Gender Studies

African Feminisms

coverimageThe most recent special issue of Meridians, “African Feminisms: Cartographies for the Twenty-First Century,” edited by Alicia C. Decker and Gabeba Baderoon, is now available.

Read the full issue, freely available until March 5.

As the contributors to this issue show, African feminisms not only vary widely in form but also maintain vibrant and sometimes tense relations with one another around topics such as sexuality, national policies, and transnational solidarity. Such diversity and tensions, far from presenting a disadvantage, spur innovative and politically radical approaches in the field. The multiplicity of feminisms theorized in this issue help challenge patriarchal ideologies and structures both in Africa and beyond. “African Feminisms” includes poetry, memoir, interview, testimonio, and more, alongside essays on topics such as the framing of Nigerian girls as victims in need of saving, feminisms in African hip-hop, and sex worker advocacy groups in Africa.

Also check out these recent recent related titles:

An Intimate RebukeIn An Intimate Rebuke, an ethnography of female empowerment, Laura S. Grillo offers new perspectives on how elder West African women deploy an ancient ritual in which they dance naked and slap their genitals and bare breasts to protest abuses of state power, globalization, witchcraft, rape, and other social dangers.

In Rwandan Women Rising, Ambassador Swanee Hunt shares the stories of over ninety women, who in the wake of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, overcame unfathomable brutality, suffering, loss, and seemingly unending challenges to rebuild Rwandan society by addressing common problems ranging from health care, rape, and housing to poverty, education, and mental health.

Hershini Bhana Young engages with the archive of South African and black diasporic performance in Illegible Will to examine the absence of black women’s will from that archive, showing that alternative critical imaginings juxtaposed against traditional historical research can help to locate where agency and will may reside.

Call for Proposals: South Atlantic Quarterly

saq_117_4_cover1The South Atlantic Quarterly is accepting proposals for thematic special issues through January 31, 2019. Themes should be in line with those of journal issues published in recent years, including critical race studies, feminist and queer theory, analyses of contemporary capital and labor, social and liberation movements, critical theory, and environmental humanities. Funds are available to translate original essays not written in English.

Special issue editors are responsible for soliciting essays, working with authors, editing texts, and assuring that deadlines and word counts are met.

saq_117_3_coverProposals should include a description of the concept or theme that organizes the issue (roughly 200 words) plus names of potential authors with very brief bios. Please indicate whether authors have already been contacted. Please propose, too, a date by which the complete, edited collection can feasibly be submitted.

Issues are composed of 70,000 words total. This is often configured as eight 8,000 word essays plus an introduction, but editors are free to configure the number and length of essays differently.

Please send proposals to saq@dukeupress.edu.

New Books in December

Check out our December new releases!

978-1-4780-0292-5.jpgColin Milburn’s Respawn examines the relationships between video games, hackers, and science fiction, showing how games provide models of social and political engagement, critique, and resistance while offering a vital space for players and hacktivists to challenge centralized power and experiment with alternative futures.

Jack Halberstam’s classic Female Masculinity has been called “a landmark study” (Feminist Theory) and a “pioneering document” (Gay and Lesbian Times) and has become one of our bestselling texts of all time. We are pleased to offer a new twentieth anniversary edition of the book, which features a new preface by the author.

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In Can Politics Be Thought?—published in French in 1985 and appearing here in English for the first time—Alain Badiou offers his most forceful and systematic analysis of the crisis of Marxism in which he argues for the continuation of Marxist politics.

Containing over one hundred selections—many of which appear in English for the first time—this extensively revised and expanded second edition of the bestselling The Brazil Reader, edited by James Green, Victoria Langland, and Lilia Moritz Schwarcz, presents the lived experience of Brazilians from all social and economic classes, racial backgrounds, genders, and political perspectives over the past half-millennia.

Jessica A. Krug’s Fugitive Modernities traces the history and meaning of Kisama—a seventeenth-century fugitive slave community located in present-day Angola—by showing how it operated as a inspirational global symbol of resistance for fugitives on both sides of the Atlantic.

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Megan H. Glick’s Infrahumanisms considers how twentieth-century conversations surrounding nonhuman life have impacted a broad range of attitudes toward forms of human difference such as race, sexuality, and health, showing how efforts to define a universal humanity create the means with which to reinforce various forms of social inequality.

Damon R. Young’s Making Sex Public tracks the emergence of new forms of sexuality in French and American cinema from the 1950s to the present, showing how cinema transformed narratives of sexuality and how women and queers were both agents and objects of that transformation.

