Theorizing Breast Cancer: Narrative, Politics, Memory
Special Issue of Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature
Edited by Mary K. DeShazer and Anita Helle
We invite proposals for a special issue of Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature that will focus on feminist theories of embodiment in breast cancer narratives, with particular emphasis on transnational, queer, environmental, genetic, biomedical/bioethical, and activist discourses. We seek traditional scholarly or mixed-genre essays that analyze literary and cultural representations of breast cancer in fiction, autobiography/memoir, and/or visual culture and that explore topics such as the following:
1. Women’s representations of medicalization, such as breast cancer diagnosis, lumpectomy, mastectomy, radiation, chemotherapy, other pharmaceutical or technological interventions, and decline or recovery;
2. The shifting politics of prosthesis, reconstruction, breast cancer culture, and/or survivor discourses;
3. Historiographies of breast cancer, including pre-history of cancer narrative as a defined topic;
4. Theories of breast cancer in relation to social determinants of literary and cultural representations;
5. Current and historicized breast cancer narratives as sites of public memory and individual/communal mourning;
6. The politics of location and/or theories of intersectionality in breast cancer narratives as regards racial-ethnic, class, queer, and/or disabled identities;
7. The aesthetic and representational strategies of writers, photographers, and artists who document breast cancer’s physical and/or psychological terrain;
8. Possible links among breast cancer, environmental carcinogens, and corporate cultures;
9. The ethics and efficacy of genetic testing, prophylactic mastectomy, and previvor discourses;
10. Breast cancer narratives in popular culture, including film narrative, television, blogs, and websites.
All essays should be informed by recent feminist scholarship on illness, medicalization, and cancer in medical humanities or narrative medicine and in literary, gender, cultural, visual, disability, and/or trauma studies. In the U.S. alone more than 178,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, and 40,000 die of this disease. Worldwide breast cancer rates are rising, and current projections suggest that within ten years, 70% of all breast cancer will affect women from the Global South. This issue of Tulsa Studies will examine a wide range of visual and verbal narratives that explore the contours of illness, survival, and memorialization.
Essays should be 6000-9000 words (excluding endnotes and bibliography), must use endnotes that conform to the most recent edition of the Chicago Manual of Style, and should be submitted in Microsoft Word. Please send detailed abstracts by August 1, 2012 to both of us and to Tulsa Studies editor Laura Stevens (firstname.lastname@example.org). Final essays, subsequent to acceptance of abstracts, will be due by January 4, 2013.
Mary K. DeShazer
Professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies
Wake Forest University
Professor of English,
Transitional Director, School of Writing, Literature, and Film
Oregon State University