Detailed Table of Contents

This special issue of Gender Forum is the final issue of our yearly ECR issues. Eight years ago, former editorial assistant Dr. Laura-Marie Schnitzler (at this point she was still completing her PhD), was interested in fostering researchers who are at an early stage in their career. More often than not those researchers have hardly the possibility to publish and if at all, they might be able to publish a review. However, we wanted to offer researchers in their early years a platform where we can assist and support them by going the extra mile in peer-reviewing their articles. We also wanted to find a platform for some of the papers that have been written as part of their university education but needed to be adapted to publishable articles.

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Author’s Bio: Sarah Youssef is an Egyptian-German internationally working freelance theatre maker and research scholar. She has completed her undergraduate studies in Theatre at the American University in Cairo, Egypt and her graduate degrees in Text and Performance Studies at RADA/King’s College London and in Cross Sectoral and Community Arts at Goldsmiths University. From 2012 to 2021 Sarah was editorial manager of gender forum – An Internet Journal for Gender Studies and was research assistant and lecturer at the University of Cologne, Germany. Sarah has been a CUNY visiting research scholar in 2014 and 2017. She received her doctorate in English Literature from the University of Cologne, Germany, where she completed her dissertation on her decade-long empirical research on UK and US prison theatre (forthcoming 2022, Intellect Publishing).

Abstract: Westworld (2016-present) is one of the most popular and complex television narratives in recent years. Based on the classic 1973 science fiction film of the same title, the show’s first two seasons are set in a technologically advanced Western-themed Park where human guests pay to interact in any way they wish with the hosts/androids that populate its world. Yet, unlike the robots of the 1973 version who easily betrayed their mechanical origin, this time the hosts blur the boundaries between human and machine, real and fabricated, thus posing significant questions about posthumanism. Furthermore, the depiction of the hosts as specifically embodied and gendered artificial beings, also raises questions surrounding postfeminism. These two concepts, namely posthumanism and postfeminism, are interwoven in the representation of two of the show’s main protagonists, Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and Maeve (Thandie Newton), two female androids that begin to realize their fabricated reality and develop a new subjectivity. The article argues that despite the emancipating possibilities that an emergent posthuman subjectivity suggests, the show’s posthuman heroines are finally constrained by the text’s humanist and postfemininst limitations.

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Author’s Bio: Evdokia Stefanopoulou is a post-doc researcher at the School of Film, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. She received her PhD from the same school in 2019. Her research was funded by the General Secretariat for Research and Technology (GSRT) and the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation (HFRI). The topic of her thesis is the American science fiction film in the 21st century. Her research interests include film theory, science fiction, posthumanism, technoculture and gender.

Abstract: This essay analyses the plays Cleansed and 4.48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane in the context of genderqueer identity. Genderqueer is used as an umbrella term for identities that fall outside the binary of male and female, a concept imposed by a Western hetero- and homonormative society that this work seeks to subvert. Contemporary queer (performance) theory and lived experiences of trans* and queer people form an integral part in understanding the plays’ characters, their struggles and their journey in these plays. This serves as an attempt to disrupt academic discourse around identity in Kane’s works to-date and inform ways to understand genderqueer perspectives.

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Author’s Bio: Evie Helen Reckendrees holds a B.A. in English Studies and Media Culture Studies from the University of Cologne. Their research interests include Queer and Feminist Theory, as well as intersections of gender and performance theory in theatre and film. Her creative work focuses on the corporeality of trans* bodies, trans aesthetics and queer practice of care.

Abstract: The femme fatale, one of the most common and renowned female, cinematic tropes across different crime genres, undergoes a queering in the 2018 UK series Killing Eve, in which the female investigator Eve Polastri and the female killer Villanelle engage in a dangerous cat-and-mouse game driven by mutual, queer desires. Killing Eve serves as a critical revisitation of the 1992 US-American classic Basic Instinct, in which one of the most notorious, flamboyant and influential femmes fatales to this day, Catherine Tramell, seduces and threatens a male investigator. By conducting a close, comparative reading of Killing Eve’s Villanelle and Basic Instinct’s Catherine, the relationship between investigator and female murderer in both media respectively, and by reading Killing Eve’s character Eve as an investigator who herself emerges as a femme fatale, this paper demonstrates how Killing Eve subverts the trope of the femme fatale, escalates its queer monstrosity and extends Catherine’s ability to violently disrupt the heteronormative, gendered politics of pop-cultural imagination.

