Mut zur Wut: Nasty Women and Feminist Anger in the German-speaking World
The figure of the difficult, unruly, nasty woman has been gaining traction. In 2016, for instance, The Huffington Post published an article entitled “The Rise of the Unlikeable Woman.” In the US, a series of brilliant books have been published on the topic of female anger, among them Rebecca Traister’s Good and Mad. The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger (2018) and Soraya Chemaly’s Rage becomes her (2018). Female anger has had a moment in the academy as well. In the “Feminist Attachments” chapter of Cultural Politics of Emotion (2004) feminist scholar Sarah Ahmed describes anger as an appropriate political and ethical feminist response to historical violence and suffering. Ahmed argues that anger, affectively and effectively, is world-making.
The ability to express one’s anger at the state of our world, how anger is voiced and perceived is tied to gender, race, and status within society, and the socio-cultural make-up of the society itself. Anger is a socialized, gender-policed, and regulated emotion. As a negative force, it is used to reduce someone’s standing in the world. Female anger is the emotional response to being reduced, to be treated disrespectfully and unfairly, and of feeling powerless. Paradoxically, that angry female response is often met with even more anger.
Although anger (its display and perception) are culture specific, in a global world with news of violence against outspoken women at our fingertips, it also transcends borders, and women respond to and are affected by what happens in other parts of the world.
We call for papers that explore women’s anger, their responses to other women’s anger, and examples of the “nasty woman” in the German-speaking world. Studies show that German women are more comfortable with expressing their anger than their sisters in the United States and elsewhere. One central question of our project is why this may be the case.
We are interested in essays that explore German, Austrian, and Swiss women writers, film makers, comedians, artists, and journalists’ personal experiences with social and cultural constructions of anger and the various responses to their work.
How do women in the German-speaking world express anger experienced in private and public spheres, i.e. in intimate relationships and families, at work and in politics?
Possible topics include (but are certainly not limited to):
• Autobiographical and biographical accounts, comedy, photography, film, literature, comics, graphic novels, feminist rants, art, and journalism
about radically rude and angry women in the German-speaking world and the reception these received.
• Challenges of telling angry women’s stories today, whether in scholarship, op-eds, on stage, in public or private spaces. Commemoration,
celebration and/or criticism of angry women.
• Connections between discourse about angry women and the legal and political status of women and girls.
• Definitions, e.g. “nasty woman”, and their connotations and implications.
• Angry Women and girls as producers and consumers of (social) media.
• White Feminism and privilege.
• Protests, resistance, and social justice.
• Collaborations of angry women (friendships, alliances, organizations).
• Moving forward as an academic community.
• Black Women’s Rage. The indispensable roles women of color have played in the history of women’s rights and the subsequent historical
erasure of their contributions.
• Women activists building revolutionary alliances across race and class differences.
• Tensions between the ideology of anger and the practice of being an angry woman. Different forms of female anger.
• Global responses and contributions of angry women in the German-speaking world.
• Cultural, literary, and artistic representations of angry women.
Please contact either Julia Gruber or Regina Range directly with questions.
Gruber is Associate Professor of German at Tennessee Tech University.
Range is Assistant Professor of German at the University of Alabama.
To submit, please send a title and a short proposal (max. 500 words), together with a short bio, to [log in to unmask] and [log in to unmask] by July 30, 2020.
Publisher: TBD—The submissions will be used as part of a book prospectus, which will be sent out to publishers at the end of summer. The editors will target presses that specialize in publishing interdisciplinary feminist collections.
The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Sean Franzel
Assistant Editor: Olaf Schmidt
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at: https://grs.missouri.edu/german/resources