Call for Papers – Feminist Movements Across the Board: A Critical Analysis

Reposted from See this website for further details about the journal

                                            Special Issue – Contention: The Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Protest

Sponsored by the Centre for Gender, Sexuality and Writing (University of Kent)

Feminist Movements Across the Board: A Critical Analysis

Call for Papers


Barbara Franchi (University of Kent), Natália S. Perez (University of Kent and Freie Universität Berlin),  & Giovanni A. Travaglino (University of Kent)


Nobody’s going to save you.// No one’s going to cut you down
cut the thorns thick around you. // No one’s going to storm
the castle walls nor // kiss awake your birth,
climb down your hair,// nor mount you // onto the white steed.
There is no one who // will feed the yearning. // Face it. You will have to do, do it yourself. 
Gloria Anzaldúa – Borderlands/ La Frontera

But how could it be any more obvious that we still live in a patriarchal world when feminism is a bad word? 
Ellen Page

 Feminist movements have had a fundamental impact on social life in many different parts of the world. Reforms in marriage and private property laws, as well as change in spheres as diverse as sexual life, contraception, and the work-place have had profound consequences on the way we conceptualize, act and signify gender relations. Feminist thinkers and activists have also brought attention to the impact that the intersectionality of racism, heterosexism, poverty and religious intolerance (among many other factors) can have in people’s lives.

Despite gradual change, gender-based oppression, even in its most extreme forms, is still a reality across the globe (consider – for instance – the Taliban’s attempt to assassinate Pakistani women’s education activist Malala Yousafzai in 2012). Recent events of popular appeal, such as One Billion Rising in February 2013, and FEMEN’s topless jihad in April 2013, have managed to bring mainstream attention back to questions of gender oppression and have found fruitful ways to interpret the female body for feminist protests.

In academic context, feminist theory has contributed greatly to theoretical development across disciplinary borders, from the technosciences to the arts. The several instances of feminist hacktivism, working at the intersection of technology, arts and social justice also exemplify the vitality of transdisciplinary feminist contributions.

This special issue of Contention aims to provide readers with a broad overview of contemporary feminist perspectives. We aim to publish papers about the impact of feminist theories and movements on literary, cultural, political, scientific and social practices from a transdisciplinary and postdisciplinary approach.


We welcome original papers with empirical or theoretical contributions from the social sciences, arts, and humanities.


Topics may include (but are not limited to):

  • Genealogies of feminisms
  • New critical approaches to gender studies in the arts and literature
  • The role of social media in creating and portraying global feminist movements
  • Questions of female representation in politics and media
  • Intersectionalities, hybrid identities, racism, religion and gender (including analyses of privilege, prejudice and discrimination)
  • Transnational, anti-racist, third-world feminisms
  • Posthumanist and new materialist feminisms
  • Feminisms in the technosciences
  • The role of literary genres in writing and re-writing gender
  • Concepts of gender after performativity
  • Critical theory as political weapon: politicization, artistic representation and critical discourses in feminist movements
  • Methodological, epistemological and ontological questions in the study of gender
  • Objectification, self-objectification and forms of sexism
  • Analyses of discrimination in the workplace
  • Analyses of men’s rights social movements
  • Analyses of womanhood and manhood in contemporary and historical societies: the impact of gender-related social movements
  • Posthumanism and feminisms

Although we welcome interdisciplinary papers, work conducted within the boundaries of a single discipline is also suitable for Contention. Due to the multidisciplinary audience of our journal, authors should however put efforts in explaining key terms and concepts so that these can be understood across disciplines.

Articles (5,000 – 7,000 word) should be formatted following APA style. Manuscripts should include an abstract of maximum 250 words and a cover page with a biographical note about the authors.

Authors are strongly encouraged to submit an abstract of their paper previous to the submission date.

Deadline for abstracts is 30 November 2013.

Final submissions of full articles should be sent by 31MARCH 2014.

Please send abstracts and full articles to Barbara Franchi – and Natália S. Perez –
More information and full article guidelines are available at the following web address,



The Second North East Feminist Gathering

The Second North East Feminist Gathering took place last weekend in Newcastle and was just as successful and fantastic as the first!