Prompting a reevaluation of canonical understandings of twentieth century art history, Mapping Modernisms, edited by Elizabeth Harney and Ruth Phillips, provides an analysis of how indigenous artists and art from Africa, Oceania, and the Americas became recognized as modern.

The contributors to Passages and Afterworlds, edited by Maarit Forde and Yanique Hume, explore death and mortuary rituals across the Caribbean, showing how racial, cultural and class differences have been deployed in ritual practice and how such rituals have been governed in the colonial and postcolonial Caribbean.

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The contributors to Sound Objects, an ambitious and wide-ranging collection edited by James Steintrager and Rey Chow, explore sound as an object, sound studies as a discipline, and the limits of sonic objectivity.

In Worldmaking, Dorinne Kondo draws on critical ethnographic work and over twenty years of experience as a dramaturge and playwright to theorize how racialized labor, aesthetics, affect, genre, and social inequity operate in contemporary theater.

In a bold challenge to conventional understandings of Hawai‘i’s admission as a U.S. state. Dean Saranillio’s Unsustainable Empire tracks the disparate stories different groups tell about Hawaiian statehood by returning to historical flashpoints ranging from the turn of the century until shortly after 1959.

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Generations

The most recent issue of Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, “Generations,” edited by Frances S. Hasso, is now available.

MEW_14_3_coverThis special issue examines biological, political, and social reproduction and change at multiple scales. Contributors illustrate how intimate and political stories overlap, exploring themes such as biological reproduction, sexual health and agency, and motherhood. Recognizing that our understanding of past and present depends on who, how, and what we remember, this issue asks us to consider how feminist scholars generate knowledge and what we treat as an archive, especially given our frequent interest in nonarchival questions and subjects.

Browse the table of contents and read the introduction, made freely available.

Q&A with Tamura Lomax, Author of Jezebel Unhinged

unnamedTamura Lomax is an independent scholar, the CEO and founder of The Feminist Wire, and author of Jezebel Unhinged: Loosing the Black Female Body in Religion and Culture. We asked her a few questions about the new book, which Foreword has called “phenomenal,” “provocative,” and “an amazing pick for book clubs.”

What drew you to this topic? How did your own experience in the Black Church, including your background as a “preacher’s kid,” affect your research or approach?

The conundrum I experienced after moving from my childhood church and community in Syracuse, NY, a Black Church in a working-class black community, to Mill Valley, CA, a predominantly white and wealthy environment, at age fourteen, turned my world upside down. Privileged white teenagers have a way of making you hyperaware of your difference. And not only their belief in your purported racial difference but your supposed sexual and gender difference. I will never forget the stares, the comments, the whispers, the laughter, the jokes. I was a dark-skinned black girl from the east coast, and clearly, I was alien to them. Their obsession with me, particularly my blackness, gender, femininity, and sexuality, launched my critical consciousness into overdrive.

Yet, nothing could have prepared me for the day my new friends referred to me as a monkey who “crave[d] and provide[d] sex to anyone and anything.” While I had not yet read Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks (1967), this was indeed my first “Look, a Negro!” moment—the point of sudden objecthood, nonbeing, fixation, bursting apart, and being put back together—by another self. To be sure, I had known what it meant to be placed under the gaze of another. I knew the feeling of being misread, sexualized, and even lusted after as an adolescent. Unfortunately, I learned these lessons, first, through older and grown men—within my previous black community, the Black Church, and the music and culture that I loved: Hip Hop. As I write in the Prolegomenon, the hypersexualization of young black girls is fierce early on.

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My earliest memory is at age eleven when a church elder told my parents he could not focus during altar call because he was enraptured by my pubescent derriere (x-xi). Rather than calling out his rapey pedophilic wantonness, I was made to feel shame, as if my body had done something wrong without my consent. I struggled with the cultural psyche around black femininity and all of the sexual messaging, not to mention my own conflicting responses. On one hand, I loved raunchy Hip Hop music that admittedly sexually objectified black women and girls, while on the other, I detested the pedophilic stares of older men and boys in my church and community, and more, the racist and sexist gazing of my new high school friends in California. And as much as these gazes were the same, to me, they felt slightly different. That dreadful day in California changed the course of my life and how I saw the world and interpreted my place in it.

