CFP: Digital Feminist Activisms: The Performances and Practices of Online Public Assemblies
Editors: Dr. Shana MacDonald (University of Waterloo), Dr. Milena Radzikowska (Mount Royal University), Dr. Michelle MacArthur (University of Windsor), Brianna I. Wiens (York University)
With the rise of what Jessalyn Keller and Maureen Ryan have called “emergent feminism,” we are witnessing a moment marked by the “sudden reappearance” of strident critiques of gendered inequalities within popular discourse (2018, 2). More often than not, emergent feminisms are amplified online through social media by popular feminism and celebrity endorsements (BanetWeiser 2018, McRobbie 2009), which can problematically promote neoliberal values of individual consumer practices and competitive self-improvement as a forms of empowerment. And yet, access to social media has produced important and critical forms of feminist politics. In Notes Towards a Theory of Performative Assembly, Judith Butler (2015) advances the importance of bodies assembling in space as a form of protest that performatively asserts both “the right to appear” and demands “a livable life” for those in positions of precarity. While feminist visibility in the broader public eye has produced important dialogues, this politics of assembly simultaneously begs the question: “What about those who prefer not to appear, who engage in their democratic activism in another way?” (Butler 2015, 55). There are many valid and powerful reasons as to why feminist activists may want, or be able, to not appear given the dangerous climate of online spaces, rife with the violent misogyny of trolling culture. These forms of publicness and erasure are equally important to consider within current considerations of emergent feminist practices online.
This book seeks to gather provocations, analyses, creative explorations, and/or cases studies of digital feminist practices from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives including, but not limited to, media studies, communication studies, critical and cultural studies, gender and sexuality studies, performance studies, digital humanities, feminist HCI, and feminist STS. The book frames digital feminisms as forms of public assembly that are performative and theatrical; that is, performative in that they can offer, “a process, a praxis, an episteme, a mode of transmission, an accomplishment, and a means of intervening in the world” (Diana Taylor 2003, 15), and theatrical in that they are events that may include characters, plot, the invocation of an audience, and the collective labour of multiple collaborators. In this way, digital feminist practices foster counterpublics––communities that enable “exchanges…distinct from authority” that “have a critical relation to power” (Michael Warner 2002, 56). This book seeks to consider how digital feminist activism uses conventions of assembly, performativity, theatricality, and design to counter the individualizing forces of postfeminist neoliberalism while foregrounding the types of systemic change so greatly needed, but often overlooked, in this climate.
List of possible topics:
- Feminist hashtag activism; feminist, anti-racist, decolonial, LGBTQ+ hashtag movements
- Closed virtual feminist communities and safe(r) spaces
- Feminist and post-feminist forms of digital culture
- Intersectional feminism online
- LGBTQ+ digital cultures
- Black, indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC) digital cultures
- Transnational digital feminism
- Popular and celebrity feminism online
- Feminist responses to online misogyny
- Feminism and post-feminism on Instagram and/or Twitter
- Feminist, queer, and BIPOC meme
- Feminist, queer, and BIPOC design
- Gamergate and implications of online misogyny in game culture
- Methodological and/or theoretical approaches to feminist digital culture
Please submit a 250-350 word abstract, a brief author bio, and any questions to Brianna I. Wiens (firstname.lastname@example.org) by May 30th, 2019. Accepted submissions should be 6000-7000 words and will be due to the editors by November 1, 2019.
Banet-Weiser, Sarah. 2018. Empowered: Popular Feminism and Popular Misogyny. Duke University Press.
Butler, Judith. 2015. Notes Toward a Theory of Performative Assembly. Cambridge, Massachusetts. Harvard University Press.
Keller, Jessalynn and Maureen E. Ryan (eds). 2018. Emergent Feminisms: Complicating a Postfeminist Media Culture. Routledge.
McRobbie, Angela. 2008. The Aftermath of Feminism: Gender, Culture and Social Change. Sage.
Taylor, Diana. 2003. The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing Cultural Memory in the Americas. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Warner, Michael. 2002. “Publics and Counterpublics.” Public Culture 14(1): 49-90.
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