Special Issue "Possibilities and Paradoxes of Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Cultural Change"

A special issue of Humanities (ISSN 2076-0787).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Mari Lee Mifsud

Professor of Rhetoric and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Program Coordinator for Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, University of Richmond, Richmond, VA 23173, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 804-426-8240
Interests: histories and theories of rhetoric, archaic and ancient Greek rhetorics; critical/cultural theory; women; gender and sexuality; democracy; justice; equity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to extend this invitation to contribute your writing for consideration in our Special Issue of Humanities, “Possibilities and Paradoxes of Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Cultural Change.”

We welcome writings from any discipline, engaging the humanities in and through Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS). As WGSS is an interdisciplinary study, contributors from the humanities include, though not exclusively, disciplines such as philosophy, history, rhetoric, communication and media studies, performance studies, literature, creative writing, theatre, law, political theory, sociology, environmental studies, international studies, American studies, and economics.

We invite papers that evoke and provoke intersectional ideas about the possibilities and paradoxes of women, gender, and sexuality in cultural change. How does the study of women, gender, and sexuality open up, critically analyze, address, and enact cultural change? How does this study necessitate an intersectional approach? (Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist theory and Antiracist Politics,” University of Chicago Legal Forum, 1989). To what extent, by what means, and towards what ends does WGSS create cultural change? Does the study of women, gender, and sexuality offer cultural change towards greater justice? freedom? equity? love? (See Angela Y. Davis, Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement, 2016; Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization, 2012; Robyn Wiegman, “The Possibility of Women’s Studies,” in Women’s Studies for the Future: Foundations, Interrogations, Politics, eds. Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy and Agatha Beins, 2005; Hélène Cixous, “Sorties,” in Newly Born Woman, 1975). Can WGSS create new worlds, new ways of knowing, being, and relating, both beyond the academy and within? (See Sara Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others, 2006; Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning, 2007; Nikol G. Alexander-Floyd, “Critical Race Black Feminism: A ‘Jurisprudence of Resistance’ and the Transformation of the Academy,” Signs, 2010) What paradoxes do we encounter in WGSS engagements in cultural change and how best can these paradoxes be navigated? (See Wendy Brown, “The Impossibility of Women’s Studies,” in Women’s Studies on the Edge, ed. Joan Wallach Scott, 2008; Jack Halberstam, The Queer Art of Failure, 2011; Doreen Massey, “Ideology and Economics in the Present Moment,” in The Neoliberal Crisis, eds. Sally Davison and Katharine Harris, 2015). How do we, as scholars of WGSS, address responsibilities to provide a powerful and empowering discourse and praxis to address contemporary concerns in human life? (See Patricia Hill Collins, Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment, 1990; Cherríe Moraga, A Xicana Codex of Changing Consciousness: Writings, 2000-2010, 2011; Donna Haraway, Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene, 2016). We invite contributions that expressly investigate such concerns that shape WGSS such as the following (though not exclusively):

  • Heteropatriarchy
  • Gender Violence
  • White Hegemony
  • Sexism
  • Misogyny
  • Homophobia
  • Transphobia
  • Reproductive Injustices
  • Neoliberalism
  • Settler Colonialism
  • Ableism
  • Xenophobia
  • Structural and Cultural Racism
  • Diaspora and migration
  • Militarism
  • Prisons
  • Poverty
  • State, Legal, and Administrative Violence
  • Structural inequities in political, legal, economic, and cultural life
  • Labor and Class Crises
  • Environmental Crises

Contributions should address concerns by way of the abundant and robust resources of WGSS to create interventions in public problems, to redirect attention through various theoretical, historical, critical, and performative means to more just, equitable, and humane ways of knowing, being, and doing, to create and deploy new ways of thinking about and acting in resistance to geo-political and cultural crises that seem without solution, to forge cultural change (See Gloria Anzaldua, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, 1987; Dean Spade, “Intersectional Resistance and Law Reform,” Signs, 2013; Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity, 2003). Such WGSS resources can be brought forward from a range of foci across multiple themes and approaches, such as:

