Self Experiments in Contemporary Women’s Writing (Part 1) (Panel)


Women's and Gender Studies / American/Diaspora

Callie Ingram (SUNY University at Buffalo)

Tracing back to Western moral and political conceptions of the self that highly value rationality, autonomy, and individual agency, masculinized ideals of selfhood are still pervasive today—for example, in the championing of individual freedom over interdependence or rational thought over emotion. Feminist critiques have long worked to both expose these dominant notions of selfhood as gendered and ideological and to reconceptualize the self beyond their terms. For women writers of literature, however, because literary aesthetics are inextricably linked to representations of selfhood—through the voice of the narrator/speaker, depictions of interiority and subjective experience, representations of literary characters, etc.—putting these dominant views of selfhood into question or presenting alternative conceptions of the self often result in experiments with literary genre, form, and media.

This panel will explore how contemporary women writers represent, play with, and critique ideas of selfhood through experimental writing. Papers are welcome that examine how women writers use formal experimentation, genre-blurring, undervalued literary and cultural forms, or other kinds of experimental writing in order to challenge dominant conceptions of the self and/or selfhood.

This panel explores how contemporary women writers represent, play with, and critique ideas of selfhood through experimental writing.