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CFP: Indecency (11/1/2011; 3/1-3/2012)

CFP: Indecency (11/1/2011; 3/1-3/2012)

Thirteenth Annual Graduate Symposium on Women's & Gender History Presents:


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
March 1-3, 2012


The Executive Committee of the Thirteenth Annual Graduate Symposium on Women's and Gender History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is pleased to announce a call for papers. The Symposium, which is the capstone event of the History Department's Women's History month celebration, is scheduled for March 1-3, 2012. To celebrate and encourage further work in the field of women's and gender history, we invite submissions from graduate students from any institution and discipline on any topic in the field of women's and gender history. Papers submitted as a panel will be judged individually. Preference will be given to scholars who did not present at last year's Symposium.

The history of gender and sexuality is in many ways the history of indecency—of bodies, acts, and attachments that were deemed indecent by culture or legal code, and of the various ways subjects questioned, resisted, or embraced that label. Indeed, indecency has long functioned as a pivot upon which concepts and experiences of inclusion and exclusion depend, and thus it offers us a valuable way of exploring both dominant paradigms and their undoing.

The theme is meant to be open-ended—provocative rather than prescriptive—and papers need not take up the question of indecency in any direct or obvious way. In gathering together what we hope will be a geographically, temporally, and disciplinarily diverse body of papers, the conference will create opportunities for dialogue and discussion across these different fields. To that end, successful proposals might focus on topics such as: the construction of indecency; immigration, hygiene, and public health; prostitution and “indecent” labor; religion and decency; obscenity, censorship, and the law; disgust and desire; material cultures of indecency; sensory perception and offense; propriety and literary form; menstruation; family structures; the grotesque in travel accounts; pornography; gossip as a historical force or source; the history of scandal; the moral economy of decency; responses to matter out of place; and alternative archives for exploring indecency. As always, we welcome proposals that surprise us by taking the theme in unexpected (or perhaps even indecent) directions.

For the Thirteenth Annual Symposium, we are delighted to announce a keynote speaker who engages many of these themes in her work:

• Judith Surkis, Scholar with the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University. Author of Sexing the Citizen: Morality and Masculinity in France, 1870-1920 (Cornell University Press, 2006), Surkis is currently at work on a project titled Scandalous Subjects: Intimacy and Indecency in France and French Algeria, 1830-1930.

To submit a paper or panel by email (preferred method): please send only one attachment in Word or PDF format containing a 250-word abstract and a one-page curriculum vitae for each paper presenter, commentator, or panel chair to

To submit a paper or panel in a hard copy format, please send five (5) copies of all abstracts and curriculum vitae to:

Programming Committee, Graduate Symposium on Women's and Gender History
309 Gregory Hall, 810 S. Wright Street
Urbana, Illinois 61801
MC - 466

For more information, please contact Programming Committee Chairs Ashley Hetrick and Derek Attig at


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