CFP: Special Issue for Feminist Theory journal: Lesbian Politics, Feminist Theory

Call issued by Ilana Eloit and Clare Hemmings, Department of Gender Studies, LSE

Our aim for this special issue proposal is to explore the importance of rethinking
feminist politics and feminist theory from a lesbian perspective. While lesbian politics and experiences are often erased or euphemized in the history of feminism, we argue that this absence can be considered an instance of feminist “haunting,” which Avery Gordon has characterized as the “something-to-be-done”: an unresolved feminist contradiction which has not only impacted the way feminist theory is framed but also how feminist stories have been and are being told. However, as Gordon has noted, “the ghost demands your attention” (Gordon 2011, p. 3). We will be asking in this special issue: What happens when lesbian haunting is taken seriously as a starting point in feminist theory and histories of social movements? What changes (or stays the same) when we foreground lesbian theories within variously located histories of feminism, and what changes (or remains) within lesbian theory as well when we de-centre its white and Anglophone canon? What challenges does the (re)centring of lesbian traditions propose to the histories we tell, our canons of thought, or the dominance of certain theoretical strands, as well as what we think of as feminism?

When Monique Wittig, one of the founders of the French Women’s liberation
movement, wrote in 1980 that lesbians were not women, she provided a dramatic
counter-response to second-wave feminism’s approach to lesbianism according to
which “feminism [was] the theory and lesbianism the practice” (Atkinson in
Richardson 1998, p. 282). Indeed, Wittig’s intellectual gesture disrupted such a
feminist ordering of things by elevating lesbianism to the status of feminism’s theory. Despite this, while feminism’s roots in women’s social movements of the 1970s are consistently returned to in accounts of the past, there is no such parallel emphasis for lesbian theory. How did lesbians’ experiences then produce a
new lesbian standpoint and how might this relate to arguments about inclusion or exclusion in the present? How does what we thinking of as ‘lesbian’ change when we think with and through the related and coextensive hauntings of trans*, black, decolonial, working class or other marginal threads within a theoretical or political canon? How do these interrelated hauntings challenge stable definitions of what a lesbian archive is and who its subject is? And lastly, what kinds of solidarities between feminist and lesbian movements and theories emerge when we think in complex ways about the multiple hauntings that are constitutive of that relationship?

We welcome articles of up to 8000 words or more experimental pieces (including poetry, photography, stories, polemic) of up to 5000 words from a wide range of disciplines or inter/disciplinary perspectives. The deadline for work is Friday 14th September 2018 and pieces should be sent to and in the first instance. If you are planning to submit, please look at the Feminist Theory formatting guidelines to ensure your writing conforms to house style.

Le groupe FAAAM a le très grand plaisir d’annoncer la parution de Women’s Life Writing and The Practice of Reading, Palgrave Macmillan, juin 2018. L’ouvrage, co-dirigé par Valérie Baisnée-Keay, Corinne Bigot, Nicoleta Alexoae-Zagni et Claire Bazin,  est consacré à la figure de la lectrice dans l’autobiographie au féminin dans le monde anglophone et francophone.

Table des matières

1.  Introduction,  Valérie Baisnée-Keay

Part I: Reading, Writing & Othering/Authoring Themselves

2. Contrapuntal Reading in Women’s Comics: Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and Ellen Forney’s Marbles, Julia Watson  et Sidonie Smith

3.  Rimbaud’s Daughter or Ginsberg’s Son? Patti Smith’s Literary Fathers and Mothers in Just Kids (2010), Stéphanie  Genty

4. Reading and Rewriting Herself: Anna Jameson’s Literary Exploration of Canada, Anne-Florence Quaireau

5. The trouble with a book…”: Reading, Writing and Transgression in Jeanette Winterson’s Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal?,  Valérie Baisnée-Keay

