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Call For Papers for Our Next Conference

"'Fear Narratives' and their Role/Use in the United States"

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18) "Policing Deviance: Constructing and Resisting Fear Narratives of 'the Lesbian'"
Panel Chair: María Ángeles Toda Iglesia, Universidad de Sevilla
E-mail: mtoda@us.es


In spite of the undeniable gains in visibility, representation and rights in the last 50 years, lesbians have been one of the most strongly repressed collectives in US (and world) history, and continue to be, in various ways, marginalized to the point of being "the Other's Other." Forms of repression have ranged from the outright (compulsory heterosexuality, physical punishments, legislation against "cross-dressing," psychiatric treatment and confinement, police brutality, army policies) to the subtle (ranging from Freudian-based sexology to threatening, caricaturized, trivialized or sexualized "lesbian" figures in popular culture and pornography). In all of these, "fear narratives" have played a most significant role.

This panel sets out to examine and record these various means of employing "fear narratives" to stigmatize, erase and/or eliminate lesbian existence, but also the several ways in which activists, writers, artists, or public figures have defied and deconstructed these very narratives. Areas of particular interest might include the deployment of (and resistance against) "fear narratives" within the different activist movements which with lesbians have collaborated (as in second-wave feminism's Lavender Menace, the tensions within the early LGTB movement, the sex wars of the eighties among lesbian and feminist theorists, or the condemnation of lesbianism as bourgeois/white contamination within certain forms of radical activism); the persistence of the myth of lesbian invisibility as protection; the limits of nineteenth-century homo-sociality; lesbian representation, manipulation, or absence in both "classic" and "popular" mainstream culture, including series, advertisements, fashion, music, comics and children's books and films; and hopefully, the development of lesbian genres, icons and forms of activism that counter fear discourse.


Abstracts of Proposals are to be e-mailed directly to the chair of the selected panel using this form. The deadline for submitting abstracts is October 15, 2020. Panel chairs are expected to accept/reject proposals and have panels set up by November 15.


Non-members of SAAS (of all nationalities) are welcome to participate in the conference, but will be required to pay membership dues for one year as well as the conference registration fee. Members of ASA (American Studies Association), AISNA (Associazione Italiana di Studi Nor-Americani), APEAA (Portuguese Association for Anglo-American Studies) and HELAAS (Hellenic Association for American Studies) need only pay the conference registration fee.

Further guideliness for participants can be found here.


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