I did everything to change my high school friends’ reading of me—to the point of de-sexualization. I wanted to be a “proper” black girl—a lady in training, as I was taught to be at home and in the Black Church, not a libidinous monkey. This kind of sexualized marking, I had not known. I remember going home and journaling about the incident right after it happened. My eyes welled up with tears as I made my entry. This was not an innocent case of teasing and hurt feelings. As a young girl I was taught that sex before marriage was bad and that sexualization is the fault of so-called “fast” and promiscuous girls or women. Meaning that black girls or women are sexualized because they have acted in an allegedly sexually “loose” manner. I learned the latter was sin. And not only that, this was a transgression seemingly particular to black women and girls.

Full disclosure: I was in no way perfect. But I was a “good girl.” Or at least I tried to be. If I caught myself being “loose”—“fast tailed,” sexual, sexualized, or appreciating base music and lyrics more than a “good girl” should, I could at least fix that. I could take responsibility for where I went or what I did wrong and repent, therefore releasing myself from temptress status and gaining “good girl” prestige again. But not this day. I cried quiet painful tears because the sexualized savagery assigned to me—and black girls everywhere—by my high school friends could not be as quickly remedied. I was not merely hypersexualized but animalized—in harmony. Further, I was inherently problemed. I could neither disrobe of nor cover my blackness nor reencode my black femaleness. And I could neither pray it away nor bathe it in Black Church respectability as I had been taught. Rather, I was indelibly marked. Or, so I thought.

The rhetorical marking of these collective gazes—from the church to my new white friends to my favorite music and so on—made me feel psychically, emotionally, and communally estranged. And I was not alone. I learned later that each of these projections spring forth from essentialist discourses on black womanhood. And while they sometimes feel different, they have more in common than not. They are all overdetermining. And they all sting, just differently perhaps. I will never get over being called a monkey and thusly being situated outside of the human race. But neither will I ever come to terms with the hypersexualization that happens to young girls and women in black communities and the posturing of black female bodies and sexual decision-making in sin—as something needing constant fixing and redemption.

I am convinced it is because of such relentless stereotyping and signifying that black Americans in general are so religious, especially black women. Sin and shame have long taken up residence in our bodies and consequentially our minds. Jezebel Unhinged not only works within these tensions, it attempts to do the work of “undoing,” of naming anxieties, antagonisms, and social-cultural-structural-epistemic evils, and the significant psychic, emotional, and communal breaks they cause. It does this work through an iconoclastic critique of racism, sexism, heterosexism, the Black Church, and black popular culture. And I do so intentionally not as a theologian tasked with proving certain truths about God, but rather as a black feminist scholar of religion, or more precisely, a black feminist-religio-cultural theorist, interested in exploring how discourse, power, knowledge, meanings, language, and grammars get invested with truth claims about God, people, and cultures.

Still, I approached this study as one well aware of my personal and professional location—as one reared in the Black Church and as one who has experienced the collective function of antiblack and sexist re/presentational mythmaking, which affects not only persons but relations, social arrangements, ways of seeing, politics, institutions, and treatment, first hand—within and well beyond the Black Church. That said, I endeavored to do this critical work without “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” The latter is a mistake too many critics make, thus making their analyses irrelevant. (more…)

Trans*historicities

The most recent issue of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, “Trans*historicities,” edited by Leah DeVun and Zeb Tortorici, is now available.

coverimageThis issue offers a theoretical and methodological imagining of what constitutes trans* before the advent of the terms that scholars generally look to for the formation of modern conceptions of gender, sex, and sexuality. What might we find if we look for trans* before trans*? While some historians have rejected the category of transgender to speak of experiences before the mid-twentieth century, others have laid claim to those living gender-non-conforming lives before our contemporary era. By using the concept of trans*historicity, this volume draws together trans* studies, historical inquiry, and queer temporality while also emphasizing the historical specificity and variability of gendered systems of embodiment in different time periods.

Essay topics include a queer analysis of medieval European saints, discussions of a nineteenth-century Russian religious sect, an exploration of a third gender in early modern Japanese art, a reclamation of Ojibwe and Plains Cree Two-Spirit language, and biopolitical genealogies and filmic representations of transsexuality. The issue also features a roundtable discussion on trans*historicities and an interview with the creators of the 2015 film Deseos. Critiquing both progressive teleologies and the idea of sex or gender as a timeless tradition, this issue articulates our own desires for trans history, trans*historicities, and queerly temporal forms of historical narration.