Part II: Reading and Misreading the Canon

6. Art of Mis-Reading: Life’s Writing in Virginia Woolf’s Essays, Nicholas-Pierre  Boileau

7. Plunged in a Book: Nathalie Sarraute, Monique Wittig, Hélène Cixous and The Literature of Experience, Ann Jefferson

8. Nancy Huston’s Bad Girl : Classes de littérature:When the Autobiographer Plays Hooky, Anne-Claire Marpeau

Part III: Reading as Resistance and Emancipation

9.   The Diary of Alice James: A Portrait of the Artist as a Reader, Laure de Nervaux Gavoty

10.  Reading as Emancipation in Harriet Ann Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861), Delphine Louis-Dimitrov

11. Hannah Crafts’ Dialogizing Autobiography, The Bondwoman’s Narrative, Josette Spartacus

12. Janet Frame’s Autobiographical Trilogy: Birth of an Oeuvre, Claire Bazin

Part IV: Reading to Write Herself in the World

13. Writing Herself as/in Reading the Others in Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being, Nicoleta Alexoae-Zagni

14 . Haunting Books and Stories in Janice Kulyk Keefer’s Postethnic Family Memoir Honey and Ashes (1998), Corinne Bigot

15. Reading Fathers, Writing Self: Selfhood Dissolved in Maxine Hong Kingston’s Poetic Memoir I Love a Broad Margin to My Life, Joan Chiung-huei Chang

Part V: Reading Herself through Oral and Written Traditions

16.  Homemade Tales of Homespun Lives: The Shared Search for Identity in Culinary Memoirs, Virginia Terry Allen Sherman

17.   Reading Culture(s) in American Indian Women Writers’ Autobiographical Essays, Ludmila Martanovschi

18. “Books. Why?” Staging the Reading Act in Louise Erdrich’s Autobiographical Texts, Elisabeth Bouzonviller

Cet ouvrage fait suite à une conférence du groupe faaam organisé en septembre 2016, « She Reads to Write Herself/ La figure de la lectrice dans l’autobiographie féminine »

CFP: Feminisms and ARTivism in the Americas

Call for Publications: EOLLES Journal Special Issue 
on Feminisms and ARTivism in the Americas (20th-21st centuries)

Women’s movements have a long, diverse history. Yet, the diversity and plurality of these female voices and modes of action have been often occulted. Like in other areas of thought and action, western-centric theories and manifestations have been the most visible. These narratives quickly became universal. Many recognized theorists as well as the periodization of feminism into “waves” relate only to white, upper- and middle-class women. However, other forms of expression and action have also developed early on. North American Black feminism dates back to the 19th century and was part of the abolitionist movement. In Ibero-America, the political organization of black women started later but recent research has underlined the agency of enslaved women, notably through disobedience. Indigenous women’s political participation is important in their communities since the colonial era, as evidenced by the crucial actions of Gregoria Apaza, Bartolina Sisa and Micaela Bastidas during Túpac Amaru II’s revolution (1780-1782).

Any investigation of organization by women of color should take into account the socio-historical contexts that influence their development. Systems of colonial exploitation (plantocracy, slavery, latifundia) have conditioned forms of political action in the Americas. Bodies of Black and indigenous women were particularly subjected to control and repression. These circumstances limited possibilities for reunion and political engagement for a long time. Surviving oppression has been a full time job for many women. For all that, they never stopped to fight for justice. These struggles have been rather autonomous, numerous and varied over time and/or space. They have not yet resulted in the creation of global movements. These particular histories also explain the apparent “delay” in the integration of these actions in Herstory. This is why we want to re-evaluate the role and importance of these movements.
Given the dispersed and multifaceted nature of their forms of action, the theoretical importance of American women of color has been invisible, despite being rich and vigorous. For example, Black feminist thought in the United States has revolutionized theory by introducing new questions about the subject of feminism (“we, women”) and proposing new concepts to analyze forms of domination, like intersectionality (coined by law professor and leading critical theorist Kimberlé Crenshaw). Inspired by the concepts, histories and experiences unique to Black women, Ibero-American feminists have developed an equally rich critical thought called decolonial feminism. Feminists like Ochy Curiel, Lélia Gonzalez or Yuderkys Espinosa propose an antiracist feminist thinking rooted in indigenous and African-American history. Through their experience, these feminists also question gender relations and conceptualize the notion of political lesbianism.

