From the Amazons to Margaret Thatcher via Boudica and the Suffragettes, history is littered with images of women engaged in conflict. British newsreels from the First World War depict women serving on the frontline as nurses; Le Ciel est à Vous (1944) features female airplane mechanics and pilots; and films including Alien (1979), House of Flying Daggers (2004) and Battleship (2012) portray female combatants. Yet while women are often represented in conflict situations, female voices and accounts are curiously absent from popular media – all the examples listed above are written, directed and shot by men.
War—be it militarised, social or political—is traditionally a masculine domain. Joan of Arc famously dressed as a man to enter battle. Until 2013, women could not participate in direct combat in the US Army. Moreover, male CEOs, writers, producers, artists and directors tend to dominate popular media (a recent study at San Diego State University found women directed just 6% of Hollywood studio productions last year). Male perspectives and voices overshadow narratives about combat in cinema, comics, news media and new media.
The CFP therefore invites abstracts that investigate the connections between women and conflict and particularly focus on the role of media technologies in disseminating female narratives. The panel asks: how do women participate in, and how are women psychologically and bodily affected by, conflict? How do women mediate their stories in wartime? And by what means are women’s narratives shared or broadcast?
Papers can explore any historical or contemporary situation in any cultural/national context, and examine any screen and/or related media.
Suggested topics (papers on other, related topics are also welcomed):
· Women’s access to, and use of, traditional and new media technologies (including film, radio, television, journalism, comics, games and social media) to articulate their participation in/experience of conflict
· Conflict altering women’s abilities to generate public discourses
· The challenges women face (in gender/racial contexts) when publicising their accounts and reaching audiences
· The form, style, exhibition and distribution of women’s narratives
· How women represent their experiences of combat (as observers, medical staff, military, refugees or other)
· Comparisons between women’s public and private accounts of conflict
Abstracts of 250-300 words, along with a 50-100-word bio should be sent to Rebecca Harrison at email@example.com no later than July 31, 2014.