Rainbowing Down for Straight? How Heteronormativity Secures its Reign

With regard to gender and sexuality, heteronormativity still rules the world. How is that so, if queerness has long since entered the mainstream? Despite the fact that there seems to be an increasing acceptance and visibility of diverse and less conventional displays of identity and lifestyle, the question of queerness’s development and status in the world remains an ambiguous and multidimensional matter. While deconstructions of concepts of what is supposedly normal and celebrations of pluralism in terms of gender, sexuality, race, and all of its intersections have partly become common sense in public discourses, the resistance towards and indignation against such developments seem to have grown collaterally.

On a political level, the former observation may be exemplified by introductions of marriage equality and gender identity laws in recent years in countries across the globe, as well as by resistance movements and protests like Black Lives Matter or the 2018 Women’s March in New York. On a pop-cultural level, developments of queerer and more diverse representations in film and television could be named, like inclusions of LGBTQ+ characters in high-profile television shows, the commercial success of queer films like the coming-of-age drama Moonlight (2016) or an increase of television series with a predominantly female cast such as women’s wrestling dramedy Glow(since 2017). Supplementary, big and influential companies like Apple with their promotional campaign “Inclusion & Diversity – Open” (2017) preach pluralism and acceptance in their advertisement. However, queer-political interests and marketing may not always go hand in hand, thus the motivations and as liberating branded strategies to reach and include so-called minorities as potential consumers are up for discussion. Integrations of queerness into the mainstream do not necessarily challenge heteronormativity and other oppressive power relations within the system. Such ‘well-intended’ processes may even be appropriative.

And although the above described developments nevertheless point to heightened awareness and an opening of Western cultures towards supposedly non-normative life models and individuals, significant numbers of people see a threat in such tendencies. Perpetual attacks against feminism, queer theory, and ‘gender mainstreaming’, the rise of rightwing-populist parties in Europe, similarly to the political landscape in the US, all indicate countermotions back to conservative right up to xenophobic ideologies.

Therefore, we invite papers on these opposing trends as well as on possible subsurface/undercurrent connections, which may include but are not limited to:

  • celebration of diversity as a strategy to incorporate difference into heteronormative model
  • visualization of diversity in different media as resistance against heteronormative order or appropriation of diversity into heteronormative order?
  • violence of representation in current media
  • queering the mainstream?
  • queering academia?
  • intersections between sexual and cultural diversities (questions of acceptance)
  • alternatives to assimilative strategies of representation in art and media concerning diversity and liberation from a heteronormative order?
  • Increasing diversity in media/art/advertisement: cultural and political value or exploitation/appropriation for capitalist reasons?
  • Pop culture feminism vs. political theory and activism

Abstracts of no more than 300 words and a brief biography should be submitted by March 8th, 2019 to gender-forum[at]uni-koeln.de and Frederic Rukes f.rukes[at]uni-koeln.de. The deadline for the completed papers of 5000-8000 words (MLA 8, numbered paragraphs) is April 15th, 2019.

(Publication date: Summer 2019)

Call for Papers: Early Career Researchers VII

In order to encourage the next generation of academics, interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed e-journal gender forumlaunched its first annual Early Career Researchers Issue in October 2013. Now every year sees a special issue dedicated to presenting the work of emerging researchers.

Contributions for the upcoming sixth Early Career Researchers Issue may consist of new academic writing composed specifically for the occasion or exceptional, previously unpublished term papers. Please note that given the journal’s focus, all submissions must engage with Gender Studies, Feminist Studies, Masculinity Studies, and/or Queer Theory.

Abstracts of 300 words plus a brief biography should be sent to gender-forum[at]uni-koeln.de by March 1st, 2019. The deadline for the completed papers in MLA 8 (4000-6000 words) is April 15th, 2019.

(Publication date: Summer/Fall 2019) 

 Protect our Waters: Indigenous Women’s Activism and Climate Justice

“You can’t drink oil, keep it in the soil,”“Protect the Sacred”and “Water is Life”are slogans which shaped the year 2016 and which keep reverberating ever since. As Indigenous environmental activism in recent years shows, women have been and continue to be on the forefront of environmental protection on communal, national and global levels. The #IdleNoMore movement, founded by Jessica Gordon, Sylvia McAdam, Sheelah McLean and Nina Wilson in 2012, offers a key example for the involvement and activism of Indigenous women protesting resource extraction on Indigenous lands, related issues of human rights and social justice abuses, for powerful Indigenous and non-Indigenous alliances, and alliances between numerous marginalized groups against heteronormative frameworks of power. The #NoDAPL movement continues this joint anti corporate-capitalist effort to stop the erosion of rights of (Indigenous) people in favor of resource extraction, endangering the livelihood of people across North America. The Australian #StopAdani protest and most recently the We’suwet’en camp in British Columbia continue this trajectory of climate justice activism, and foreground the role and contribution of women in this struggle. The year of 2018 then saw the election of Sharice Davis and Deb Haaland to the Unites States Congress, which marks the first election of Indigenous women into major positions of power –a “milestone in the US political system,”as Eli Warkins commented for CNN (2018).

