EnGendered Borders

In a 2016 music video, “Borders”, the ever-controversial M.I.A., herself a Tamil refugee, comments on the gendered aspects of Western anxieties in the on-going refugee ‘crisis’: images of endless masses of all-male refugees of colour resonate with right-wing myths of uncivilized brown invaders, stealing jobs, raping white women and undermining Euro-American gender progressivism. In fact, gender issues are a constitutive force not only in refugee status and immigration law, but also in media discourses and popular knowledge production about refugees. “[T]reated as interruptions, intermittent presences” (Said 1986), the Othered gendered practices of refugees are fused into a negative dispositive against which Western host countries can repeatedly rework their gender and sexual exceptionalism. Headscarf debates, “saving brown women from brown men” narratives (Spivak 1988), as well as affective slippages between refugee masculinities, terrorism and perverse sexualities (Puar 2007) are coming to a new head. They hint at the ‘truth’-producing power of neo-Orientalist, neo-liberal vocabularies of gender, family and sexual norms in negotiations of refugee integration, cultural clashes, our and their values. We accept articles that engage the potentially intersecting technologies of gender, sexuality, body politics, race and nation in discourses about and emerging counter-discourses by refugees. Potential topics may include:

  • Gendering Critical Refugee Studies, Border Studies and Critical Geopolitics.
  • Refuge, asylum, border politics and irregular immigration as gendered and sexualized issues in media, political and feminist discourses.
  • Literary, filmic and TV representations of gendered refugee experiences.
  • Cultural production by refugees, e.g. M.I.A., Mona Hatoum, arts/theatre projects etc.
  • Life writing by refugees, e.g. in literary or digital contexts.
  • Feminisms across borders? Transnational feminist cultural studies in a ‘re’-bordering world.
  • Right-wing populism, securitization and sexual nationalism in recent electoral campaigns (Brexit, Trump, Le Pen, the German AfD).
  • Paradoxical nodal points between right-wing populism, anti-immigration sentiment, security politics, feminism, the woman and queer question, reifications and re-borderings of traditional gender relations, the militarization of Western societies and the renormalization of ‘enlightened’ sexisms and racisms.
  • To what extent are the return of the border and the return of sexisms interlinked and co-constitutive?

Please note that all submissions must have a strong emphasis on gender issues. Abstracts of no more than 300 words and a brief biography should be submitted by October 9, 2017. The deadline for the completed papers of 5000-8000 words (MLA 8 style, numbered paragraphs) is November 13, 2017.

(Publication date: Winter 2017)

Bodies on the Line: Intersections between Gender and Dis|ability

For a long time the relationship between gender and dis|ability has been viewed in a subtractive or additive fashion, often pointing to the emasculation of men or double discrimination against women. The portrayal of dis|ability annihilating gender and exacerbating systems of oppression can be found in mainstream media and disciplinary scholarship alike. While identity is commonly explored through the axes of race, class, and gender, arguments have been put forward to include the category of the body or dis|ability (Smith & Hutchison 2006, Winker & Degele 2009, Walgenbach 2007). Be it Rosemarie Garland Thomson’s assertion of ‘feminist disability studies’ or Tom Shakespeare’s, Russell Shuttleworth’s, and Thomas Gerschick’s work on ‘disabled masculinities,’ or approaches within Queer Studies, the shared objective is to catalyze a negotiation of the interlocking of identity markers in subject formation and the resulting particularities of oppression that permeate all of these discourses. In tackling these questions, conceptualizations of bodily difference similarly move to address the construction of normalcy, heteropatriarchy and privilege. With a pointed interest in gender and dis|ability, this issue of gender forum investigates the mutually constitutive relationship between these analytical categories as well as their representation in the Arts. What are the transformative powers and vital concerns negotiated in the paintings of Frida Kahlo, the performance art of Bob Flanagan, the poems of Kay Ulandy Barrett, the athletic performances of Oscar Pistorius, or the pop songs of Victoria Modesta? With reference to Kimberly Crenshaw’s analytical framework of intersectionality, this issue intends to explore the complicated relationship between dis|ability and gender. How does dis|ability affect gender formation? How does gender play itself out in the lived experience of the dis|abled body? What role do gendered and ableist stereotypes play in shaping subject positions as well as social groups? What impact does the expansion of the traditional triad of race, class, gender have on questions of politics, human diversity and the materiality of the body? Potential topics may include:

