Detailed Table of Contents

With this issue we aim to emphasize not only the necessity of research in the field of Gender and Queer Studies, but we also want to draw on contemporary issues that reflect the importance of an ongoing discourse on a global scale. 

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Abstract: The flak which Gender Studies receive from within academic institutions, in (social) media and even through bans from state governments is usually staged as a crucial redeeming of science as a ‘neutral’, ‘distant’ and ‘objective’ endeavour. As a term ‘gender’ meanwhile has become synonymous with politics, activism and ideology regardless of the context or the shape in which it is served. Queer interrogations of the heteronormative ordering of sex, gender and sexuality in particular are rendered as scientifically untenable and socially disruptive fantasy texts. This contribution investigates the modes and means of maintaining and (re-)gaining discursive power regarding the delimitations of the contestable and underscores the necessity, value, and force of queer knowledge productions.

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Author’s Bio: Dirk Schulz holds a doctorate in Anglophone Studies and is the managing director of GeStiK – Gender Studies in Cologne. He teaches in the both the certificate program as well as in the inter-faculty and inter-university master’s program “Gender & Queer Studies” inaugurated in 2017. Since 2018 he is a speaker* of the KEG (Conference of Institutions for Women’s & Gender Studies in German-speaking Countries) as well as an editorial board member at the Open Gender Journal. Research and publication interests include Gender & Queer Studies, Literary & Cultural Studies, Popular Culture & Poststructuralism, Semiotics & Discourse Analysis.

Abstract: This paper presents an analysis of the implications of gendered language within the narrative world of the fantasy book Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Mass (2015). Gendered language reflects the expectations set upon the normative ideals of the gender binary, which itself is a system of power that is based on normalization and exclusion. This system is destabilized through disruptions. However, the disruption of gender expectations is not sufficient for the deconstruction of the gender binary itself. The analysis of the book’s central female heroine will uncover how power negotiations are inherently linked to a binary gender system. Building an awareness towards gendered language presents the first step towards moving beyond the binary.

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Author’s Bio: Robyn Dudic is currently finishing their MA English Studies at the University of Cologne. They have concluded their BA’s in English and American Studies, as well as in Comparative Literature at the University of Innsbruck, and will start their PhD there, as well. Robyn’s research focusses on the relevance of intersecting literary studies and linguistics with regard to Shakespeare and the Chiasm as a tool to investigate the creation, generation, and transformation of meaning. Further aspects of their research are issues of Queer Theory and Otherness. Robyn is currently an intern at gender forum, an Internet Journal for Gender Studies, and works on their first publications.

Abstract: The Oxford Handbook of Global LGBT and Sexual Diversity Politics (2020) edited by M. Bosia, S. McEvoy, and M. Rahman, offers three sections composed of twenty-eight chapters on histories, theories, case studies, and critiques of global LGBT and sexual diversity politics. The handbook’s main intention is to dislodge the centrality of the U.S., and the West in general, in global LGBT studies. The editors therefore support a more inclusive perspective through case studies of a decentralized ‘global’ LGBT world…

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Author’s Bio: Alexandra Fine is a PhD candidate at the University of California, Davis in the Cultural Studies Graduate Group. She received her MA in Visual and Critical Studies from California College of the Arts and her BA in Comparative American Studies from Oberlin College. She has served as the graduate coordinator of the Queer, Feminist, and Trans Studies Research Cluster and the graduate assistant to HATCH: The Feminist Arts and Science Shop Mellon Initiative. Her dissertation, entitled “Enduring Rehabilitation: an Interrogation of American Cultures of Care and Cure,” examines discourses of rehabilitation as represented and enacted through various sites, including therapeutic film, wilderness therapy programs, HIV/AIDS activism and treatment, and practices of harm reduction.

Abstract: Approximately 25% of relationships in the UK begin online, but for same-sex couples, the percentage is nearly three times higher, around 70% (Fiennes 137-138). At the same time, more and more people are putting off sex and relationships, making today’s young people “the oldest virgins on record” (Fiennes 82). In Behind Closed Doors: Sex Education Transformed (2019), Natalie Fiennes explores this evolving landscape around sex, sexuality, and dating, as well as the ways in which we learn about and discuss these topics. Divided into chapters on sex, gender, (hyper)masculinity, body image, sexual consent, contraceptives, virginity, sexual violence, sexuality, pornography, sex work, and dating, this text offers its readers a number of useful entry points into a wide range of topics that Fiennes argues ought to play a larger role in sex education.

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Author’s Bio: Jon Heggestad is an English doctoral candidate at Stony Brook University, where he has also received advanced graduate certificates in Women’s & Gender Studies and in Teaching Writing. He has taught courses on the coming-of-age novel, queer studies, and the digital humanities. His own scholarship can be found at the intersection of these fields, and his current dissertation work traces out a history of queer reproduction through literature, film, and digital texts.

