This year, the Northeast Modern Language Association (NEMLA) Annual Convention asks participants to consider the theme of care, and our vulnerabilities and interdependence on each other. This panel asks for analysis of masculinity and care in modern media, with submissions due September 30.
According to the organizers, the title for this session is taken from the AMC series The Terror, in which an older man is heartbroken as he stands by the bed of his dying captain. “It was an honor serving you, sir. You are a good man. There will be poems,” he assures him (The Terror Episode 9). His grief and his care are portrayed sincerely and not as an indication of a lack of masculinity or courage. His desire to create poems for a beloved dying man is pathologized and instead represents a strength of character.
Depictions of masculinity provide a rich area in which to consider care and dependence as certain kinds of masculinity can prove resistant to care. What happens when male characters care for each other, expose vulnerabilities, and are dependent on each other for emotional and physical needs? How are male characters depicted when they are shown in typically female professions, such as nursing or teaching young children?
As our society becomes more aware of the damage that toxic masculinity can cause, we should continue to search for alternative modes of masculinity. As we redefine masculinity, how can we include care in our framework? Papers could explore traditional caregiver roles, teaching and instructing roles, experiences during war or survival stories, and more. Submissions should feel free to consider films, television, music, podcasts, books, and more of the 21st century.
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