Call for Presentations

6th Global Conference

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Friday 2nd May – Sunday 4th May 2014
Lisbon, Portugal


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A wanton woman is the figure of imperfection; in nature an ape, in quality a wagtail, in countenance a witch, and in condition a kind of devil
(Nicholas Breton, 1615)

Despite the attempts of feminists the conjunction between evil and the feminine seems unbroken. Established as secondary, derivative and hence inferior, women have been long suspected of being the source of human (though more often masculine) miseries, always in cahoots with the forces of evil and destruction. Paradoxically, at the same time, some have also been put on the pedestal and lauded as ideals of purity and dedication, yet these paragons only proved the rule that, on average, the feminine/woman equals imperfect and transgressive. Mischievous, beguiling, seductive, lascivious, unruly, carping, vengeful and manipulative – these are only a few of the epithets present in cultures and literatures across the world. In grappling with our understanding of what it is to be and do ‘evil’, the project aims to explore the possible sources of the fear and hatred of women and the feminine as well as their manifestations and pervasiveness across times, cultures and media.

Evil, Women and the Feminine seeks to engage fruitful academic discourse over the core theme of evil and monstrous women, and the variations thereof. Although this type of discourse can lend itself to a feminist theoretical standpoint, the conference does not necessarily align itself as such and welcomes a variety of theoretical and critical approaches, such as –but not limited to – queer studies, post-structural, Marxist, psychoanalytical, anthropological etc.

Among the core themes to be explored at this years conference explored are:

  • Murderess’, terrorists, child-killers, kidnappers, abusers, serial killers
  • Monstrous motherhood in literature and film: monstrous births and infanticide (Beowulf, Alien, Rosemary’s Baby, etc.
  • Archetypical fears: feminine blood and castration
  • Portrayal of Evil Woman in Literature: from Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth to Kessey’s Sister Ratched.
  • Psychoanalytic perspectives: “Vagina Dentata” etc
  • Historical perspectives of female evil
  • Women and/in Power: Cleopatra, Messalina, Isabella of Castile, Mary Tudor, Countess Elizabeth Bathory, Lucia Borgia, Eva Peron, etc. Were these women truly evil or did they merely try to survive in a man’s world?
  • Holocaust and Nazi witches: Irma Grese or the “Bitch of Belsen, Ilse Koch Born, Witch of Buchenwald and others;
  • Evil women in the visual arts
  • Cultural and racial stereotypes
  • Mythological icons: Medusa, Jezebel, Delilah, Lilith, Harpies, Sirens, Hel, Eris
  • Female revenge: women who took revenge on their unfaithful husbands or ungrateful children. From mythology to real life: Kriemhield, Medea, Clytemnestra, Katherine Knight, Maria Savez, etc.
  • Evil females in children’s books and cartoons. Step-mothers are supposed to be the most evil women in the world of fairy-tales and Disney cartoons but is this really so?;
  • Ethical studies
  • Beauty as threatening or evil: from the times of witch-hunts female beauty was considered dangerous. Do we still feel threatened by a female beauty?
  • Fantasy: evil women in strips and video games;
  • Folklore: female Vampires, witches, witch-hunts, pact with a devil
  • Evil Women in/and Religion: Dark Goddesses and Counter-Readings

The Steering Group particularly welcomes the submission of pre-formed panel proposals. Papers will also be considered on any related theme.

In order to support and encourage interdisciplinarity engagement, it is our intention to create the possibility of starting dialogues between the parallel events running during this conference. Delegates are welcome to attend up to two sessions in each of the concurrent conferences. We also propose to produce cross-over sessions between two and possibly all three groups – and we welcome proposals which deal with the relationship between evil, women, femininity and/or violence and/or femininities and masculinities.

What to Send:
300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 6th December 2013 If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 14th March 2014. 300 word abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word or RTF formats with the following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in programme, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract, f) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: EWF6 Abstract Submission.

Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.

Organising Chairs:

Natalia Kaloh Vid: nkv@nullinter-disciplinary.net
Rob Fisher: ewf6@nullinter-disciplinary.net

The conference is part of the At the Interface programme of research projects. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting. All papers accepted for and presented at the conference must be in English and will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook.  Selected papers may be developed for publication in a themed hard copy volume(s). All publications from the conference will require editors, to be chosen from interested delegates from the conference.

Inter-Disciplinary.Net believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract for presentation.

Details on the conferences running alongside this project in 2014 can be found here: Femininities and Masculinities,and  Violence.

Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.