Browse the table of contents and read the introduction, made freely available.

New Books in November

November is a huge book release month! Check out all the great new titles coming out this month. Many of them will be making their debuts at the academic conferences that are happening this month. Be sure to stop by our booths at the American Studies Association, the National Women’s Studies Association, the African Studies Association, the American Academy of Religion, and the American Anthropological Association, where you can pick up these and other titles for only $20 each.

In My Butch Career, Esther Newton—a pioneer figure in gay and lesbian studies—tells the compelling and disarming story of her struggle to write, teach, and find love, all while coming to terms with her lesbian identity during one of the worst periods of homophobic persecution in the twentieth century.

978-1-4780-0129-4Collective Creative Actions, edited by Ryan Dennis, highlights the twenty-five-year history of Project Row Houses in Houston’s Third Ward by addressing the idea of social practice through its five pillars of art, education, social safety nets, architectural preservation, and sustainability.

In How Art Can Be Thought Allan deSouza examines the popular terminology through which art is discussed, valued, and taught, showing how pedagogical language and practices within art schools can adapt to a politicized and rapidly changing world, as well as to the demands of contemporary art within a global industry.978-1-4780-0047-1

More than fifty years after the publication of C. L. R. James’s classic Beyond a Boundary, the contributors to Marxism, Colonialism, and Cricketedited by David Featherstone, Christopher Gair, Christian Høgsbjerg, and Andrew Smith, investigate its production and reception and its implication for debates about sports, gender, aesthetics, race, popular culture, politics, imperialism, and Caribbean and English identity.

978-1-4780-0022-8.jpgFeaturing work spanning six decades, Robert Christgau’s Is It Still Good to Ya? sums up the career of legendary rock critic and longtime Village Voice stalwart Robert Christgau, whose album and concert reviews, essays, and reflections on his career tackle the whole of pop music, from Louis Armstrong to M.I.A..

In Best Practice, Kimberly Chong offers a rich ethnographic account of how a global management consultantcy translates and implements the logic of financialization in contemporary China.

Dai Jinhua’s After the Post–Cold War interrogates history, memory, and the future of China as a global economic power in relation to its Cold War past to show how the recent erasure of the country’s socialist history signifies socialism’s failure and forecloses the imagining of a future beyond that of globalized capitalism.

In After Ethnos, Tobias Rees proposes an understanding of anthropology as a philosophically and poetically oriented and fieldwork-based investigation into the human and human thought rather than a study of culture or society in which anthropology is synonymous with ethnography and fieldwork.978-1-4780-0035-8.jpg

In Unruly Visions, Gayatri Gopinath traces the interrelation of affect, aesthetics, and diaspora through an exploration of a wide range of contemporary queer visual cultural forms by South Asian, Middle Eastern, African, Australian, and Latinx artists such as Tracey Moffatt, Akram Zaatari, and Allan deSouza.

In None Like Us Stephen Best offers a bold reappraisal of the critical assumptions that undergird black studies’ use of the slave past as an explanatory prism for understanding the black political present, thereby opening the circuits between past and present and charting a queer future for black study.

In An Intimate Rebuke, an ethnography of female empowerment, Laura S. Grillo offers new perspectives on how elder West African women deploy an ancient ritual in which they dance naked and slap their genitals and bare breasts to protest abuses of state power, globalization, witchcraft, rape, and other social dangers.

978-1-4780-0291-8Drawing on numerous examples from popular culture, in Empowered Sarah Banet-Weiser examines the relationship between popular feminism and popular misogyny as it plays out in advertising, online and multi-media platforms, and nonprofit and commercial campaigns, showing how feminism is often met with a backlash of harassment, assault, and institutional neglect.

Aren Z. Aizura’s Mobile Subjects examines transgender narratives about traveling for gender reassignment from 1952 to the present, showing how transgender fantasies about reinvention and mobility are racialized as white and often rely on violent colonial global divisions.

Through global case studies that explore biometric identification, border control, forensics, militarized policing, and counterterrorism, the contributors to Bodies as Evidence, edited by Mark Maguire, Ursula Rao, and Nils Zurawskishow how bodies have become critical sources of evidence that is organized and deployed to classify, recognize, and manage human life.

978-1-4780-0153-9.jpgIn Plan Colombia John Lindsay-Poland examines a 2005 massacre in Colombia, its subsequent investigation, official cover-up, and the international community’s response to outline how the U.S. military’s support for the Colombian Army contributed to atrocities while shaping the United States’s dominant model of military intervention.

