Trespassing on Boundaries with Women’s Archives (MLA 2017)

J. Ashley Foster (of Haverford College) and Margaret Galvan (of The
Graduate Center, CUNY) are proposing a special session on women’s archives
at next year’s MLA. Please consider submitting and be in touch with any

Deadline for 250-word abstracts and bios: March 15. Send to: and

CFP: Trespassing on Boundaries with Women’s Archives (MLA 2017)

Call for Papers for a proposed special session at the Modern Language
Association (MLA) Annual Convention, Jan. 5-8, 2017, in Philadelphia, PA.

Over the past decade and a half, a diverse array of materials related to
women and women’s movements have inspired the creation of new archival
collections and archives in university, grassroots, and digital spaces—from
the founding of the Feminist Theory Collection at Brown University (2003)
to the launch of Chicana Por Mi Raza (2009) and Independent Voices (2013)
in digital spaces. In The Archival Turn in Feminism (2013), Kate Eichhorn
explores how the rapid collection of third-wave feminist materials
highlights a changing notion of the boundaries and possibilities of
archives: “For a younger generation of feminists, the archive is not
necessarily either a destination or an impenetrable barrier to be breached,
but rather a site and practice integral to knowledge making, cultural
production, and activism” (3). How do women’s archives—both long-standing
and new—trespass on archival boundaries? What role do archivists and
researchers play in this process?

This MLA special session seeks to consider the multifaceted ways in which
scholars blur, bust, expand, or trespass on boundaries while working in and
recovering materials from women’s archives. We will open a conversation
exploring the numerous modalities of radicalized archival endeavors,
theorizing how gender, women’s studies, and feminism play a role in the
archival space and the ensuing research.

Presentations might focus on how explorations in women’s archives:

blur the boundaries between archivist, researcher, and archives

bust boundaries between the public and private realms

trespass on national boundaries

cross and subvert gender boundaries

encourage a different relationship to the archival and research processes

intersect with feminist theories that push cultural boundaries

blend temporal boundaries, thus bringing the past into the present

We also welcome papers that interrogate how the digitization process or
disciplinary boundaries reinforce or complicate any of these considerations.

Please email your 250-word abstracts and short bios to Ashley Foster at and Margaret Galvan at
by March 15. Submitters will receive notification of results by no later
than April 1.

PLEASE NOTE: This CFP is for a proposed, not a guaranteed, session at MLA
2017, meaning it is contingent on approval by the MLA Program Committee
(which will make its decisions after April 1). All prospective presenters
must be current MLA members by no later than April 7, 2016.

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