The Rented Room, SSAWW 2015 Conference (Nov. 4-8)
A good deal of scholarship has taken up the gendered dynamics of public and private space, and more recently, work in twentieth century literature has begun problematizing the idea of a “divide” in favor of moving toward a spectrum of private, semi-private, semi-public, and public. Despite this, little scholarship has examined spaces that occupy an ambivalent position, simultaneously public and private or the gender dynamics that govern these spaces. “Rented Rooms,” a proposed panel for the 2015 SSAWW conference in Philadelphia, seeks to examine representations of rented rooms, including apartments, hotel rooms, and boarding houses as physically liminal spaces—neither fully public nor fully private—spaces that ambivalently represent transience and relative permanence, and as spaces that bring strangers into intimate proximity. What does it mean to occupy a rented room? What freedoms and limitations are available to women who occupy rented rooms? What differentiates or allies rented rooms with private spaces? What differentiates or allies rented rooms with public spaces? How are rented rooms drawn into relationship with their surrounding environments, including streets, neighborhoods, and cities? What types of politics and social critiques accompany representations of these liminal spaces? Possible lines of inquiry might also take up the economics of the rented room, the power dynamics of rent, relationships between landlords and tenants, the history of policing working-class female bodies, or the rented room relationship to patterns of migration. Send 250-word proposal and short scholarly bio firstname.lastname@example.org by February 5.