Women’s and Gender Studies Caucus


The NeMLA Women’s and Gender Studies Caucus welcomes members interested in feminist scholarship, women’s and gender studies, and the status of women in the profession at all stages of their careers. The Caucus organizes panels, promotes publication, and fosters the establishment of networks linking senior and junior faculty including graduate students.

Shakespeare’s Sister Mentor Program

The NeMLA WGS Caucus operates a mentoring program for junior faculty and doctoral students. The application form is available online. The application process will close on December 15th and mentees will be notified in early January. For more information or to volunteer to serve as a mentor please contact Elizabeth O’Connor at eoconnor2@washcoll.edu.

Caucus Information

Officers (2013-2014)

Rachel Speear
Rachel N. Spear
University of Southern Mississippi
English Department
Areas of Interest: Therapeutics of Writing, Autobiographical Studies, Trauma Studies/Theory, Composition Studies, and Pedagogical Studies.
Vice President
Elizabeth Foley O’Connor
Elizabeth Foley O’Connor
Washington College
English Department
Areas of Interest: Transatlantic Modernism, late 19th to mid-20th century British and Irish women writers, urban theory, and gaze theory. Recent work includes articles on Ford Madox Ford and Jean Rhys (forthcoming in 2012), Kate O’Brien, and Lizzie Twigg.
Ravenel Richardson
Ravenel Richardson
Case Western University
SAGES Teaching Fellow
Areas of Interest: Twentieth-century and contemporary literature, women’s writing, trauma studies, gender studies, Holocaust literature, life writing, literature and the body, war narratives, critical and cultural theory
Johanna Rossi Wagner
Johanna Rossi Wagner
The Pennsylvania State University
Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese
Areas of Interest: Italian postcolonial literature; historical trauma narratives; migration/transnational literature and theater; women writers; early 20th century visual culture and film. She has published and presented on 20th century Italian theater, Italian postcolonial women writers and colonial culture in East Africa.
Women’s and Gender Studies Caucus Representative to NeMLA
Rita Bode
Rita Bode
Trent University
Department of English Literature
Areas of interest: 19th and early 20th-century American and British women writers; transatlantic studies; Latina writing; maternal scholarship. Recent work includes articles on Stowe and George Eliot (forthcoming July 2012); Harriet Prescott Spofford; and Sandra Cisneros

Business Meeting

At its annual meeting held at the NeMLA Convention hotel site, the Women’s and Gender Studies Caucus takes nominations for new officers and invites suggestions for speakers and topics for future NeMLA Conferences.

Past Events

Caucus-sponsored Speakers

Boston 2013: Suzanne Matson, Boston College, “Writing Women’s Lives: A Fiction Reading and Discussion”

Rochester 2012: Stephanie Li, University of Rochester, “The Gospel According to Toni Morrison”

New Brunswick 2011: Sharon Jimenez, “Stand, Fight and Persevere: One Woman’s Journey Beyond Barriers”

Montreal 2010: Novelist Madeleine Monette presented selections from her recent text America is Also a Québec Novel

Boston 2009: Scholar Carole Boyce Davies (Cornell University), “Caribbean Women and the Black Radical Intellectual Tradition”

Buffalo 2008: Poet NourbeSe Philip, selections from and commentary on her remarkable poem Zong! (Wesleyan U Press, 2008). (Jointly sponsored with the CAITY Caucus)

Baltimore 2007: Novelist Elizabeth Nuñez, “The Women in Shakespeare‘s The Tempest: The Perspective of a Woman Novelist”

Women’s and Gender Studies Caucus Best Essay Award

The NeMLA Women’s and Gender Studies Caucus invites submissions for the “Best Essay in Women’s and Gender Studies Award.” The award is given for a paper presented at any session of the previous NEMLA Convention using women and/or gender-centered approaches. This essay may not be submitted to another contest for the duration of the award’s deliberation. The winning paper will be considered for publication in Modern Language Studies.

Send entries to Rachel N. Spear, President, NeMLA Women’s and Gender Studies Caucus: wgsnemla@gmail.com by 18 October 2013 with “NeMLA WGS Essay Submission” in the subject.

Criteria for all Caucus Essay Awards:

Submitted essays should be between 7,000 and 9,000 words (there is a 10,000 word limit, notes and works cited included). Unrevised paper presentations are not accepted and will be returned. The author’s name, address, and academic affiliation should appear only on a separate cover sheet. If this information appears elsewhere, the submission will be disqualified.

Each caucus prize offers a $100 cash award. Prize-winning essays will automatically be considered for publication by Modern Language Studies; all essays are subject to MLS’s double-blind review.

Past Award Winners

2013: Marisa Palacios Knox, Universtiry of California at Berkeley. “Literary Nunneries: Women’s Education, Sterility and Detachment”

2012: Melissa A. Schaub, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. “Middlebrow Feminism and the Politics of Sentiment: From The Moonstone to Dorothy L. Sayers.”

2011: Christopher Byrne, McGill University. “Using a Thorn to Dig out a Thorn: Tao Shan's Buddhist Perspectives on Gender.”

2010: Daniel Moore, Queens University. “Mourning the Mourners: Gender Politics of Commemoration in the First World War.”

2009: Zach Hutchins, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “Eschewing Eve and Emulating Elizabeth: The Wisdom of Anne Bradstreet.”

2008: Catherine Keyser, The University of South Carolina. “Keeping Ironic Company: Mary McCarthy and the Smart Woman in Politics.”


You can join the NeMLA Women’s and Gender Studies Caucus by indicating your interest on the registration form when you join NeMLA or renew your NeMLA membership.

Joint memberships are also available. Add $5.00 to the higher paying member’s dues.