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Author’s Bio: Christina Grübler is currently finishing their MA in Gender & Queer Studies at the University of Cologne. They have concluded their BA in English, Psychology and Educational Sciences at the Technical University of Dortmund. Research and publication interests include Queer Media Studies, Videogame Studies, Cultural Studies, Social Sciences, Critical Heterosexuality Studies and Queer Pedagogy. Christina is a freelance educator and speaker who has interned, volunteered and worked at different queer educational, anti-discrimination and gender equality initiatives. They are currently a scientific assistant in the project “Gender as Practical Competence and Transdisciplinary Analytical Perspective – Social Innovation in Teaching and Research” at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences.

Abstract: We argue that early twentieth century Black women labor organizers and their movement for inclusive women’s suffrage and women’s labor rights stay absent from popular first wave feminist narratives. After the ratification of the nineteenth amendment, Black women continued organizing for women’s suffrage and labor rights in the face of racial and gender-based policies that legalized the labor exploitation of Black women and the suppression of the Black vote. We detail African American educator Nannie Helen Burroughs’s labor and voting initiatives to challenge the white women-centered chronology of first wave feminism and expand its narrative to include Black women’s labor organizing both at home and abroad. While working with women’s suffrage organizations, Burroughs established the National Trade School for Women and Girls in 1909 to improve the working conditions of Black domestic workers and create career opportunities that had been denied to them because of discriminatory hiring practices and intersecting racial and gender inequalities. In 1921, Burroughs co-founding the National Association of Wage Earners, a national union organizing effort for Black women. While piecing together her groundbreaking initiatives from archives, obituaries, newspaper articles, speeches, secondary literature, event notices, and the biographies of her co-organizers, we assert that her story sheds new light on the rarely acknowledged connection between Black women’s labor and political organizing in the United States and abroad, drawing attention to the often-marginalized histories of Black domestic worker organizing in feminist historical narratives. We intend for this historical uncovering of Burroughs writings to begin the conversation about who she was as a national and international labor organizer.

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Author’s Bio: Veronica Popp has a Master’s in Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and a Master’s in English with a concentration in Literary Studies from Western Illinois University. She is currently a PhD Candidate in Rhetoric with a minor in Multicultural Women’s and Gender studies at Texas Woman’s University. Popp has been published in Still Point Arts Quarterly and The Last Line. Her creative dissertation, Sick, was longlisted for the New Welsh Review Writing Awards 2017 AmeriCymru Prize for the Novella. She served as the Graduate Research Assistant for Jane Nelson Institute for Women’s Leadership and Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy, Suffrage in Texas Expanded (SITE). She has co-published with Danielle Phillips Cunningham in Peitho and Women Gender and Families of Color. Popp served as acting chair for the Higher Education Profession Part-Time and Contingent Faculty Issues Committee of the Modern Language Association. Alongside her academic work, Popp worked as an organizer for the Chicago Metro Project in higher education constituencies at DePaul University, University of Chicago, and Northwestern University. Her lesson plan on organizing within the sex industry was published by Films for the Feminist Classroom. She is currently revising a single authored work for Academic Labor: Research and Artistry. Popp is currently an Instructor of English at Elmhurst University, previously, she was a full-time community college professor at Ranger College. She is currently writing a book of creative nonfiction essays.

Danielle Phillips-Cunningham is Director of the Multicultural Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Texas Woman’s University where she teaches courses about women’s migrations and labors and feminist/womanist theories. Her book “Putting Their Hands on Race: Irish Immigrant and Southern Black Domestic Workers (Rutgers University Press, December 2019),” offers a transdisciplinary and comparative labor history of 19th and early 20th century Irish immigrant and US Black migrant domestic workers in US northeastern cities. Drawing on a range of archival sources from the United States and Ireland, this intersectional study explores how these women were significant to the racial labor and citizenship politics of their time.

