Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Call for Papers (01/15/15) Mobilizing Vulnerability: New Directions in Transnational Feminist Studies and Human Rights

Call for Papers (01/15/15)
Mobilizing Vulnerability:
New Directions in Transnational Feminist Studies and Human Rights
A Special Issue of Feminist Formations
Co-edited by Wendy S. Hesford and Rachel Lewis

During the past decade, there has been a substantial growth in academic scholarship devoted to exploring the intersections among vulnerability, precarity, and human rights. While feminist and queer theorists have turned toward concepts of vulnerability and precarity as a way of accounting for contemporary forms of political violence, critical theorists have turned to vulnerability and affiliated terms (precarity and precarization, for example) as the basis for understanding human interdependencies, obligations, and ethical responsibilities (Berlant, Butler, Cvejić, Fineman, Lorey, Puar, and Vujanović). However, what has not been considered to date and what this special issue aims to elucidate are the contributions that transnational feminist scholarship and methods can make toward our understanding of embodied and structural vulnerabilities, especially as these vulnerabilities shape human rights theory and practices.

This special issue will discuss both the value and the risks of theories of vulnerability and precarity for transnational feminist research on human rights. Specifically, we seek to address how transnational feminist analytics might increase our understanding of the mobilization of vulnerability and how concepts of vulnerability and precarity travel transnationally to produce new rationalities. We seek contributions that focus particular attention upon the intersection of notions of vulnerability and precarity with human rights discourses, with an emphasis on how these concepts might advance or counter transnational feminist projects. A key issue will be the ways in which such discourses typically map vulnerability onto certain bodies (marked in terms of gender, race, class, or age) and not others, and how these bodies take on the burden of representation in domestic and international politics and law. As such, we invite article submissions on any topic pertaining to the subject of global human rights, sexuality, disability, and emergent work in vulnerability studies. Key questions framing the special issue include the following:

1.      To what extent has the growing inclusion of women’s rights, LGBT rights, disability rights, and children’s rights on the international human rights agenda opened up a space for alternative conceptualizations of vulnerability and human rights discourses? How do marginalized subjects perform resistance through the mobilization of vulnerability and precarity?

2.      How might theories of vulnerability and precarity challenge second wave feminist understandings of women’s human rights grounded in freedom from gender violence and the pursuit of sexual autonomy? What role might transnational feminisms play in further elucidating the potential and limitations of vulnerability as an analytic?

3.      How do advocacy groups navigate the international moral economy of human rights and unsettle moral dichotomies (victim/agent) as they take on shifting identities and positions in narrating their struggle for power within their multifaceted particularities?

4.      How might transnational feminist and queer theories of vulnerability and precarity help scholars, practitioners, policy-makers and human rights advocates to better account for the pleasures and vicissitudes of desire and relationality, emotion and affect, corporeality and interdependency, care and protection in human rights narratives?

5.      In what ways might theories of vulnerability and precarity establish new critical frameworks for rethinking the contested relationship between women of color feminisms and transnational feminist practices?

We especially invite contributions that explore the intersections among vulnerability, precarity and human rights in relation to the following thematics:

·         the role of vulnerability and precarity within transnational feminist theory and activism
·         differential distributions of vulnerability and precarity along the lines of race, class, gender, sexuality, nation, and citizenship
·         the potential and limitations of theories of vulnerability and precarity for thinking through race, gender, sexuality and the formation of international human rights discourses
·         racism and state violence
·         trauma and the ethics of witnessing
·         dispossession, ecstasy and the limits of sexual autonomy
·         disability and displacement
·         interracial vulnerability and economic precarity
·         love and gender violence
·         sexual rights and erotic vulnerability
·         precarity and gender norms

We seek contributions from across the humanities and social sciences that interrogate representations of gender, sexuality, disability, human rights, and vulnerability in relation to law and public policy, social media, literature, narrative, popular culture, and social justice activism. We welcome contributions with U.S., global, international, and transnational foci.

Essays should be 8k -11k words, including endnotes and references. Submit your complete manuscript via email to FF editorial assistant, Brooke Lober (feministformations@email.arizona.edu) and copy the co-editors to your email: Wendy Hesford (hesford.1@osu.edu) and Rachel Lewis (rlewis13@gmu.edu).


For information on Feminist Formations, visit our website. And for further manuscript specifications, see Author Guidelines. For all other questions, please contact the special issue guest editors.

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