Special Issue "Negotiating Spaces in Women’s Writing"

A special issue of Humanities (ISSN 2076-0787).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 December 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Eleonora Rao

Department of Humanities, University of Salerno, Fisciano84084, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Gender Studies; autobiography and memoir; Canadian Literature
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Robert Tally Jr.

Department of English, Texas State University, 601 University Drive, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: American Literature (especially 19th and 20th Centuries); Literary Criticism and Theory; World Literature

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Gender is achieved through performances and interpretations associated to normative judgments of masculinity and femininity. Gendered imaginations and power relations are inscribed into space as structures and reproduced through spatial interaction, but gender is only one among numerous symbiotic categories of social differentiation and inequality such as ethnicity, class, sexuality, religion, etc. Different spaces present more or less great latitudes for reinterpretation, determination and conflict of all kinds of identity categories that can be interrelated or played out against each other.

This special issue seeks essays that would investigate question pertains to women’s relations and representations of unbounded and bounded spaces. These would include spaces of language and spaces of self and other, spaces of experiences and spaces of writing. How women live the lines and spaces on the maps of their territories, whether these are rural, urban, or borderline spaces between countries and provinces.

For example, the word “home” traditionally connotes the private spheres of patriarchal hierarchy, shelter, comfort, nurture and protection. As imagined in fiction, “home” is desire that is fulfilled or denied in varying measure to the subjects constructed by the narrative. The space marked “home” has been read as the terrain of conservative discourse and “home” has been abandoned to clichés. Often, however, home cannot be pinned down to a single definition or notion. It is represented as a complex nuanced concept that changes constantly: it can be perceived as an oppressive prison, or as a place that provides affection, security and protection; a centripetal and a centrifugal force for the characters, who react in different, often surprising manners. Home is a place of violence and nurturing; a place to escape to and to escape from.

We welcome proposals that would tackle questions of spatiality and gender in novels, short stories, poetry, travel writing and autobiography from the UK, US, Canada and other Anglophone countries.

Deadline for submission of abstract: 15 May 2018

Deadline for submission of article to guest editors: 1 November 2018

Length of article: 8000 words max

Please send proposal to

Eleonora Rao: [email protected]

Robert Tally: [email protected]

Prof. Eleonora Rao
Prof. Robert Tally
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Humanities is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Space in Literature
  • Gendered Vision

Published Papers (10 papers)

View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-10
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Other