As with last year, this Gathering was a wonderful example of what a feminist women-only space can be and can achieve.  It felt like the exact opposite of the usual world in which women operate, where we are second-class citizens. With a feminist ethics at its heart, this space was an oasis from the usual self-checking and self-censorship that that our everyday world entails.  It was an opportunity for intellectual and emotional exchange, an intergenerational exchange that was characterised by warmth and support for one another.  Anyone dubious about the need for, or positives of, women-only space I recommend attend this Gathering!  Same goes for anyone dubious about the need for, or positives of, feminism!

This year’s Gathering felt particularly special as it was located in Newcastle’s West End Women and Girls Centre, a women-only space in a beautiful building, a former Victorian library, a centre that provides an essential hub and services for local women.  This year it was also fantastic to welcome visitors from other parts of the country – word had spread after NEFG12!

Many of our Gendered Subjects group members participated in the Gathering and Julie Scanlon was honoured to give the opening talk ‘Fourth Wave Feminism?’, which looked at the ‘buzz’ around contemporary feminism in relation to the movement’s history.

The organising team did a marvelous job – this was a DIY event on a minimal budget and, yet again, the warmth and energy of the team spread to those who attended and we owe our gratitude to them for creating this space in which we could be ourselves.  It is hard to put into words the importance of this Gathering but here are some opinions that I’ve seen this week:

(If you know of more write-ups let us know – will be happy to add them here!)

Sarah Graham in Feminist Times:  ‘A Weekend in the Activist Garden at NEFG13’

Kathryn Hollingsworth and Elizabeth Sharp: ‘Feminist Activism as a Location of Social Renewal’

@planetcath ‘A Gathering of Feminists in the North East’

Claire Meadows-Haworth: NEFG13

People are funny at new Centre for Comedy Studies [i]


Jo Brand and Lee Mack were part of a panel discussing current issues in the profession at the launch[ii] of a new Centre for Comedy Studies Research.  Dr John Roberts, chairing, posed the first question; what should a  centre for comedy studies do, and Brand immediately responded that it shouldn’t ask ‘why aren’t women funny’ – a pre-emptive strike which got a round of applause from assembled academics, performers, fans and promoters.  Jo Brand’s comment set the tone for a debate that often returned to the issue of the ‘other’ in popular comedy. 

Deborah Williams[iii] who has worked in the industry as a performer, writer, promoter and producer, agreed with Jo Brand and Lee Mack’s assertion that being white, male, able-bodied, straight or English was not necessarily an advantage when it comes to stand-up; you live or ‘die’ based on how funny you are.  Mack proposed that as a rule comedians are not the prettiest people, although Brand and Williams remembered the youthful beauty of Rob Newman[iv] back in the day…

Lee Mack’s recent appearance on Desert Island Discs[v] was also discussed, as his comments on why there are not more women in comedy (the subject of his undergraduate dissertation in the 1990s) had received widespread attention.[vi]  Mack’s assertion that there weren’t enough women starting out in stand-up, and therefore fewer women on television, had been perceived in some quarters as a slur on funny women – which was not his intention.  Brand stepped in to discuss the lack of women on comedy panel shows, observing that their absence was more about personality and comedy style than innate gender characteristics.

The panel challenged the mythology of a ‘golden age’ of political comedy in the 1980s, arguing that some of the ‘alternative’ comedians of that era were just following the zeitgeist, just as some recent comedians have moved back towards sexist and racist jokes under the guise of a postmodern, ‘ironic’ style of stand-up.

Questions from the floor included a reminder of organizations such as Funny Women[vii], whose awards[viii] have helped raise the profile of women in comedy and work to change the culture of the industry.  The panel agreed that comedy did not change social attitudes – but that a diverse range of comedy and comedians was a healthy cultural indicator.

One last question from a brave undergraduate raised the spectre of ‘political correctness’ – had the panel ever been influenced or limited by it?  Lee Mack responded that political correctness had received a bad press over the years, where in fact it had shifted the industry away from racism and sexism in positive ways.  Jo Brand agreed, arguing that ‘political correctness’ was a stick often used by certain newspapers to beat the Left with, often on spurious grounds.

The panel closed with some favourite jokes (you had to be there, I’m afraid), but the overwhelming impression was of a group of professionals who are aware of recent radical shifts in comedy – away from smaller clubs and into big arena tours – and willing to think about the ramifications of these movements in an era of austerity.  This launch offered much to think about and bodes well for the future of the Centre for Comedy Studies Research.