The Society for Critical Exchange
1998 Midwest Modern Language Association Panels
Rethinking Anderson

The Woman, Nation, Narrative project organized this mini-conference 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?
Session I: Materializing Nationalism: Race, Sex, and the Trauma of Citizenship
Chair: Mary Layoun, Comparative Literature, U of Wisconsin, Madison
Discussant: Anuradha Dingwaney Needham, English, Oberlin College
1. "Nationalist Narratives and (Dis) Appearing Women: State-Sanctioned Sexual Violence," Anna Agathangelou, Women's Studies and Politics, Oberlin College
2. "Nationalism Without Patriotism: Frida Kahlo Remaps the Nation," Steven S. Volk, History, Oberlin College
3. "'Our Nation's Attic': Creating American Identity at the Smithsonian Institution," Tasslyn Frame, History, Case Western Reserve University
Session II: Is the Model Open or Closed? Rethinking Anderson
Chair: Mary Layoun, Comparative Literature, U of Wisconsin, Madison
Discussant: Wendy Kozol, Women's Studies and History, Oberlin College
1. "'Respecting the Existence of Marks': Mary Prince, Libel, and National Identity," Kathryn Temple, English, Georgetown University
2. "Representative Subjects: Modes of Representation in Anderson's Imagined Communities," Larry Needham, English, Lakeland Community College
3. "Unimaginable Communities: Limits and Openings in Discourses of Nationalism," Helen Hok-Sze Leung, Comparative Literature, University of Wisconsin, Madison

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