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Abstract: In her article ‘Using Queer Phenomenology to Disrupt Heteronormativity and Deconstruct Homosexuality’ (2020), Jennifer Lane traces the legacy of the pathologization of “homosexuality” as a “mental disorder” (6). Until 1973, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) contained homosexuality, contributing to the equation of non-heterosexual identities with “abnormality” (6). Lane calls attention to mental health disparities between 2SLGBTQ-identifying persons and heterosexual persons and argues that this is perpetuated by the legacy of pathologizing homosexuality. Although homosexuality has been removed from the DSM, stigma pervades. Using Sara Ahmed’s queer phenomenology, Lane uncovers the continued ubiquity of heteronormativity as it works in tandem with stigma and its effects on those with 2SLGBTQ identities…

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Author’s Bio: Amy Keating is a PhD Candidate at Western University in the Women’s Studies and Feminist Research Department. Her work explores queer connections and communities through engagement with queer theory, temporalities, and phenomenology. Particularly, Amy focuses on how various art forms can foster times and spaces conducive to queer belonging and how this is shown through contemporary sub-cultures in music, performance, visual, and tattooing arts.

Abstract: What is it to be recognized, to be made visible? Is the representation of visual material solely dependent upon the media, or is the framing of LGBT people always fraught with questions of inequality and injustice? In their article, ‘Coming Out of the Closet, Also on the News? A Longitudinal Content Analysis of Patterns in Visibility, Tone, and Framing of LGBTs on Television News (1986-2017)’ (2020), Laura Jacobs and Cecil Meeusen map the framing of LGBT people in Flanders, Belgium. Informed by recent arguments against discrimination towards homosexuality (Gerhards 2010; Hooghe and Meeusen 2013), and LGBT representation (Redman 2018), Jacobs and Meeusen interrogate the visibility of LGBT people in Belgian mainstream media.

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Author’s Bio: Hatty Nestor is a cultural critic and writer, and is presently completing an AHRC-funded PhD about Ana Mendieta at Birkbeck, University of London. Her book, Ethical Portraits, is an inquiry into how prisoners are portrayed in the American criminal justice system, and is forthcoming from Zero Books. She has been writer-in-residence at the Jerwood Space in London (2017) and critic-in-residence at Studio Das Weisse Haus in Vienna (2019). She studied at Goldsmiths College before attending the Royal College of Art, where she received a full scholarship. Her writing has been supported by the Arts Council, and appears in Frieze, Art in America, BOMB Magazine, The White Review, and many other publications. She co-runs the CHASE/AHRC Queer Feminist Archival Network at Goldsmiths College.

Abstract: Raine Dozier’s essay “You Look Like a Dude, Dude’: Masculine Females Undoing Gender in the Workplace’” (2019) examines liminal categories of gender expression and embodiment like masculine females and their capability of ‘undoing gender’ in the workplace. This may be carried out due to their potential to reveal and interrogate naturalized accounts of men and women in theoretical discussions of gender. The process of “doing gender” perpetuates and naturalizes hegemonic masculinities (Dozier 1219). It creates gender binaries which lead to a conflation of gender performativity, biological sex and sexual orientation. . .

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Author’s Bio: Nishtha Pandey is a doctoral research scholar at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, India. Her research areas include 20th and 21st century literature and philosophy, critical theory, affect studies, laughter and cultural theory. Her current project examines literary representations of ‘female’ subjectivities that resist the literary male gaze in contemporary novels through a framework of solidarity, empathy and laughter. Her M.Phil dissertation submitted at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi in 2019 is titled The Disruptions of Laughter: A Study of ‘Affect’-ive Laughter, Discomfort and Saturday Night Live.

Abstract: When conducting research about LGBTQ people, it is easy to fall into the trap of taking individuals’ sexualities for granted. Feminist scholars have discussed the social construction of gender at length. However, while we often pay lip service to the idea that sexuality, too, is socially and historically contingent, research rarely takes this idea as a central point of departure. Professor Mary Robertson’s recent book, Growing Up Queer: Kids and the Remaking of LGBTQ Identity (2019) is one rare example of research looks at how one becomes sexual. Growing Up Queer provides an ethnographic analysis of Spectrum, an LGBTQ youth center in an urban center in western United States in 2012-2013, to explore how the youth at this center become sexual and gendered through the social contexts they occupy. . .

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Author’s Bio: Nic Rios is a doctoral candidate in sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). Their research interests intersect around trans studies, disability studies, medical sociology, critical race theory. Their dissertation explores the barriers that transgender people who don’t conform to the “transnormative” narrative face when trying to obtain gender-affirming medical interventions.

Abstract: Lynn M. Thomas’s new book, Beneath the Surface: A Transnational History of Skin Lighteners presents a history of lightening products centered in South Africa that is attentive to transnational ties. Her book asks a series of questions about why people have chosen to use skin lighteners throughout history and what these choices tell us about the politics of beauty, personal desires, social and economic transformations, and race. By tracing the history of lightening in South Africa, she demonstrates how a long history of this practice existed among Africans in South Africa. In doing so, she shows that skin lightening cannot just be explained by racism, but by an amalgamation of factors including gender, class, and sexuality (Thomas 2). . .

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Author’s Bio: Avenel Rolfsen is a PhD Candidate in African History with a minor in Gender Studies at Indiana University-Bloomington. Her research focuses on the history of philanthropy, charity and humanitarianism in twentieth-century Senegal.