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Call for papers: Female Fury and the Masculine Spirit of Vengeance

13 April 2012

Call for papers: Female Fury and the Masculine Spirit of Vengeance

Dr Lesel Dawson (English) and Dr Vanda Zajko are organising a conference on 5 - 6 September 2012 at the University of Bristol. Keynote speakers are Professor Alison Findlay and Professor Edith Hall.

Revenge is often thought of as a quintessentially masculine activity, set in a martial world of blood feuds and patriarchal codes of honour. However, the quest for vengeance can also be portrayed as intensifying passionate feelings traditionally thought of as feminine. In such instances revenge does not confirm a man’s heroic valour, but is a potentially emasculating force, dangerous to his reason, self-mastery, and gender identity. Such alternative ways of viewing revenge are also relevant when the avenger is a woman. To what extent is revenge deemed to be natural or unnatural to a woman, and what is its effect upon her psyche and perceived gender? Does the same impulse which effeminizes a man make a woman dangerously masculine? And how should we view the indirect ways that women influence retribution, such as through mourning, cursing, or goading? Are these an important means of female agency, or do they suggest women’s exclusion from active revenge, reinforcing traditional gender roles? Are certain acts of violence interpreted differently if the perpetrator is a man or woman, father or mother, son or daughter?

For more information see call for papers.