Open AccessArticle Spatial and Psychophysical Domination of Women in Dystopia: Swastika Night, Woman on the Edge of Time and The Handmaid’s Tale
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010038
Received: 14 January 2019 / Revised: 19 February 2019 / Accepted: 21 February 2019 / Published: 26 February 2019
PDF Full-text (258 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Analyzing Burdekin’s Swastika Night Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time and Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale the article aims to examine the relations between space, gender-based violence, and patriarchy in women’s writing. Hitlerdom in Swastika Night, the mental hospital and the future [...] Read more.
Analyzing Burdekin’s Swastika Night Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time and Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale the article aims to examine the relations between space, gender-based violence, and patriarchy in women’s writing. Hitlerdom in Swastika Night, the mental hospital and the future dystopian New York in Woman on the Edge of Time, and Gilead in The Handmaid’s Tale are spatial and social nightmares. The authorities that rule these dystopias imprison women in restricted spaces first, limit their vocabulary and daily actions, deprive them of their beauty, freedom and consciousness, and impose maternity or sexuality upon them. My analysis will connect the limitation of space with the psychophysical domination the objectification and the disempowerment of the female gender. Hoping also to shed light on the dynamics and the reasons for contemporary real gender-based violence and depreciation, the study will be focused on: 1. the ways space contributes to the creation, the stability and the dominion of dystopian powers; 2. the representation and the construction of female figures, roles and identities; 3. the techniques of control, manipulation and oppression used by patriarchal powers against women; 4. the impact of sex, sexuality and motherhood on women’s bodies; and 5. the possible feminist alternatives or solutions proposed by the novels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Negotiating Spaces in Women’s Writing)
Open AccessArticle “‘The Mighty Meaning of the Scene’” Feminine Landscapes and the Future of America in Margaret Fuller’s Summer on the Lakes, in 1843
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010031
Received: 7 January 2019 / Revised: 14 February 2019 / Accepted: 16 February 2019 / Published: 20 February 2019
PDF Full-text (1792 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Like many of her contemporaries, Margaret Fuller had great hopes for the West. The Western lands, open for America’s future, held the promise of what America could become. In Summer on the Lakes, Fuller sketches what she hopes America will become. Using [...] Read more.
Like many of her contemporaries, Margaret Fuller had great hopes for the West. The Western lands, open for America’s future, held the promise of what America could become. In Summer on the Lakes, Fuller sketches what she hopes America will become. Using the landscape aesthetics of her age, such as the work of Andrew Jackson Downing and the Hudson River School of landscape painting, Fuller describes the ideal landscape as one that is more feminine and nurturing, one in which humankind lives in harmony with nature. Fuller’s landscape descriptions both point to a better future for America and critique the values of her contemporaries. Fuller contrasts America’s more male vision of conquest of the land with her feminine ideal of harmony with nature—a cultivated garden—to show what America’s future should be, as it builds westward. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Negotiating Spaces in Women’s Writing)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Illicit Motherhood: Recrafting Postcolonial Feminist Resistance in Edna O’Brien’s The Love Object and Jhumpa Lahiri’s Hell-Heaven
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010029
Received: 21 November 2018 / Revised: 2 February 2019 / Accepted: 11 February 2019 / Published: 14 February 2019
PDF Full-text (310 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cultural constructions of passive motherhood, especially within domestic spaces, gained currency in India and Ireland due to their shared colonial history, as well as the influence of anti-colonial masculinist nationalism on the social imaginary of these two nations. However, beginning from the latter [...] Read more.
Cultural constructions of passive motherhood, especially within domestic spaces, gained currency in India and Ireland due to their shared colonial history, as well as the influence of anti-colonial masculinist nationalism on the social imaginary of these two nations. However, beginning from the latter half of the nineteenth century, postcolonial literary voices have not only challenged the traditional gendering of public and private spaces but also interrogated docile constructions of womanhood, particularly essentialized representations of maternity. Domestic spaces have been critical narrative motifs in these postcolonial texts through simultaneously embodying patriarchal domination but also as sites where feminist resistance can be actualized by “transgress(ing) traditional views of … the home, as a static immobile place of oppression”. This paper, through a comparative analysis of maternal characters in Edna O’Brien’s The Love Object and Jhumpa Lahiri’s Hell-Heaven, argues that socially disapproved/illicit relationships in these two representative postcolonial Irish and Indian narratives function as matricentric feminist tactics that subvert limiting notions of both domestic spaces and gendered liminal postcolonial subjectivities. I highlight that within the context of male-centered colonial and nationalist literature, the trope of maternity configures the domestic-space as the “rightful place” for the existence of the feminine entity. Thus, when postcolonial feminist fiction reverses this tradition through constructing the “home and the female-body” as sites of possible resistance, it is a counter against dual oppression: both colonialism and patriarchy. My intervention further underscores the need for sustained conversations between the literary output of India and Ireland, within Postcolonial Literary Studies, with a particular acknowledgement for space and gender as pivotal categories in the “cultural analysis of empire”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Negotiating Spaces in Women’s Writing)
Open AccessArticle How Karen Tei Yamashita Literalizes Feminist Subversion: Extreme Domesticity, Space-Off Reversals, and Virtual Resistances in Tropic of Orange
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010028
Received: 27 November 2018 / Revised: 4 February 2019 / Accepted: 5 February 2019 / Published: 12 February 2019
PDF Full-text (322 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In Tropic of Orange (1997), Karen Tei Yamashita builds an expansive narrative on the premise that the Tropic of Cancer shifts mysteriously from its actual latitude, barely north of Mazatlán, México, to that of L.A.’s latitude: from 23.43692° north of the Equator to [...] Read more.
In Tropic of Orange (1997), Karen Tei Yamashita builds an expansive narrative on the premise that the Tropic of Cancer shifts mysteriously from its actual latitude, barely north of Mazatlán, México, to that of L.A.’s latitude: from 23.43692° north of the Equator to 34.0522° N. By doing so, Yamashita literally takes that which is “south of the border” and repositions it in a hub of neoliberal hegemony; that is, she takes what is below (“sub-”) and puts it on top (“-vert”). I read such a literal and magically realistic move as an allegorical template that guides the novel in its entirety, but more specifically, in its repositioning of women from their spaces of relegation to spaces animated by their resistances to such relegation; from spaces of dependency to spaces characterized by feminine influence. This essay examines three strategies through which feminist subversions may be accomplished according to Yamashita’s textual template: The first follows Susan Fraiman’s theory of Extreme Domesticity (Fraiman 2017) as it tracks how subservient spaces of home and household can become sites of nonconformity; the second takes its cue from the cinematic strategies of “space-off” and “reversal” as examples of how marginal or negative spaces can be leveraged against the male gaze (c.f. José Rodríguez Herrera’s analysis of Sarah Polley’s film adaptation of Alice Munro’s “The Bear Came Over The Mountain,” Herrera 2013); and the third engages my own notion of a spatial virtuality (“that which is present without being local,” Munro 2014) as a mode of resistance that culminates, ultimately, in “a condition of literature,” that is to say, a condition in which Tropic of Orange refers to the conditions of its own making instead of referring to the conditions that create it (ibid.). My tripartite method thus highlights and celebrates the domestic, cinematic, and technological spaces of Yamashita’s writing, respectively, just as it articulates how these spaces might also be read as subversively feminist and feminizing. But it also meditates formally and contextually, as Tropic of Orange’s condition of literature implies, a sort of ablated feminist narratology, even as it works toward feminist narratological ends. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Negotiating Spaces in Women’s Writing)
