The Society for Critical Exchange
Current Projects

Woman, Nation, Narrative / Rethinking Anderson
In 1992, the SCE sponsored a double session at the MMLA and a special session at the MLA convention devoted to an investigation of nationalism and gender.
Under the direction of Mary Layoun and Anu Dingwaney Needham, the project gradually expanded to investigate nationalism more generally in a session of the MMLA in 1993 and in a day long workshop involving approximately 30 scholars, "Nationalism(s): Definitions, Explanations, Alternatives," held April 2, 1994, at Case Western Reserve University.
In 1997, Wendy Kozol, Mary Layoun and Anuradha Needham revived the project, though no longer under its original title, or necessarily under the rubric of its initial, exclusive focus on gender and nationalism.
The project organized a mini-conference entitled "Rethinking Anderson" at the 1998 Midwest Modern Language Association convention in order to address the following questions: Although nationalism continues to inform, indeed determine, material conditions in the world, why does it appear to have stalled as a subject of scholarship? Is this because the terms and framework for discussion--including Benedict Anderson's influential concept of "imagined communities"--envision narrative as the most appropriate modality? Has this focus on narrative become disabling for discussions that need to be anchored in materialist explanations?
In 2002, the SCE sponsored a session at the South Central MLA titled "Genders in Space: Masculinities and Femininities Across Neighborhoods and Nations."
If you are interested in this project, contact Anu Needham, English Department, Oberlin College, Anuradha_Needham[at] .edu; Wendy Kozol, Women's Studies, Oberlin College, fkozol[at]; or Mary Layoun, English Department, University of Wisconsin, layoun[at]


return to top