Melissa Gregg’s Counterproductive explores the obsession with using productivity as the primary measure of most workers’ sense of value and success in the workplace, showing how it isolates workers from each other while erasing their collective efforts to define work limits.

Drawing on indigenous social movements and politics, contributors to A World of Many Worlds, edited by Marisol de la Cadena and Mario Blaser, question Western epistemologies, theorize new forms of knowledge production, and critique the presumed divide between nature and culture—all in service of creating a pluriverse: a cosmos composed of many worlds partially connected through divergent political practices.

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An Interview with Soha Bayoumi, Sherine Hafez, and Ellen McLarney, editors of the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies

Soha Bayoumi, Sherine Hafez, and Ellen McLarney are editors of the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, the official journal of the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies. This interdisciplinary journal advances the fields of Middle East gender, sexuality, and women’s studies. We sat down with Soha, Sherine, and Ellen to discuss their vision for the journal’s future, as well as what brought them to editorship at JMEWS in the first place.

DUP: How would you like to shape the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies for the future?MEW_14_3_cover

Ellen: I think gender is one of the most defining issues when it comes to the study of the Middle East historically, intellectually, and academically. And it’s been a question that’s been kind of abused and used. All of our work centers on gender and I think that we would like to revolutionize the field in a way that causes people to rethink its importance. We’re not just talking about Orientalist tropes or oppression, repression, and liberation—we’d like to look at gender in new ways.

Sherine: I think gender is the underlying principle of social organizations all over the world, especially in the Middle East and in Muslim-majority countries. It’s been highly politicized, and it continues to be politicized in new ways all the time. So it’s important to track these changing modes of the politicization of gender and how gender is at the core of new nationalist movements and postcolonial and anticolonial trends.

Soha: We’re also really interested in highlighting theoretical contributions from the field and pushing it forward to show that feminist theory and gender studies in the Middle East don’t have to rely on prepackaged theoretical constructions produced in intellectual centers of the global North. We can actually generate novel ways of thinking about gender and feminisms from the Middle East as well. And we want to push the boundaries of the field—not just to think about it as regional studies or area studies, but also to think about, as Sherine said, postcoloniality in general as it interacts with gender and thinking about gender in the global South.

Sherine: Our regular section Third Space shows how much artists and activists shape this conversation and how it’s not just academia or institutions disseminating information or policies: it’s a feedback loop.

Ellen: And one of the advantages of area studies is its interdisciplinarity. We can approach these questions from multiple methodological angles. So we’re really hoping to bring these multiple disciplinary perspectives to the question of gender.

Sherine: We’re trying to intervene in the epistemology of gender in the Middle East and Muslim world because it’s such a salient topic and so central not just to the region but also globally, because both local and global forces intersect in gender. So we’d like to highlight those connections as well and include various interlocutors on the subject of gender from international scholarly institutions and universities from the Middle East and North America.MEW_14_2_cover.png

DUP: Why were you interested in becoming editors of the journal?

Soha: I come from a background that is interested in science and technology studies and the history of science and medicine. These are fields that are not necessarily the first fields you think about when you think about gender studies or feminist studies. As someone interested in studying gender within STS, I found it very appealing to be a part of this and to try and bring in some of the voices of people I know working in these fields. Especially when it comes to the Middle East, I have in mind scholars who may not necessarily think of themselves as or market their work directly to feminist scholars abroad, or who don’t think of their interlocutors as being feminist scholars abroad, but who definitely engage with questions of gender at a very deep level in their work. I wanted to bring some of those voices in and I thought that it would be an exciting opportunity to share that collaborative platform with two very well-established scholars of gender.

Ellen: I was here at Duke University while the prior three editors were working on the journal. I watched what they did with it and I was on the editorial board. I admired what they were doing and see myself now as helping to follow up on that legacy. I know everyone’s talking about doing new things, but I’m just hoping that we can do as good of a job. I was standing on the edges watching and so I’m excited to be a part of it now and am grateful to Soha and Sherine for bringing me on board.