Open AccessArticle Female Relays, Rice-Workers and flâneuse: The geo parler femme in Renata Viganò’s Work
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010025
Received: 20 November 2018 / Revised: 27 January 2019 / Accepted: 30 January 2019 / Published: 5 February 2019
PDF Full-text (269 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of this article was to reflect on how settings are used as narrative practices in the work of Renata Viganò, one of the most famous Italian female writers. Drawing upon Well’s concept of geo parler femme, this article examined the [...] Read more.
The aim of this article was to reflect on how settings are used as narrative practices in the work of Renata Viganò, one of the most famous Italian female writers. Drawing upon Well’s concept of geo parler femme, this article examined the extent to which the setting plays a role in Viganò’s fictional works and essays. Focusing on the most common stereotypes of gendered spatiality, the intention of the analysis was to point out that at specific historical moments, such as the Italian resistance movement and the post-war years, the traditional gender assignment of spaces was no longer valid. The idea of a well distinguished ‘limit’ that separates certain places as feminine from others as masculine in time of war becomes blurred and destabilizes the traditional dichotomy of public–private spaces. The dialectic masculine–feminine places are nonexistent and often completely reversed, turning the setting into one of the main narrative practices in novels, such as L’Agnese va a morire or Una storia di ragazze, as well as in politically engaged essays dedicated to female partisans and rice-workers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Negotiating Spaces in Women’s Writing)
Open AccessArticle From Maps to Stories: Dangerous Spaces in Agatha Christie’s Homes
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010023
Received: 27 November 2018 / Revised: 21 January 2019 / Accepted: 27 January 2019 / Published: 31 January 2019
PDF Full-text (4507 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the common imagination, home denotes the physical space where human beings find protection, intimacy, and bliss. Home is a place of affection and warmth. This article proposes to analyze the perception of the place called home within Christie’s narratives and how her [...] Read more.
In the common imagination, home denotes the physical space where human beings find protection, intimacy, and bliss. Home is a place of affection and warmth. This article proposes to analyze the perception of the place called home within Christie’s narratives and how her fictional households are deprived of their protective value and become as blood soaked as the hard-boiled dirty back alleys. The article focuses on how every room occupies a different role in Christie’s fictional houses. There are safe rooms—the busiest rooms of the household where murder never happens—and dangerous rooms. The dangerous room—the murder scene—is described through the use of a map offered by the first-person narrator. The map provides the reader with important spatial information: this is the very place where the murder was perpetrated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Negotiating Spaces in Women’s Writing)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle The Geography of ‘Otherness’: Spaces of Conflict in Smaro Kamboureli’s in the Second Person
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010017
Received: 11 November 2018 / Revised: 16 January 2019 / Accepted: 17 January 2019 / Published: 21 January 2019
PDF Full-text (281 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In today’s “liquid” society, boundaries and limits are shifting or disorienting: belonging to no place, not knowing where ‘home’ is, underlines the sense of uncertainty and in-betweenness experienced by people. This contribution suggests five spatial issues Greek-born Canadian author Smaro Kamboureli has to [...] Read more.
In today’s “liquid” society, boundaries and limits are shifting or disorienting: belonging to no place, not knowing where ‘home’ is, underlines the sense of uncertainty and in-betweenness experienced by people. This contribution suggests five spatial issues Greek-born Canadian author Smaro Kamboureli has to negotiate with in her ‘poetic diary’ in the second person, where she investigates the duality of the self, displaying the double “I” of the writer’s split subjectivity on a concrete (Greece) as well as abstract (language) place of living. Kamboureli’s account of a duel with and a paradoxical courting of what was and is now for her “the place of language” is related to the awareness of inhabiting a “third” zone of expectations: the difference of origin, of country, of point of view. In conclusion, the different levels of spatial negotiations Kamboureli has had to come to terms with have made her a completely different person. Her life on the border, epitomized in turn by airports, boats, Greece, and the Greek islands, is indeed an endless research of, as well as a conflict with, the ‘Other’, which opens up questions about the relativity of the space/place dichotomy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Negotiating Spaces in Women’s Writing)
Open AccessArticle Unreal Homes: Belonging and Becoming in Indian Women Narratives
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040133
Received: 15 November 2018 / Revised: 13 December 2018 / Accepted: 14 December 2018 / Published: 17 December 2018
PDF Full-text (275 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In an epoch which has to do fundamentally with space, the concept of home has entered the epistemic scene, both as a commodity and a discursive formation. Contemporary Indian women writers, who are a major facet of present Anglophone literature, have often chosen [...] Read more.
In an epoch which has to do fundamentally with space, the concept of home has entered the epistemic scene, both as a commodity and a discursive formation. Contemporary Indian women writers, who are a major facet of present Anglophone literature, have often chosen the domestic sphere as the structural framework of their stories. However, despite the traditional idea of home as a static physical site where women’s lives unfold, a more complex and fluid concept emerges from their narratives. After discussing conflicting definitions of home both as a site of belonging and becoming, I will provide a comparative analysis of the short story Mrs. Sen’s by Jhumpa Lahiri and the novel Ladies’ Coupé by Anita Nair. By looking at the transitional spaces inhabited by the women protagonists—respectively, the diasporic space in the U.S. and a train car in India—I will show how home is a psychic-inhabited place taking shape in memory, imagination, and desire. In conclusion, home is an unreal site at the core of women’s subjectivities, transcending the physicality of the homeland or the household and assuming a metonymic significance. Its inward or outward-moving force gives birth to “homeworlds” made of liminal paths where new possibilities of identity construction are produced. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Negotiating Spaces in Women’s Writing)
Open AccessArticle Nightclub as a Liminal Space: Space, Gender, and Identity in Lisa See’s China Dolls
Humanities 2018, 7(4), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040126
Received: 14 November 2018 / Revised: 22 November 2018 / Accepted: 26 November 2018 / Published: 29 November 2018
PDF Full-text (250 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nightclubs flourished in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the late 1930s when it became a nightlife destination. To Chinese Americans, however, San Francisco nightclubs became a new site at the time for them to re-explore their identities. For some, visiting these nightclubs became a [...] Read more.
Nightclubs flourished in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the late 1930s when it became a nightlife destination. To Chinese Americans, however, San Francisco nightclubs became a new site at the time for them to re-explore their identities. For some, visiting these nightclubs became a way for them to escape from traditional Chinese values. For others, it became a way to satisfy Western stereotypes of Chinese culture. Lisa See’s China Dolls (2015) describes three young oriental women from various backgrounds that become dancers at the popular Forbidden City nightclub in San Francisco in the late 1930s. Through the three girls’ precarious careers and personal conflicts, Lisa See proposes the San Francisco nightclub as both a site for them to articulate their new identities beyond their restricted spheres and a site for them to perform the expected stereotypical Asian images from Western perspectives. It was, at that time, a struggle for the emergence of modern Chinese women but particularly a paradox for Chinese-American women. The space of the Chinese-American nightclub, which is exotic, erotic, but stereotypical, represents contradictions in the Chinese-American identity. Through studying Lisa See’s novel along with other autobiographies of the Chinese American dancing girls, I argue that San Francisco nightclubs, as represented in Lisa See’s novel, embody the paradox of Chinese American identities as shown in the outfits of Chinese American chorus girls—modest cheongsams outside and sexy, burlesque costumes underneath. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Negotiating Spaces in Women’s Writing)

