential,” racialized and gendered, structurally invisible forms of labor, including childcare, cleaning, healthcare, food preparation, and eldercare.
Since the early modern period, accounts of women’s experiences in voluntary or forced confinement have been richly explored in works by French-language writers as diverse as Marie de France, Marguerite de Navarre, Assia Djebar, and Marie Darrieussecq, to name a few. On the one hand, representations of confinement can confirm that gender disparities are exacerbated when burdens are unequally shouldered by women during periods of confinement. On the other hand, representations of cloister or retreat that express the fantasy of liberatory or self-actualizing confinement, in explicitly repudiating familial or social obligations, can unsettle the caregiving roles traditionally assigned to women, as spouses, mothers, or daughters.
This special topics issue of Women in French Studies (2024) seeks to explore work created by confined women and work that represents confined women, from the early modern period to the present-day. We will ask how the confinement of women as depicted in fictional and non-fictional texts (in any media) informs, reflects and interrogates gendered conditions of existence. How have confined women been represented in literature, film and art? What kind of thinking or writing is produced by women out of conditions of confinement? What are the impacts of confinement on creative production? How does physical confinement change how we consume texts? We invite proposals from all historic periods, genres, and geographic regions.
Suggested topics include:
- cloisters, convents
- imprisonment, incarceration
- segregated confinement (solitary confinement))/home confinement (house arrest)
- stay-at-home mothers (domestic confinement)
- the “hold” and conditions of enslavement
- COVID-19 “Stay-at-home” orders
- anchorites and anchoresses
- hostage situations/kidnapping
- disability, design and space
- bourgeois refuge, rural life, the “country house”
- artist studio, artist space, residency, retreat
Please submit abstracts of 250-300 words, in French or in English, to Anne Brancky (email@example.com) and Youna Kwak (firstname.lastname@example.org) by August 15, 2022. Notification of acceptance will be made in September 2022, with final drafts of selected articles due April 2023. Articles should be about 6,500 words in length (including notes and works cited), following WIF submission guidelines.
WOMEN IN FRENCH, an Allied Organization of the Modern Language Association and a member of the Council of Editors of Learned Journals, exists to promote the study of women and women writers in the French-speaking world, as well as to share information and concerns about the status of women in Francophone countries and in higher education in North America. WOMEN IN FRENCH STUDIES, a publication of WIF, is a refereed journal published yearly, with special topics issues appearing every two years. WIF Studies is available online on the Project Muse website.