Saturday and Sunday at NeMLA 2014: “Vexing Gender” and “Can The Subaltern Be A Superhero?”

I am in Harrisburg right now, and in addition to working as marketing coordinator for the 2014 meeting of the Northeast Modern Language Association, I also have the honor to be part of two exciting sets of panels, two parts of them taking place back-to-back Saturday afternoon.  As with previous sessions of NeMLA, scholars are making important contributions to studies of gender studies, popular cultural studies, and nineteenth-century American studies, and I am happy to be a part of these conversations.

First, “The Con in Convention: Vexing Gender in 19th-Century American Women’s Writing” begins Saturday, April 5, at 1:30 PM in the Hilton Harrisburg (Second Floor, Metropolitan A Room), featuring four presentations that look at how women writers negotiated various gender roles.  Presentations include:

“Messing with Minds: A Cognitive Exploration of Readers’ Emotional Response to Behind a Mask,” Andrew Higgins, SUNY New Paltz

“Who Will Reign and Who Will Serve:  Domesticating the Self in Elizabeth Stoddard’s The Morgesons,Paula Kot, Niagara University

“Sojourner Truth’s Household Lessons and Domestic Activism at Freedman’s Village,” Derek McGrath, Stony Brook University

“Laughing and Crying Behind Her Mask: Code-Switching and Sentimental Strategy in Fern’s Ruth Hall,” Mary Ellen Iatropoulous, Independent Scholar

Then at 3:15 PM, NeMLA will host the first part of “Can the Subaltern Be a Superhero? The Politics of Heroic Alterity.” This two-part session considers how texts have responded to expectations based around, among many topics, race, nation, gender, and sexuality work through the concept of the superhero.  The first session, “US Edition,” will be at the Hilton Harrisburg (Third Floor, Delaware Room).  Chaired by Rafael Ponce-Cordero of Keene State College, the session includes the following:

“The ‘Other’ Hero: Framing Female Characters in Alternative Comics,” Danielle Frownfelter Michael, University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, and Nick Scott Greene, Independent Scholar

“The Bulge That Dare Not Speak Its Name: The Evolution of the Gay Superhero,” Sarah Panuska, Michigan State University

“Succeeding in the Super-Biz:  New Worlds Through Disidentification in Xaime Hernandez’s God & Science,” Osvaldo Oyola, Binghamton University

Then on Sunday, April 6, at 8:30 AM, I will chair the second session, “World Edition,” in Hilton Harrisburg (Second Floor, Penn Harris B Room), which includes the following:

“With Great Power Comes Great Loss: The Tragic (Super) Mulatto,” Dwain Pruitt, University of South Florida

“South African Superhero in Zakes Mda’s Ways of Dying,” Stephanie Selvick, Utica College

“Baby Hanuman:  A Subaltern Superhero?” Anuja Madan, University of Florida

” ‘They Didn’t Know I Was So Astute!’ A Postcolonial Reading of Mexico’s Chapulín Colorado,” Rafael Ponce-Cordero, Keene State College

I hope that interested NeMLA visitors enjoy all of these three sessions.  While in Harrisburg, please attend these and many other sessions taking place–the organizers this year have scheduled excellent panels on a range of topics, and as someone who studies nineteenth-century United States culture as well as comics, I’m happy to see numerous sessions on these topics. 

I look forward to tomorrow and Sunday’s productive discussions.

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