  • literary and visual representations of gendered dis|ability or dis|ableist gender.
  • life writing and life narrative.
  • multi-abled / mixed-abled theatre productions and performance art.
  • bionics, prosthetics, human enhancement technologies.
  • current forms of eugenic practices in Western cultures.
  • right wing populism, border policies, welfare cuts as well as protest, activism and equal rights movements.
  • possible linkages to the fields of New materialism, Posthumanism, Ecocentrism or Animal Studies.
  • thinking dis|ability and gender through approaches such as grievablility (Judith Butler), ethics of care (Myriam Winance, Joan Tronto, A. Damamme, Susan Wendell) or vulnerability (Margrit Shildrick).

Abstracts of no more than 300 words and a brief biography should be submitted to gender-forum@uni-koeln.de and tarapata.olga@gmail.com by December 15, 2017. The deadline for the completed papers of 5000-8000 words (MLA 8, numbered paragraphs) is February 15, 2018.

(Publication date: Spring 2018)

Target articles should conform to current MLA Style (8th edition) and should be between 5,000 and 8,000 words in length. Please make sure to number your paragraphs and include a bio-blurb (including your contact information) and an abstract of roughly 300 words. Files should be sent as email attachments in Word format. Please send your manuscripts to gender-forum”AT”uni-koeln.de.

We always welcome reviews on recent releases in Gender Studies! Submitted reviews should conform to current MLA Style (8th edition), have numbered paragraphs, and should be between 750 and 1,000 words in length. Please note that the reviewed releases ought to be no older than 24 months. In most cases, we are able to secure a review copy for contributors.

Publishers are welcome to send us new publications pertaining Gender Studies. Please send review copies, review suggestions, queries or submissions to gender-forum”AT”uni-koeln.de.

Books and audiovisual media currently up for review (other suggestions welcome):

Baumgarten, Poliana, creator. Berliner Farben, Web Series (on Youtube), 2017.

The Year We Thought About Love. Directed by Ellen Brodsky, Village Films, 2015.

Dalya’s Other Country. Directed by Julia Meltzer, Other Country Films, 2017.

In Between. Directed by Maysaloun Hamoud, Alma Cinema, 2016.

Emeke, Cecile, creator. Ackee and Saltfish. Web Series, 2015.

Ashgar, Fatima, and Sam Bailey, creators. Brown Girls. Web Series, 2017.

Below Her Mouth. Directed by April Mullen, Serendepity Point Films, 2017.

Marija. Directed by Michael Koch, Pandora Film Produktion, 2017.

They. Directed by Anahita Ghazvinizadeh, Mass Ornament Films, 2017.

Battle of the Sexes. Directed by Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton, Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2017.

RuPaul, creator. RuPaul’s Drag Race. MTV, 2009-present.

Farris, Sara R. In the Name of Women’s Rights: The Rise of Femonationalism. Duke UP, 2017.

Irving, Helen, editor. Constitutions and Gender. Edward Elgar Publishing, 2017.

Davis, Heath Fogg. Beyond Trans: Does Gender Matter? New York UP, 2017.

Sykes, Heather. The Sexual and Gender Politics of Sport Mega-Events: Roving Colonialism. Routledge, 2017.

Dahlerup, Drude. Has Democracy Failed Women? Polity, 2017

Jackson, David. Exploring Aging Masculinities. The Body, Sexuality and Social Lives. Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

Mayock, Ellen. Gender Shrapnel in the Academic Workplace. Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

Peel, Elizabeth, and Rosie Harding. Ageing and Sexualities: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Routledge, 2016.

Sayed Gadelrab, Sherry. Medicine and Morality in Egypt: Gender and Sexuality in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries. I.B.Tauris, 2016.