Vernon Press book chapter proposals for a forthcoming edited volume, "Women Representing Women: A Transnational Perspective", edited by Simona Wright and Lidia Radi.
Throughout the centuries, the male gaze has represented women in the arts, literature, cinema, and photography from an essentialized perspective, producing a hegemonic paradigm imbued with the notion of universality and eternity. In this venerable century-long operation, female bodies have been subjected to a set of fixed and enduring rules that have prejudiced their existence and impaired their agency to the point of silencing them and distorting their subjectivity. As Laura Mulvey states, the pleasure of looking instantiated by the desiring male gaze produced a set of narrative conventions that determined values, roles, and functions of femininity and legitimized ways of seeing that are “key elements in the construction of modern subjectivity” (Mulvey 2001, 5).
With Women Representing Women. A Transnational Perspective, we intend to provide a set of counter-narratives based on feminist, gender and sexuality theory, socio-historical perspectives, and eco-critical readings as we seek to investigate the representation of women by female artists, authors, thinkers, and directors within a transnational and transversal context. We welcome all artistic, cultural, and media productions that examine how women have portrayed themselves or other females throughout the centuries in transnational, diasporic, and trans-historical spaces. How are females’ struggles, battles, and successes depicted in the context of fluid linguistic, trans-historical, and transnational cultural identities? How do women artists, authors, photographers, and filmmakers, among others, interpellate, challenge, frame, and negotiate the patriarchal system with its societal and cultural expectations about them? Moreover, what role does geographic, linguistic, cultural, political, or class displacement play in the context of female subjectivity and agency?
We aim to borrow Homi Bhabha’s and Judith Butler’s notions to study female artists’ and authors’ representation of women as they produce a metaphorical “cultural translation.” For both Benjamin and Butler, cultural translation happens at the linguistic level, when words transmigrate from language to language, deviating from their original formulation to create alternative perspectives and narratives. We believe that women representing women operate, at the level of discourse, in an analogous way. They produce versions of reality that, in their “close but not quite” form, challenge any notion of mimicry to promote instead a dynamic subjectivity as it is imaginative and defiant. In other words, our objective with this volume is to encourage a re-signification of the female representation by national and transnational women authors, implicating those voices that mediate between the asymmetries of contextual reality and the dissonance of utterances they engender.
We welcome essays that examine how gendered transnational, trans-cultural, and trans-historical experiences affect female authors and their protagonists. How are internal personal struggles confronted, elaborated, and resolved? How does a transnational context impact and shape representation? How are female subjectivity and agency explored, developed, and constructed in the background of socio-economic, political, and cultural globalization?
Special attention is given to the arts, figurative, cinematic, and photographic, in a transnational and trans-historical perspective, but also to the shaping of languages, discourses, and narratives. How have female artists re-presented female protagonists and characters? How do they summon their world and cultural reality? How do they narrate marginality and/or erasure within a patriarchal system dominated by heteronormativity? How do they find new ways of representation that break away from canonic and time-honored notions of what is art, literature, and culture?
We welcome critical studies that have an interdisciplinary perspective and explore representations of subjectivity and agency from the point of view of gender and sexuality studies, nomadic studies, feminist studies, environmental studies, and migration studies, but also from the perspective of the politics of authorship, power, and legitimation.
If you are interested in contributing a chapter to the book, please send an abstract (500 words) with a selected bibliography and a bio (200 words) to Simona Wright (email@example.com) and Lidia Radi (firstname.lastname@example.org) by March 15, 2023.