Detailed Table of Contents

For the seventh time this special issue of gender forumprovides a platform for early career researchers in the field. The articles selected for the 2019 ECR issue focus on hegemonic systems of power, sex positivity and queerness, as well as notions of gendered identity…

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Abstract: This paper examines how Tomi Adeyemi’sChildren of Blood and Bone and N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season deconstruct the naturalised discourses by which hegemonial systems of power define the human and its others, using Herbrechter and Callus’ method of a posthumanist reading. This analysis is done in order to reveal the novels’underlying assumptions about what it means to be human, and the political motivations and implications of such a conceptualisation. It will be argued that Children of Blood and Bone and The Fifth Season use the discursive nature of the human and the other to speak up against the othering and subsequent oppression of minority groups. They both stay, however, within the framework of humanism and its belief in a human essence, and only The Fifth Season manages partly to break with anthropocentrism by de-centring the human from its allocated point of exceptionalism.

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Author’s Bio: Marvin John Walter has received a Bachelor of Arts in English Studies and Media Cultural Studies from the University of Cologne. He is currently studying at the Faculty of English at the University of Cambridge under an Erasmus+ scholarship. His research interests include contemporary speculative fiction, popular culture, gender and queer studies, and afrofuturism.

Abstract: This article argues that Michelle Tea’s Valencia (2000) advocates for sex-positivity and queer ways of being to resist heteronormative life markers and capital accumulation that fuel hypergentrification which, in turn, displaces queer communities and people of color (and those at the intersection of these identities) from their neighborhoods. In the first section, I posit that Tea, through her documentation of working-class sexual minorities in the 1990s San Francisco Mission District, uses the feminist tradition of memoir writing to form social and political community. I then utilize Jack Halberstam’s notion of ‘queer temporality’ to demonstrate how Tea constructs queer spaces occupied by sexual minorities who, removed from financial wealth and inheritance, inhabit a temporality that insists on the present moment. Employing queer time, Tea’s work encourages sexual minorities to imagine alternate life possibilities that subvert heteronormative institutions. To underline the significance of queer spaces, I conclude this paper by interrogating Tea’s inclusion of an interlude outside of the Mission District when Michelle (the narrator) and her lover, Iris, visit Iris’s Georgia family. Examining heteronormativity’s limits and highlighting the importance of spaces in which queer sexual minorities can perform and imagine lives outside of heteropatriarchy, I offer Tea’s Valenciaas a text that disrupts the idealization of access to heteronormative institutions and the rise of homonormativity to push for a transformational politics that critiques capitalist power structures.

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Author’s Bio: Leah E. Wilsonis a Ph.D. student in Literary Studies at Washington State University. Her research focuses on American and French women writers, such as Virginie Despentes, Michelle Tea, and Dorothy Allison, and contemporary sex-positive feminisms. Most recently, she published an article on Virginie Despentes’s Apocalypse Babyin The Rocky Mountain Review.

Abstract: This paper investigates points of contact between postmodernist / poststructuralist and feminist currents by analysing the deconstruction of stable gendered identities and the depiction of both femininity and masculinity in the performance artist Miranda July’s novel The first bad man (2015). Although there has been doubt about a productive interplay of postmodernism and feminism, it can be shown that the playfulness inherent in postmodern discourses might support feminism’s political agenda, namely by opening up the category of ‘woman’ to include participants who had been excluded from the framework of feminist identity politics before. The subversion of gender categories is achieved through performative acts (as described in Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble), namely the simulations or ‘adult games’ that the main characters Clee and Cheryl employ (for example re-enactments of old self-defence video tapes), and through the repeated parody of gendered norms inherent in the novel. While the heterosexual matrix is thus foregrounded, different forms of sexuality are played out against each other and the notion of a natural gender, as well as a specifically female sexuality, is called into question. Queer studies – with Judith Butler as their representative – provide a useful focus for the post-feminist agenda applied here (post-feminist not in the sense of a backlash, but as a new and productive approach to feminism and its objectives), and Linda Hutcheon’s ideas about a form of complicitous critique further exemplify the link to postmodernist theory. That subversion and destabilisation can only occur within their respective frameworks and that every deconstruction involves contradictoriness is made explicit throughout the paper and a possible escape from binary logic is proposed. The aim is to explore in how far postmodernism and feminism share certain objectives and, through their subversion of fixed identities and meanings, can create a productive intersection.

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Author’s Bio: Jana Tubbesing has completed her bachelor’s degree in English Studies and German Language and Literature at the University of Cologne. She is currently undergoing postgraduate study in Comparative Literature at the University of Glasgow. Her research interests include queer studies, intersectional approaches to feminism, and children’s literature.

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Author’s Bio: Laken Brooksis an English graduate student at the University of Florida, where she studies book history, gender/sexuality, and disability. Brooks worked with the nonprofit iGIANT (Impact of Gender and Sex on Innovation and Novel Technologies) as their Scholar-in-Residence, where she studied the gender bias in AI and VR. Now, Brooks is working with the National Trust for Historic Preservation to highlight lesbian history in the United States. 

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Author’s Bio: Kanak Yadavis a Ph.D. scholar at Centre for English Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. She has also worked as an Assistant Professor (English) at Delhi University colleges. In her doctoral research, she studies the representation of Indian metropolitan cities in contemporary Indian English Nonfiction. Her articles and reviews have appeared in Contemporary Voice of Dalit, Akademos, The New Leam and World Literature Today