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Northeast Modern Language Association

Women's & 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 an interdisciplinary mentoring program which pairs senior faculty mentors with junior faculty and doctoral students. The application process for mentees will open on November 1, 2016 and close on January 15, 2017. To access the application, please click here. For more information or to volunteer to serve as a mentor please contact us at

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.

Caucus-sponsored Speakers

Hartford 2016: Crystal Parikh, “The Unyielding Earth: Women of Color Feminism and Cold War Fictions.”  

Toronto 2015: Sara Horowitz, York University, “‘If He Knows to Make a Child...’: Integrating Gender into Holocaust Survivor Narratives”

Harrisburg 2014: Ann Jurecic, Rutgers University, “Susan Sontag’s Trouble with Memoir”

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 Núñez, “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 by November 15, 2016, with “NeMLA WGS Essay Submission” in the subject heading.

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

2016: Nicole Gervasio, Columbia University, “The Power of the Weak Signifier: Wordsworth’s Lucy in J.M.  Coetzee’s and Jamaica Kincaid’s Decolonizing Fictions”

2015: Mary Ellen Iatropoulos, Independent Scholar, “Laughing and Crying Behind Her Mask: Code-Switching and Sentimental Strategy in Fanny Fern’s Ruth Hall 

2014: Victoria Muñoz, Ohio State University “Female Translators and Their Detractors: Theories of Early Modern Translation in Development”

2014 Honorable Mention: Kara Johnson, Northwestern University, “A ‘pure, young voice’: Textual Performance in the Journals of Frances and Mary Willard”

2013: Marisa Palacios Knox, University 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.

  • Women’s and Gender Studies Caucus Membership: $20
  • Women’s and Gender Studies Caucus Membership (graduate student and part-time): $10

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

Current Officers


Tara Harney-Mahajan
University of Connecticut
English Department; Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Editor, LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory

Areas of Interest: Irish literature, South Asian English literature, and World literature; Women’s Writing; Postcolonial , Queer, and Feminist Theory

Vice President

Margarita Vargas
University at Buffalo
Romance Languages and Literatures

Areas of Interest: 20th and 21 century Spanish-American theatre, Mexican theatre and film; Feminist Theory


Laura Hartmann-Villalta
Northeastern University

Editorial assistant for DHCommons Journal

Areas of interest: 20th century American and British literature, visual studies, and gender studies


Ravenel Richardson
Independent Scholar

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

Women’s and Gender Studies Caucus Representative to NeMLA

Rachel N. Spear
Francis Marion University
English Department

Areas of Interest: Therapeutics of Writing, Autobiographical Studies, Trauma Studies/Theory, Composition Studies, and Pedagogical Studies

Women’s and Gender Studies Caucus Media Representative

Holly Morgan, Lecturer
Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario
Department of Women’s Studies

Areas of interest: South Asian Studies, Women's Writing, Postcolonial Literature, Diaspora Studies, Fat Studies, Girl Studies, Constructions of maternity and the female body in literature