CFP: 20th Century Women’s Writing and the Capital(s) of Recuperation – ACLA

20th Century Women’s Writing and the Capital(s) of Recuperation

ACLA Annual Conference March 20-23rd, 2014 at New York University

“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” Muriel Rukeyser’s often-cited sentiment unfortunately resonates as strongly today as it did in 1968. In this seminar, we hope to split open and illuminate alternate modes of access to the worlds of capital in order to rethink its human, cultural and political investments in twentieth century women’s literature. While capitals elicit fantasies of a cosmopolitan ethos predicated upon inclusivity and community, we want to trouble this narrative’s simplicity by questioning why women writers of the twentieth century more often than not lacked the cultural purchase to navigate cosmopolitan capitals around the world. We ask how this exclusion was renegotiated and represented in disparate texts. Instead of engaging in debates that can only ever aspire to equality, we want to understand more clearly how exclusion constitutes capital, and, more importantly, how women writers renegotiate and capitalize upon this exclusion.

We hope this line of questioning will invite papers about underexplored women’s literature and underrepresented women writers so that we might also reflect upon the enterprise of recuperation. Can we recuperate previously lost, buried, and out of print texts by women writers of the twentieth century without assimilating differences into a literary history that privileges white, heteronormative patriarchy? How do conditions of literary production and material, social, and cultural contexts inform our understanding of these texts’ vitality? Ultimately, what are we capitalizing upon when we recuperate women writers?

To submit an abstract, please visit the conference website and choose “propose a paper” or click here. You will be prompted to choose a seminar title when you submit your abstract. Be sure to choose “20th Century Women’s Writing and the Capital(s) of Recuperation.”

Abstract Deadline: November 1, 2013

Feel free to email me ( or or Peter Murray ( with any questions.