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.

Women’s and Gender Studies Caucus Best Essay Award (Extended Deadline October 15)

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 two NeMLA conventions using women and/or gender-centered approaches. This essay may not be submitted to another contest for the duration of the award’s deliberation. Essays must be submitted in English. The winning paper will be considered for publication in Modern Language Studies.

If you presented at either the 2017 or 2018 convention on a women's and gender studies topic, please consider revising your presentation and submitting it for the annual Caucus Essay Award. If you chaired a panel, please be sure to remind your panelists to submit for this award.

Email entries to Laura Hartmann-Villalta, President, NeMLA Women’s and Gender Studies Caucus at wgsnemla@gmail.com by October 15, 2018, with “NeMLA WGSC Essay Award Submission” in the subject line.

Criteria for all Caucus Essay Awards

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 (as essays undergo a blind review).  If this information appears elsewhere, the submission will be disqualified. Please note that only English submissions will be considered.  Decisions will be communicated to submitters in early winter 2019.

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.

WGS Mentorship Program (Deadline January 15)

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 in late fall and close January 15, 2019. To access the application, please click here. For more information or to volunteer to serve as a mentor please contact us at wgsnemla@gmail.com with the subject "WGS Mentorship Program."

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


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.

Officer Descriptions and Duties

Duties for the Secretary position 

  • recording all minutes of WGSC meetings and submitting them for approval 
  • corresponding with all current members about upcoming elections; creating and holding online elections via survey monkey 
  • acting as a liaison between the Women’s and Gender Studies Caucus and the webmaster to maintain accurate and up-to-date caucus information on the website 
  • selecting, designing, submitting, and overseeing the coordination of the caucus-sponsored panel for the next convention 
  • and supporting the Vice President with the WGS Mentorship Program 
  • drafting pre and post convention newsletters 

Duties for the Board Representative position 

This is a three-year position. The Board rep acts as the liaison between the Caucus and the Board, and NeMLA's administrative staff when required. The Board rep works closely with the other Board members to ensure that the Caucus and the organization as a whole both contribute to and benefit from the other's strengths. As a member of the NeMLA board, the Board Representative 

  • manages WGS Caucus panels including overseeing approval and rejection of all panels, publicizing the CFP for panels and then for papers and informing chairs of important information 
  • attends the Fall and Spring meetings of the NeMLA Board, and prepares the Caucus Board Reports for these meetings
  • contacts nemlaweb@gmail.com for website changes related to the CFP and NeMLA Board related information, and as needed
  • provides information for the caucus newsletters and for Modern Language Studies, NeMLA's peer reviewed journal 
  • provides the materials for the caucus table at the convention 
  • has opportunities to read for the Book Prize and the Summer Fellowships 
  • is part of NeMLA decision-making

Duties for the Social Media Representative position

This is a yearly position, volunteered for at the spring convention business meeting. Duties are primarily overseeing the caucus Facebook page, which will include adding a few WGS Caucus announcements throughout the year and approving caucus members’ posts to the page. 

Current Officers


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

Vice President

Laura Hartmann-Villalta
Georgetown University

Editorial assistant for DHCommons Journal

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


Sarah Goldbort
University at Buffalo

Areas of interest: rape culture, British nationalism and theories of the nation, history of the book studies, and the Long Eighteenth Century.

Past President

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

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

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