Niagara Falls, New York
Voices from the Asylum
The nearby Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane (1880), now the Richardson Olmsted campus, serves as a visible reminder of the national conversation about asylums and the treatment of insanity in the 19th century. Scholars interested in figures such as Elizabeth Parsons Ware Packard, who was institutionalized by her husband against her will and who later advocated for the rights of married women after winning her release, have noted the connection between this conversation and the debate about women’s rights and role. This panel invites abstracts for papers that explore the role of the asylum in 19th-century American women’s literature. Papers might explore this topic from a variety of genres, including fiction, memoirs, poetry, and letters. Papers might also explore this topic from a variety of perspectives: How is the asylum represented? What role does it play in a literary work? Is the asylum viewed from the outside or the inside? How are doctors, superintendents, and/or staff members depicted? How is treatment represented—as a legitimate form of rehabilitation or as a form of discipline and control that traumatizes and silences patients? How is insanity and its causes depicted? The larger goal of this session is to examine the intersection of asylums and gender in women’s literature.
Please submit 200-300 word abstracts to https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/CFP
Deadline: September 30, 2022