Call for Proposals: The Future of Feminist Theory

Call for Proposals

The Future of Feminist Theory in Eighteenth-Century Studies:

An Issue Celebrating the 35th Anniversary of the ASECS Women’s Caucus

The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation

Special Issue Editor: Laura J. Rosenthal


Thirty-five year ago as of spring 2010, a group of eighteenth-century scholars founded the Women’s Caucus at the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. The ASECS Women’s Caucus began in the contestatory moment of mid-70s feminism when, at the joint meeting of ASECS and the International Society for 18th-Century Studies at Yale in 1975, a group of women met to effect institutional change.  In 1987, the Women’s Caucus established a designated session, which has served as a place for including women’s studies topics in the ASECS conference, and a lunch/business meeting, which has served as a forum for women’s issues.



To celebrate this landmark, the journal The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation will publish a special issue devoted to “The Future of Feminist Theory in Eighteenth-Century Studies.” 


Since the years that established the Women’s Caucus, feminist theory has had a major impact on eighteenth-century studies.  Its future, however, is less clear.  Even in the 1990’s scholars could describe figures like Aphra Behn and Eliza Haywood as “neglected,” but this is no longer the case.  The dominance of theory itself has given way to multiple approaches, with strong interest among scholars in historicism and cultural studies.  Further, “feminist theory” itself has come to share the stage with approaches more focused on gender, on sexuality, and/or on the material condition of women in the long eighteenth century.  Does anything remain for feminist theory to do?  How might the feminist theory influence the discipline in the future (if at all)?  Is feminism itself still necessary?  How might we read feminist theorists of the eighteenth century in light of our own historical moment?


Please send 1-2 page proposals and CV by September 1, 2007 to Laura Rosenthal, English Department, University of Maryland, College Park MD, 20742; (email preferred).  Proposals for essays of various lengths are welcome, from shorter (8-10pp) polemical pieces to full-length (25pp) scholarly explorations.  (Note that the Women’s Caucus is sponsoring a panel on this topic, chaired by Sharon Harrow.  Submission to both the journal special issue and the panel is encouraged.) Completed essays will be due on January 15th, 2008.  Adherence to deadlines will be crucial for this project so that the issue appears in time for the gala 35th anniversary celebration at ASECS 2010.


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