This issue of Gender Forum is thus dedicated to the exploration of female involvement in the project of de-constructing corporate power, resisting neo-colonial ventures into Indigenous (land) rights, and protecting the foundation of human subsistence against commodification. Are those efforts effective manifestations of what Ulrich Beck (1997) has termed “Sub-Politics”and/or agents of an emerging process Beck et al. (2003) described as “reflexive modernization,”unsettling the basic ideological premises of institutionalized power and (environmental) governance? What is the future of environmental activism and how do female activists help shaping and inspiring future engagement and strategies? How to conceptualize/systematize the interrelationship of climate change, social justice and human rights beyond Rob Nixon’s concept of“the environmentalism of the poor”(2011)? And, crucially, how do these lines of concern contribute to debates about Gender and the global cause for women’s rights generally?

Marking this increased visibility of female Indigenous actors in local and global causes for environmental and climate justice, we invite papers investigating the role of women in challenging frameworks of political engagement, action and power, which may include but are not limited to:

  • Theorizations of Climate Justice and environmental activism
  • Tracing women’s environmental activism through history
  • Cross-overs between environmental- and other, related fields of activism
  • Cross-overs between Indigenous and non-Indigenous environmental activism/ Indigenous and non-Indigenous alliances
  • Issues of land rights, sovereignty and legislation (Bill C-45 and beyond)
  • The representation of women activists across time, genres and media
  • The role(s) of the arts in environmental protest
  • Eco-Feminsim and its evolution of focus and approach since the 1970s
  • The role of the Internet and Social Media in environmental activism
  • Environmental activism and its implication for global women’s rights advocacy
  • Reviews of fiction and non-fiction work related to the field sketched above

Abstracts of no more than 300 words and a brief biography should be submitted by March 18th, 2019 to gender-forum[at]uni-koeln.de and David Kern kernd[at]uni-koeln.de. The deadline for the completed papers of 5000-8000 words (MLA 8, numbered paragraphs) is April 21th, 2019.

(Publication date: Summer/Fall 2019)

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.

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

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.

Amin, Kadji. Disturbing Arrachements: Genet, Modern Pederasty, and Queer History. Duke UP, 2017.

Aizura, Aren Z. Mobile Subjects: Transnational Inaginaries of Gender Reassignment. Duke UP, 2018.

Brintnall, Kent J., Joseph A. Marchal et al, ed. Sexual Disorientations: Queer Temporalities, Affects, Theologies. Fordham UP, 2018.

Casselberry, Judity and Elizabeth A. Pritchard, ed. Spirit on the Move. Black Women and Pentecostalism in Africa and Diaspora. Duke UP, 2019.

Cox Donna J., Ellen Sandor and Janine FronNew Media Futures: The Rise of Women n the Digital Arts. University of Illinois Press, 2018.

Davis, Heath FoggBeyond Trans Does Gender Matter? New York UP, 2017.

Dillon, Stephen. Fugitive Life: The Queer Politics of the Prison State. Duke UP, 2018.

Gentile, Patrizia, Gary Kinsman and L. Pauline Rankin, ed. We Still Demand! Redefining Resistance in Sex and Gender Struggles. UBC Press, 2017.

Ghodsee, Kristen. Second World, Second Sex: Socialist Women’s Activism and Global Solidarity during the Cold War. Duke UP, 2018.

Glick, Megan H. Infrahumanism. Science, Culture, and the Making of Modern Non/Personhood. Duke UP, 2018.

Hackman, Melissa. Desire Work: Ex-Gay and Pentecostal Masculinity in South Africa. Duke UP, 2018.

Hemmings, Clare. Considering Emma Goldman: Feminist Political Ambivalence and the Imaginative Archive. Duke UP, 2018.

Johnson, Jessica. Biblical Porn: Affect, Labor, and Pastor Mark Driscoll’s Evangelical Empire. Duke UP, 2018.

Lomax, Tamura. Jezebel Unhinges: Loosing the Black Female Body in Religion & Culture. Duke UP, 2018.

Moultrie, Monique. Passionate and Pious. Religious Media and Black Women’s Sexuality. Duke UP, 2017.

Puar, Jasbir K. The Right to Maim. Debility, Capacity, Disability. Duke UP, 2017.

Schalk, Sami. Bodymind Reimagined. (Dis)ability, Race and Gender in Black Women’s Speculative Fiction. Duke UP, 2018.

Strongman, Roberto. Queering Black Atlantic Religions. Transcorporeality in Candomblé, Santería, and Vodou. Duke UP, 2019.

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

Wiesner-Hanks, Merry E. and Urmi Engineer WilloughbyA Primer for Teacher Women, Gender & Sexuality in World History. Ten Principles. Duke UP, 2018.

Williams, Bianca C. The Pursuit of Happiness: Black Women, Diasporic Dreams, and the Politics of Emotional Transnationalism. Duke UP, 2018.

Young, Hershini BhanaIllegible Will: Coercive Spectacles of Labor in South Africa and the Diaspora. Duke UP, 2017.