CFP: Women Writing War Trauma (conference panel)

45th Annual Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
April 3-6, 2014
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Host: Susquehanna University

Panel: Women Writing War Trauma

“To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric,” Theodor Adorno famously pronounced in 1949, indicating, among other things, that theHolocaust presents a radical problem of representation. Indeed, the paradox at the heart of Trauma Theory is that traumatic experience both demands a story and defies communicability; it is the unspeakable that nevertheless has to be told. And in the past decade or so, scholars have begun to investigate how gender factors into this problem, a problem that extends to trauma literature in general. Thus the testimonials by female survivors of the Holocaust are gaining considerable attention, while memoirs by female soldiers of Iraq and Afghanistan bear witness to the trauma of a combat experience made all the more catastrophic by institutionalized sexual persecution.

This panel seeks to investigate how gender affects not only the traumatic experience itself, but also the narration of traumatic experience, by women writing about war. The “writing” may take the form of memoir, fiction, poetry, film, or other, more experimental modes of narration, such as blogging. The goal of this panel is to bring together a diverse range of material and perspectives that will move the discussion of gender and trauma beyond a simple comparison of men’s and women’s trauma, and into the gendered politics of writing itself.

Please send 300-500 word abstracts and brief biographical statements to Jenny Kijowski,

Please include with your abstract:
Name and Affiliation
Email address
Postal address
Telephone number
A/V requirements (if any; $10 handling fee with registration)

enny Kijowski
CUNY Graduate Center
Visit the website at

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