The specificity of counterhegemonic feminisms is due to a unique articulation between theory and praxis. For instance, feminist ARTivists are increasingly expressing their demands across the continent, notably through hip hop or visual arts – like the collectives “Somos guerreras” or “Batallones femeninos”. These forms of action and activism are part of a global struggle that does more than questioning patriarchy only, that does more than many white and bourgeois feminist collectives. For Abya Yala feminists, it is necessary to fight against patriarchy, racism and the coloniality of power, all at the same time and by drawing on the specific history of indigenous and Black people. The body plays a fundamental role in both the issues raised and privileged forms of action. As a site of colonization, the body has to be reinvested and re-appropriated through arts and performance.

This edition will examine the plurality and the strengths of these movements across America. We invite papers that deal with the specific features of these feminisms and their contribution to the fight against race, gender, sexuality and class oppression. Comparative works are particularly encouraged.

We welcome papers on the following subjects:

Women and ARTivism
American ARTivists, be they mixed-race, indigenous, Black, Andean, Mesoamerican, chicanas, chingonas or cholas, develop multiple actions where art is an organizing strategy to fight oppression through decolonial resistance. Literature, press, music, performance, fine arts, visual, graphic, multimedia and urban arts, have become spaces of contestation. Xicana artists such as Daisy Salinas or Muchacha Fanzine, Crystal Galindo and Alma López; Brown chingonas women (Mexico); Guerrilla Girls (USA), art elaborated by women who were victims of armed conflicts, and by female political prisoners; women belonging to hip-hop movements; feminist batucadas; the Festival Nosotras Estamos en la Calle (Peru); Jovens Negras Movendo as Estruturas (Brazil) are all instances of these contestations. We invite authors to pay tribute to Marielle Franco, a Black lesbian feminist, and Rio de Janeiro city councillor, who was assassinated on March 14th 2018, and whose last project dealt with Rio traditional funk.

Afro-feminismsNorth American Black feminists first questioned hegemonic feminism by drawing from their own experiences. They integrated categories of race and sex to enrich Marxist critical theory and Materialist Feminism. We can mention, among others, bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Patricia Hill Collins and Angela Davis. Black Women’s movements in Ibero-America are more recent. They articulate their filiation with Africa to common claims they share with other movements of Latin-American women, especially indigenous ones. In Brazil, Lélia Gonzalez forged the term “amefrica ladina” to highlight these links. In the Hispanic world, other strong movements emerged from Cuba to Peru.

Feminisms on the Borders: Xicana Feminism
Given the plurality of American women’s movements, it is important to mention how experience, knowledge and practice have circulated throughout America. These interactions will be analyzed more through their actions than through theories. Chicana feminists or Women/lesbians of Color such as Gloria Anzaldúa, Cherrie Moraga, or the artists Judithe Hernandez and Judy Chicago, stand at the intersection of different cultures and references, between feminism and La Raza, and from communalism, embodied memory, but also materialist and anarchist thinking, they have politically redefined themselves as mestiza or “from the border”.

Indigenous activism and feminism
Women in indigenous communities never confined themselves to private spaces. However, since the conquest, they have been subjugated to the colonial patriarchal system. In the last third of the 20th century, they have mobilized indigenous groups politically in Chiapas, Guatemala, Ecuador and Bolivia. These movements claim to be the “original people” with specific rights in order to lift themselves out of their status of second-class citizens. But it is also a fight against capitalist and neoliberal expansion in their territories as shown by the examples of Berta Cáceres (lenca), Máxima Acuña (quechua) ou LaDonna Brave Bull Allard (sioux).

The papers, of 2000 to 6000 words, will be written in English, Spanish, Portuguese or French.
Submission Guidelines:
Please send an abstract (both in English and Spanish, Portuguese of French), and a brief author bio.

The deadline for papers, which should be emailed to Anouk Guiné ( and Emanuele de Maupeou (, is 20 August, 2018.

Anouk Guiné
Maître de Conférences

Faculté des Affaires Internationales
Université Le Havre Normandie