  • Intersectionality
  • Theoretical Humanities
  • Histories of ideas, events, movements, and practices
  • Writing, Performance, and Cultural Production
  • Feminist New Materialisms
  • Transnational and Cross-Cultural Feminisms
  • Rhetorical Theory, Criticism, and Praxis
  • Political Theory and Praxis
  • Post-colonial Theory and De-Colonizing Praxis
  • Critical Race Theory and Praxis
  • Critical Legal Theory and Praxis
  • Digital Humanities
  • Public Humanities
  • Critical Studies of Science and Medicine
  • Pedagogies

In sum, this Special Issue’s focus can be expressed as “humanities in praxis” as it explores and advocates for WGSS interventions in and contributions to cultural change.

Prof. Dr. Mari Lee Mifsud
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Humanities is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Women, Gender, and Sexuality
  • Cultural Change
  • Humanities in Praxis
  • Intersectionality
  • Advocacy
  • Resistance
  • Justice
  • Equity
  • Creating New Worlds/New Ways

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Gender, Language and a Lipstick: Creating Cultural Change in a World of Paradoxes
Humanities 2018, 7(3), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7030087
Received: 30 June 2018 / Revised: 23 August 2018 / Accepted: 24 August 2018 / Published: 27 August 2018
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Abstract
This paper addresses the paradoxes and possibilities for academic feminism in the Third Millennium drawing on feminist linguistics. It targets the role of language in the construction of social gender, focusing on data from Greek, and shows that gendering discourse can effect cultural
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This paper addresses the paradoxes and possibilities for academic feminism in the Third Millennium drawing on feminist linguistics. It targets the role of language in the construction of social gender, focusing on data from Greek, and shows that gendering discourse can effect cultural change. It is suggested that academic feminists can be agents of cultural change when they promote feminist language reform in the service of challenging the dominant gender order. Full article
Open AccessArticle Crank up the Feminism: Poetic Inquiry as Feminist Methodology
Humanities 2018, 7(3), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7030085
Received: 23 June 2018 / Revised: 15 August 2018 / Accepted: 17 August 2018 / Published: 23 August 2018
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Abstract
In this autoethnographic essay, the author argues for the use of poetic inquiry as a feminist methodology by showing her use of poetry as research method during the past 13 years. Through examples of her poetic inquiry work, the author details how poetry
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In this autoethnographic essay, the author argues for the use of poetic inquiry as a feminist methodology by showing her use of poetry as research method during the past 13 years. Through examples of her poetic inquiry work, the author details how poetry as research offers Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies scholars a means of doing, showing, and teaching embodiment and reflexivity, a way to refuse the mind-body dialectic, a form of feminist ethnography, and a catalyst for social agitation and change. The author uses examples of her ethnographic poetry that critique middle-class White motherhood, address the problems of White feminism, and reflects the nuances of identity negotiation in research and personal life to show the breadth of topics and approaches of poetic inquiry as feminist research practice and feminist pedagogy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Powerful Adversaries
Humanities 2018, 7(3), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7030075
Received: 19 June 2018 / Revised: 20 July 2018 / Accepted: 22 July 2018 / Published: 25 July 2018
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Abstract
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 contains yet another assault on higher education in its unprecedented tax on private university endowment income. This paper argues, first, that this and other attacks should not be seen as anti-intellectual efforts to dismantle higher
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The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 contains yet another assault on higher education in its unprecedented tax on private university endowment income. This paper argues, first, that this and other attacks should not be seen as anti-intellectual efforts to dismantle higher education but rather as intellectually elitist efforts to rid universities of certain programs and personnel and, second, that viewing these efforts as motivated primarily by racism and (hetero)sexism is an analytical and political mistake. Women’s, gender, and sexualities studies programs undermine basic assumptions that ground contemporary right-wing political and economic policy—namely, individualism and economism—by presenting empirical evidence and developing theoretical frameworks focused on historical formations of power networks that produce subjects, preferences, and systems of oppression. The main goal of the radical right is not to purge women and people of color from academia, but to prevent analysis and discussion that reveals the inadequacy of right-wing ontological commitments and neoliberal social theory. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sisters on the Soapbox: Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and Her Female Free Speech Allies’ Lessons for Contemporary Women Labor Activists
Humanities 2018, 7(3), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7030069
Received: 29 May 2018 / Revised: 5 July 2018 / Accepted: 9 July 2018 / Published: 12 July 2018
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Abstract
At a moment when U.S. labor seems its most weak and vulnerable, a wave of teacher strikes and demonstrations led and carried out primarily by women shows promise of revitalizing the movement. Critics allege the strikes and demonstrations are “unseemly,” but popular support
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At a moment when U.S. labor seems its most weak and vulnerable, a wave of teacher strikes and demonstrations led and carried out primarily by women shows promise of revitalizing the movement. Critics allege the strikes and demonstrations are “unseemly,” but popular support for them appears to be growing. Historically, militant strikes and demonstrations have met with significant and sometimes violent resistance from corporate and political entities hostile to labor, and contemporary women in the movement should prepare for pushback. In the past, anti-labor forces have used the law and physical aggression to squeeze labor activists out of public space. Labor has a history of fighting back, beginning with the free speech fights of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in the early twentieth century. These campaigns were the first in U.S. history to claim a First Amendment right to use public space. IWW organizer Elizabeth Gurley Flynn led several of these free speech fights. She and other women free speech fighters played an essential if often overlooked role in popularizing the idea that ordinary people have right to public space. Their tactics and experiences can inform and inspire women at the forefront of a contemporary labor militancy. Full article

