CfP: Theorizing Narrative Genres and Gender (Event: Bochum), Deadline: 01.11.2008

Proposals are invited for an international two-day conference to be held at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (Germany), on 15 and 16 May 2009.

Organised within the framework of the project NEWW (New approaches to European Women’s Writing), this conference would like to discuss

  1. the ways in which certain narrative genres (novels, short stories, fairy tales, autobiographies, personal diaries, etc.) have been gendered, and
  2. the impact that these texts have had on readers, both men and women.
  3. Finally, what consequences have readers reactions and the gendered critical discourse had for the formation and development of narrative literary genres?

Recent research, for example on the feminocentrism of the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century French and English novel, on narratology or on the differences between female and male reading, has shown that not only is the literary discourse tied to issues of gender, but the metadiscourse is equally imbued with it; the „querelles des femmes“ were frequently intertwined with literary disputes.

In keeping with the NEWW’s objectives, the conference will cover a relatively long time period, extending from 1400 to 1900, and will also present contributions treating European literatures that are considered marginal.

Contributors could address the following issues:

  • the effects that literary genres (e.g., the novel) were supposed to have on a female public;
  • the relationships between morality and literature, between realism and idealism;
  • the impact of the concept of gender on key aesthetic notions;
  • the consequences for literary history;
  • the mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion in literary movements;
  • the gendered quality of literary theory and narratology

Contributions will preferably move beyond individual cases and attempt to expand the discussion within a theoretical perspective. Proposals (approximately 250 words) in French or English, the conference languages, may be sent to the organisers Suzan van Dijk, Universiteit Utrecht ( and Lieselotte Steinbrügge, Ruhr-Universität Bochum ( Contributions should be 20 minutes long. The articles resulting from this meeting will be published; a committee of readers will make a selection.

Deadline for proposals: 1 November 2008.

The focus of the project NEWW (New approaches to European Women’s Writing, 2007-2010) is the position of women writers (active before 1900) in the national and international literary field of their epochs and the place of women in the historiography of European literature up to 1900. See NEWW held its first conference, „Femmes écrivains à la croisée des langues, 1700-2000“ (Women Writers at the Crossroads of Languages), in May 2007 in Geneva; a volume of articles based on the conference papers is in preparation under the direction of Agnese Fidecaro, Henriette Partzsch, Suzan van Dijk and Valérie Cossy. It will be published by MétisPresses in Geneva. The second conference, „Readers, Writers, Salonnières: Female Networks in Europe, 1700-1900“, took place in May 2008 in Chawton, Hampshire (UK). A selection of papers will be published.

Suzan van Dijk
Utrecht University OGC Faculty of Humanities
Janskerkhof 13 3512 BL Utrecht Netherlands Phone 00 31 30 253 7980
Visit the website at


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