Other

Jump to: Research

Open AccessEssay Of Mirrors and Bell Jars. Heterotopia and Liminal Spaces as Reconfigurations of Female Identity in Sylvia Plath
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010020
Received: 26 November 2018 / Revised: 12 January 2019 / Accepted: 22 January 2019 / Published: 24 January 2019
PDF Full-text (288 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The poetry of Sylvia Plath (1932–1963) has received a considerable number of critical responses, among which spatial analysis occupies a minor position, although her texts explore complex relationships between subject and context. Drawing from a threefold theoretical apparatus (Bachelard’s theory of the poetic [...] Read more.
The poetry of Sylvia Plath (1932–1963) has received a considerable number of critical responses, among which spatial analysis occupies a minor position, although her texts explore complex relationships between subject and context. Drawing from a threefold theoretical apparatus (Bachelard’s theory of the poetic space, the Foucauldian concept of heterotopia, and the trope of liminality), this article focuses on the analysis of Plath’s increasing use of in-between spaces and objects of transition and transformations (mirrors, thresholds, windows), as well as on her predilection for heterotopic and alienating sceneries (hospital rooms, cemeteries), in both her poetry and prose. The study first acknowledges Plath’s choice of spatial imagery as a progressive orientation towards transitional states and places of otherness and ambivalence. Then, it highlights the specific role of heterotopic and liminal spaces in the process of reconfiguration of female identity. Given the impossibility for the female subject to rely on imprisoning domestic spheres to suture the edges of her fragmented self, reconceptualization of her own consciousness only becomes possible in the movement across a threshold. The analysis finally determines that the poetic evocation of spaces of conflict and difference paradoxically contributes to the shaping of female identity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Negotiating Spaces in Women’s Writing)
Humanities EISSN 2076-0787 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top