Reading and Theorizing Rape Culture

(Panel)


Women's and Gender Studies / Cultural Studies and Media Studies

Sarah Hildebrand (Graduate Center, CUNY)

Narrative representations of rape culture are everywhere—from literary (non)fiction to mainstream media—and shape our attitudes and beliefs. While some narratives laudably reveal the structural nature of sexual violence and the damage of its aftermath, others serve to reinforce rape myths that perpetuate ideas of “real” rape, create stereotypes of victims and perpetrators based on race and gender, and ultimately shame survivors into silence. Roxane Gay defines rape culture as “a culture where we are inundated, in different ways, by the idea that male aggression and violence toward women is acceptable and often inevitable.” Especially in the wake of the #MeToo movement, critical attention must be paid to the ways this rape culture informs and is informed by narrative representations.

This panel invites explorations of narratives that document the wide spectrum of harm caused by gender-based violence (ranging from microaggressions to rape) and theoretical interventions in the ways we interpret them. Questions to consider may include: How has rape culture influenced literary studies? How have narratives depicting rape culture and our theories of interpretation changed over time and/or across space? How have literary narratives supported or subverted rape culture? How might we read, write, and teach these narratives in ethically responsible ways? Papers may address the theme of rape culture across time periods, nations, and genres—including TV and film. PoC encouraged to apply.


This panel invites explorations of narratives that document the wide spectrum of harm caused by gender-based violence (ranging from microaggressions to rape) and theoretical interventions in the ways we interpret them. How has rape culture influenced literary studies? How have narratives depicting rape culture and our theories of interpretation changed over time or across space? How have literary narratives supported or subverted rape culture? How might we read, write, and teach these narratives in ethically responsible ways? Papers may address the theme of rape culture across time periods, nations, and genres—including TV and film. PoC encouraged to apply.