Gender and Transnational Reception

Mapping the Translation, Circulation and Recognition of Women's Writings in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing, Senate House London
25-26th September 2020

Organised in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing (CCWW) and partially funded by the British Academy, this two-day conference aims at exploring the transnational reception of 20th- and 21st-century literary texts by women (where “woman” is understood beyond cis-normative categories). How are processes of literary reception and consecration gendered and transnationalised? How do transnational networks support the circulation of texts by women? What are the processes that intervene in the recognition or misrecognition of their artistic value, in their own country and abroad? Gender still plays a crucial role in the ways in which a work of art circulates and is received, as the construction and recognition of artistic value is deeply influenced by social structures and the hierarchies that permeates them. On the other hand, the transnational dimension of feminist struggles and thought fosters the circulation of works by women beyond their country of origin, so that they often meet popular success in other countries – the cases of Nicaraguan Gioconda Belli, Nigerian Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Italian Elena Ferrante, for example, are paradigmatic in this sense. Furthermore, since the second half of the 19th century, feminist networks of translators, publishers and intellectuals have worked tirelessly to promote and enable the circulation of works by women.This conference aims at investigating the gendered promotion and reception of works by women on a transnational level. Submissions are welcomed across a range of topics including, but not limited to:

• The role of festivals, prizes, publishers and networks in promoting or marginalizing women’s writings;
• Gendered rhetoric in reviews;
• Comparing and contrasting the reception, position, interpretation and appreciation of writers in their own countries and across other countries;
• Women writers and anthologies: how are women writers anthologised, if at all? How does this affect the reception of their work?
• Transnational influences and genealogies (e.g. the role of authors such as Gertrude Stein, Virginia Woolf, Simone de Beauvoir, Toni Morrison, Maria Zambrano, Audre Lorde, Wisława Szymborska – to name but a few – as transnational points of reference of female genealogies);
• The role of prominent and more established poets and literary critics in promoting or marginalising women’s writing (this could also invite discussion on the role of mentorship and endorsement of specific ‘voices’ rather than others); 
• The relationship between writers and feminist/queer movements;
• The role of international success in sustaining recognition in the writers’ country of origin;
• The reception of transnational writers working across contexts and languages;
• Authorship and critical “tags” e.g. the lesbian novel, black women’s writings, postcolonial women’s writings.

Proposals of no more than 250 words for 20-minute papers and a short bio should be sent by 20 December 2019 to:

Organisers: Dr Alberica Bazzoni (University of Warwick) and Dr Caterina Paoli (University of Warwick)

written by Alice Duhan
12 November, 2019