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Open AccessEssay The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program: Intersections between Feminism and Communication
Humanities 2018, 7(3), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7030084
Received: 23 June 2018 / Revised: 13 August 2018 / Accepted: 14 August 2018 / Published: 21 August 2018
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Abstract
This paper explores the intersections between feminism and communication in an Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program course that is cross-listed with Social Justice and Women’s and Gender Studies. The paper focuses on the alignment of the Inside-Out curriculum with feminist pedagogical principles and explores,
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This paper explores the intersections between feminism and communication in an Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program course that is cross-listed with Social Justice and Women’s and Gender Studies. The paper focuses on the alignment of the Inside-Out curriculum with feminist pedagogical principles and explores, through the structure and content of the course, the ways in which these feminist principles interconnect with communication concepts. Full article
Open AccessEssay The Misogynous Politics of Shame
Humanities 2018, 7(3), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7030081
Received: 31 January 2018 / Revised: 3 August 2018 / Accepted: 3 August 2018 / Published: 10 August 2018
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Abstract
Joanna Bourke’s account of the ways that changing ideas of rape reflect the gendered norms of the times, and Eric Reitan’s proposal that rape ought to remain a contested concept amenable to evolving principles of ethical sexual relationships, speak to the ways that
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Joanna Bourke’s account of the ways that changing ideas of rape reflect the gendered norms of the times, and Eric Reitan’s proposal that rape ought to remain a contested concept amenable to evolving principles of ethical sexual relationships, speak to the ways that social, cultural, and political contexts influence our understanding of sexual violence. Though the criteria that are used to define rape change, one thing remains constant: the raped person is shamed. As she is shamed, she is degraded. This paper argues that until we understand the role that shame plays in enabling sexual violence by humiliating, silencing, and stigmatizing its victims, changes in our depictions of rape will neither disable the personal devastation of being raped nor dismantle the social practices and political institutions that rely on rape to maintain misogynous inequalities. Following the Introduction (Section 1) it is divided into three parts. Section 2, The Shame of Being Human, discusses the psychological and phenomenological accounts of shame. It alerts us to the ways that shame defines us insofar as it reveals the truth of human intersubjectivity and mutual interdependency. Section 3, Debilitating Shame, describes the ways that shame has been exploited to enable and enforce sexed and gendered inequalities. Section 4, Shame: Demanding Justice, examines the ways that shame, in its role as the protector of the self, undermines the effects of debilitating shame and fosters a politics of sexual integrity by affirming the dignity of the interdependencies that tie us to each other. Full article
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