Call for Papers: Reconsidering Gender, Violence and the State

ddrhr_119Reconsidering Gender, Violence and the State
Radical History Review issue number 126 (Fall 2016)
Abstract Deadline: February 1, 2015

As emerging scholarship in feminist and queer history makes clear, archives contain surprising histories about gender, sexuality and violence, stories that challenge axiomatic, gendered oppositions of power and vulnerability. This issue of Radical History Review hopes to explore these histories, and reassess conflicting narratives of victimization, subjection, retaliation and self-defense in the context of forms of state authority.

Events and developments over the last two centuries—from the expansion of the provocation defense in the nineteenth century, to the collection of rape testimonies in the early twentieth-century, from the torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib, to the recent mass kidnapping of girls in Chibok, Nigeria—convey contradictory messages about race, gender, violence and the role of the state as enforcer, perpetrator or protector. Recent calls for critical re-examination of timeworn notions of male violence and female victimhood suggest the need to interrogate longstanding assumptions about the relationships among gender, violence and the powers of the State.

This special issue of Radical History Review invites critical reflection on gendered violence as a historical, intersectional topic of lasting significance. How have conceptions of masculinity and femininity over time informed the persistence of and punishments for gendered violence? What do the archives reveal about the larger structural factors that perpetuate gendered violence? How have feminist and queer organizing efforts to protect and/or avenge victims, further complicated the legal, penal, and legislative efforts to address gendered violence?

Building on contemporary debates and conversations about feminism, its evolving critique of violence, and some of its blind spots, this issue of Radical History Review seeks to reanimate conversations about gender, violence, resistance, victimization, and the role of the state as arbiter among these categories. We hope to engage histories that reveal how gender and violence are mutually constituted categories of personal, political, cultural and legal subjectivity. And we hope to reconsider the ways in which violence – and narratives of violence – can be used to uphold, resist or reshape the ordering structures of the State.

Potential topics might include:

• Gendered violence as an effect of state dominance
• Women as agents of state violence (e.g., in police, prison, and military contexts)
• Gendered violence and vulnerability within the criminal justice enterprise
• “Lost” histories of gendered political violence and/as effects of archive formation
• Unintended consequences of feminist engagements with violence and anti-violence in the law, such as the imbrication of affirmative self-defense claims (e.g. “stand your ground” laws)
• Legal responses to gendered violence, and its race and class implications for incarceration and control
• Gender implications of popular cultural constructions of state violence
• Sexual assault in the military as instantiating institutionalized, hierarchical state power
• Government efforts to decrease violence against women (and forms of gendered violence)
• Compulsory sterilization and chemical castration programs as strategies of state authority and punishment

The RHR seeks scholarly, monographic research articles, but we also encourage such non-traditional contributions as photo essays, film and book review essays, interviews, brief interventions, “conversations” between scholars and/or activists, and teaching notes and annotated course syllabi for our Teaching Radical History section. Preliminary inquiries can be sent to Lisa Arellano (, Amanda Frisken (, and Erica Ball (

Procedures for submission of articles: At this time we are requesting abstracts that are no longer than 400 words; these are due by February 1, 2015 and should be submitted electronically as an attachment to with “Issue 126 submission” in the subject line. By March 31, 2015, authors will be notified whether they should submit a full version of their article to undergo the peer review process. The due date for completed drafts of articles is July 1, 2015. An invitation to submit a full article does not guarantee publication; publication depends on the peer review process and the overall shape the journal issue will take. Please send any images as low-resolution digital files embedded in a Word document along with the text. If chosen for publication, you will need to send high-resolution image files (.jpg or .tif files at a minimum of 300 dpi), and secure written permission to reprint all images. Authors must also secure permissions for any other media that they may wish to include with their articles in the online version of the journal. Those articles selected for publication after the peer review process will be included in issue 126 of Radical History Review, scheduled to appear in Fall 2016.

Abstract Deadline: February 1, 2015

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