Call for Papers on “Feminist Critique Here and Now”

What is the continued role of feminist theory and feminist analysis in literary studies today in these lands claimed by Canada?  How and why is feminist analysis still relevant to our work? We seek contributions for a special issue of Canadian Literature on feminist critique and/in Canada today.

In the 1980s and 1990s, feminist theory transformed many aspects of literary scholarship in Canada and beyond. The introduction of French feminist theory, postcolonial theory, and critical race theory gave us new tools to think about identity in relation to language. The bilingual feminist journal Tessera became a vital venue of feminist experimentation and theorizing in Canada. Women’s Press and Press Gang became important venues for feminist publishing. Texts like This Bridge Called My Back and Lee Maracle’s I Am Woman offered vital and engaged sites of intersectional feminist thinking and creation. Filmmakers like Deepa Mehta and Patricia Rozema began to explore filmmaking from a feminist perspective, and women’s and gender studies became established as a discipline.

In recent years, feminist analysis and feminist critique have taken on new urgencies in the wake of scandals like #ubcaccountable and #metoo, and in response to the rise of popular anti-feminist and transphobic celebrities and the rise of misogynistic rhetoric on social media. Movements like #Blacklivesmatter and #idlenomore have raised renewed and urgent questions for feminism. The COVID-19 pandemic has created crises around affective labour and service work that have returned attention to questions of class, gender, immigration status, precarity, mental health, and age. These events act as powerful reminders that feminism is still vital and necessary and that we must continue to find ways to advance a feminism that is intersectional, anti-racist, decolonial, and affirming of LGBTQ2S lives.

However, many of us tend to not centre feminism as a methodology in our work. As an entry point to feminism in the introduction to the recent volume In Good Relation, Sarah Nickel points to “a general anxiety around the term itself” among Indigenous feminists and “a desire to explain” how they arrive as feminists (2). Amidst contextual complexities, many scholars adopt what Rosi Braidotti calls a “nomadic feminism,” which she describes as

an opening outwards of the process of redefining female subjectivity . . . that calls for a broadening of the traditional feminist political agenda to include, as well as the issue of women’s social rights, a larger spectrum of options which range from cultural concerns related to writing and creativity, to issues which at first sight seem to have nothing to do specifically with women. (83)

However, as Chandra Talpade Mohanty reminds us, “imperialism, militarization, and globalization all traffic in women’s bodies, women’s labor, and ideologies of masculinity/femininity, hetero-normativity, racism, and nationalism to consolidate and reproduce power and domination” (9). Given these perspectives, we are interested in exploring the continued resonance and urgency of feminist thinking in the twenty-first century.

We invite contributors to respond to one or more of the following questions through an engagement with fiction, poetry, oral traditions, film, music, graphic novels, performance, and/or visual arts in lands claimed by Canada. Contributions might think through diverse feminist theoretical frameworks, including but not limited to, affect, critical race, dis/ability, decolonial, ecological, Indigenous, Marxist, new materialist, post-anthropocentric, postcolonial, posthumanist, psychoanalytic, and queer/trans theory.

  • What dialogues are taking place among feminists of different generations? What intergenerational dialogues need to take place? What can we learn from previous generations of feminists? Conversely, what can we learn from younger generations?
  • How might it be useful to think about your work in relation to feminism, even if you have not previously identified your work through feminist concerns? What kinds of trouble and/or alliances might be made by pairing your work with feminism?
  • What forms of cultural production and activism are occurring at the nexus of trans and/or 2S/queer and feminist studies? What kinds of relations exist? What can trans and/or 2S/queer theory and feminist theory learn from each other?
  • How is feminism imagining ways out of racialized and gendered violence or articulating forms of resilience and resistance? What does anti-racist feminism look like in twenty-first-century Canada?
  • How do we envision decolonial feminisms? What are the implications of applying a feminist analysis to questions of Indigenous sovereignty? How do Indigenous knowledge systems and community wisdoms step into relation with feminisms? How might feminisms and Indigenous sex and gender systems co-conspire?
  • What are the gendered effects of pandemics (COVID-19 or otherwise), specifically with regard to affective labour and care work? How do economics, class, labour, and dis/ability inflect this question?
  • How have neoliberal discourses co-opted and adopted feminism? How has feminism resisted, or capitulated, to neoliberalism?
  • How does feminism manifest in, through, with, and beyond the body?
  • How does feminism help us to understand ecological relations, kinships, and/or trans-species solidarities?
  • How are experimental forms or particular generic concerns shaped/catalyzed/exploded in relation to feminism?
  • What is the relationship between feminist activism and cultural production?

How does literary work bring us to think through, about, or with these clustered concerns? How have writers and other cultural workers responded to these questions in their literary and artistic practice? We encourage contributions from emerging, diversely positioned, and established scholars. We welcome standard academic essays as well as submissions that take on unconventional or creative forms.

All submissions to Canadian Literature must be original, unpublished work. Essays should follow current MLA bibliographic format (MLA Handbook, 9th ed.). Word length for articles is 6,500-8,000 words, which includes endnotes and works cited.

Please feel free to contact the journal editor, Christine Kim, at cl.editor@ubc.ca, or the special issue guest editors, Aubrey Hanson (ajhanson@ucalgary.ca) or Heather Milne (h.milne@uwinnipeg.ca), to discuss ideas ahead of time. Submissions should be uploaded to OJS by the deadline of 15 May 2022. Our Submission Guidelines can be found at canlit.ca/submissions. General questions about the special issue may be directed to can.lit@ubc.ca.

Please limit images accompanying the submission to those receiving substantial attention in the article. Note that contributors are responsible for obtaining permission to reproduce images in their article, and must pay any permission costs. The editors can provide a sample template for permission requests and permissions must be cleared before publication. Please send low resolution images (small jpegs), in separate attachments. If the article is accepted, high quality images will be required.

 

Works Cited

Braidotti, Rosi. Metamorphoses: Towards a Materialist Theory of Becoming. Polity, 2002.

Mohanty, Chandra Talpade, “US Empire and the Project of Women’s Studies: Stories of Citizenship, Complicity and Dissent.” Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, vol. 13, no. 1, Feb. 2006, pp. 7-20.

Nickel, Sarah. Introduction. In Good Relation: History, Gender, and Kinship in Indigenous Feminisms, edited by Nickel and Amanda Fehr, U of Manitoba P, 2020, pp. 1-19.