Abstract: Trans is “hot right now” (Winterson 1226). But who gets to write about trans issues? Winterson’s and Fu’s books follow in the upsurge of trans visibility in the mainstream media referred to as the “transgender tipping point” and marked by Laverne Cox’s appearance on the cover of Time Magazine and prominent trans celebrity interviews on the Piers Morgan and Katie Couric shows in 2014. However, visibility can also be a “trap”, as Gossett et al. have argued, in that they “accommodat[e] trans bodies, histories, and culture only insofar as they can be forced to hew to hegemonic modalities” (xxiii). Mia Fischer explains that “the popular assumption that the increased visibility of trans individuals in public discourse automatically translates into improvement in transgender people’s daily lives” needs to be challenged (5). In addition to the disparity between visibility and real-life problems, the question of how trans people are represented is also problematic. As Brynn Tannehill put it, “when nearly every media portrayal of a transgender [person] is as someone who is incapable, sad, and/or pathetic, it makes it that much harder for us to be taken seriously and dig ourselves out of the hole we’re in”. I take Kim Fu and Jeanette Winterson as two recent examples of cisgender writers taking up trans characters, representing them in outdated and offensive ways, and basing their research about transness on sources – traditonal trans memoirs, medical facts, and mainstream media – that replicate patterns which trans authors have identified as harmful. Following Jacob Hale’s “Suggested Rules for Non-Transsexuals Writing about Transsexuals, Transsexuality, Transsexualism, or Trans,” I propose five new rules cis fiction writers should adhere to when writing trans characters.

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Author’s Bio: Ana Horvat holds a PhD in English from the University of Alberta. Their work on trans autobiographical performance has been published in a/b: Auto/Biography Studies journal. They work as a lecturer in literature at Soochow University in China.

Abstract: This article explores the linkages between queerness, racialisation, activism, and community care in the South Asian diaspora. It examines activism, organizing, and social movement work practiced by queer diasporic South Asians in the UK and the US. By understanding South Asian activist relationship to, and solidarity and partnership with, Black liberation activism, this article conceptualises a framing of queer South Asian diasporic solidarity. This solidarity is framed through contrasting articulations of joint struggle, allyship, and kinship in queer communities. To articulate this struggle, the article contrasts histories of South Asian racialisation, politicisation, and queerness in the UK and the US, and synthesises first-person activist accounts of modern-day queer South Asian activists in the diaspora. Finally, it argues that queer feminist South Asian activists in both countries are employing a model of queered solidarity with Black activists and Black liberation, though in differing forms in each country, that centres queer intimacies and anti-patriarchal modes of organising for liberation across queer communities of colour.

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Author’s Bio: Maya Bhardwaj is a queer Indian-American researcher, community organiser, facilitator, trainer, musician, and artist. She has worked transnationally in queer and people of colour-led movements and activism for the past 10 years, including in the US, India, the UK, and Mexico.

Abstract: n/a

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Author’s Bio: Michael Mayne teaches English and Queer Studies at Denison University. His research interests include literary studies, cultural studies, queer studies, critical theory. His essay “Agnes Smedley’s Daughter of Earth and Representations of the Social” appears in Poverty in American Popular Culture: Essays on Representations, Beliefs and Policy (McFarland, 2020), and his essay “White Nationalism and the Rhetoric of Nostalgia” appears in Affect, Emotion, and Rhetorical Persuasion in Mass Communication (Routledge, 2018).

Abstract: n/a

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Author’s Bio: Daniel Schulz is a German-U.S.-American researcher and writer based in Cologne, known for his short story collection Schrei (Formidabel 2016). In 2017 he undertook the inventory of the Kathy Acker Reading Room at the University of Cologne, i.e. the archive of Kathy Acker‘s personal library, which he has since curated involving collaborations with exhibitions at the Gallery Barbara Weiß in Berlin, Badischer Kunst Verein in Karlsruhe, and the ICA in London. In 2019 he received a travel grant from the Goethe Institute to curate and co-organize the exhibition and symposium Kathy Acker in Seattle with Larry Reid, hosted by the Goethe Institute and Fantagraphic Books in Seattle, and co-edited Gender Forum‘s special edition Kathy Acker: Portrait of an Eye/I. In 2020 he finished his Masters degree in History and English Studies with his thesis Inventarization and Creation of a Finding Aid: Kathy Acker 1947-1997 and worked as an editor for the publication Kathy Acker in Seattle (Misfit Lit 2020). He is currently pursuing his Phd thesis Discipline and Anarchy: The Carnevalesque and Labyrinthine Writing of Kathy Acker at the University of Cologne.