Sherine: There were a couple of reasons that I was interested. First, I believe that women of color have to be theory makers. For a very long time the field of gender in the Middle East and Muslim world has been dominated by content studies, studies that basically regurgitate data. Of course, there have been seminal works and advances in theoretical trajectories, but I was hoping to further that and intensify the focus on theory. The second reason is that since the Arab uprisings have happened, I’ve been motivated to engage more with the public sphere in any way I can. I felt that even though this was a very busy time in my professional career, it was not something I could turn down. This was a moment for me to make an intervention, and I’m working with three amazing people, including our managing editor Shireen Hamza, whom I could not do without, and of course my two coeditors. This is an opportunity not just to make an intervention but also to grow professionally and learn from them and from our loyal readership.

Design Principles for Teaching History

Today we’re pleased to showcase the four books that currently comprise our Design Principles for Teaching History series, edited by Antoinette Burton. The most recent addition, A Primer for Teaching Women, Gender, and Sexuality in World History, is newly available this season.

Books in this series provide a guide for college and secondary school teachers who are teaching a particular field of history for the first time, for experienced teachers who want to reinvigorate their courses, for those who are training future teachers to prepare their own syllabi, and for teachers who want to incorporate specific topics into their history courses. These books are not intended to serve as a textbook nor advocate a particular school of thought. Rather, informed by the authors’ experiences in the classroom, they provide a guide to developing a syllabus around an integrated set of arguments and conceptual orientations. Ideal for teachers of all experience levels, the titles in this series help translate expert knowledge of a field into effective and thoughtful pedagogical strategies for a range of practitioners.

The series currently includes A Primer for Teaching World History, edited by Antoinette Burton; A Primer for Teaching African History, edited by Trevor Getz; A Primer for Teaching Environmental History, edited by Emily Wakild and Michelle K. Berry; and A Primer for Teaching Women, Gender, and Sexuality in World History, edited by Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks and Urmi Engineer Willoughby.

ckn_24_3_coverAlso of interest is a newly published issue of Common Knowledge: the second part of a two-part symposium titled “In the Humanities Classroom.” The first set of case studies described particular pedagogical experiences rather than simply making general arguments about the value of the humanities. In its recently published second set of case studiesCommon Knowledge continues this approach of describing in detail the excitement and discovery that can occur in a particular humanities class but also expands upon the first to include the voices of graduate students and an undergraduate and to delineate the process by which one teacher put together an online course. This special section argues that descriptions of specific classroom experiences and of the careful planning and passionate commitment of teachers may help to cling to the moral values both professors and their students seem to need and want in troubled times. Article topics include “Teaching Western Civilization,” “Teaching an Online Course,” and “When History Meets Politics.”

On Meridians: An Interview with Ginetta E. B. Candelario and Leslie Marie Aguilar

We are proud to be the new publisher of Meridians: feminism, race, and transnationalism. “Black Lives Matter” (volume 17, issue 1), the first issue published by Duke University Press, is now availablecoverimage. We recently sat down with editor Ginetta E. B. Candelario, Professor of Sociology and Latin American & Latino/a Studies at Smith College, and editorial assistant Leslie Marie Aguilar to discuss their vision for the journal’s future.

DUP: Tell us a bit about the journal’s mission.

GinettaMeridians was founded almost twenty years ago now, explicitly with the mandate and mission to publish scholarship by and about women of color, feminisms, and transnationalisms. Therefore, our philosophy is to offer a venue for interdisciplinary scholarship focused on the intersections of gender, race, sexuality, class, citizenship, etc. not only in the United States, but also, more broadly, transnationally and internationally. This is connected to supporting and growing the pipeline of women of color scholars and knowledge producers who are woefully underrepresented in the US academy, often in part because the questions they ask, the methodologies they use, and their theories are not status-quo-maintaining questions, methodologies, and theories. Which means that prior to Meridians, there were very few traditional disciplinary journals that were interested in their work, or that would recognize the value of the work they were doing. So like Signs, Feminist Studies, and so forth, Meridians had a broader demographic and professional development vision.

However, unlike those other feminist publications, we have always been intersectional. From the beginning, we were interested in thinking about race, nation, and transnationalism. Accordingly, our editorial philosophy is to showcase work that is fundamentally interdisciplinary, even if it’s being produced by scholars, such as myself, who might also have a disciplinary home. I’m a sociologist who is also a Latin Americanist, a Latin@ studies scholar, and a women’s studies scholar. I embrace my sociology identity, but I have never published in a sociology journal, and I probably wouldn’t, because it’s typically not a welcoming intellectual space or a home for the kind of work that I’m interested in doing.

We think women of color epistemologies are expressed through multiple genres. Meridians is unique in the sense that it offers a space for both evidence-based, research-based scholarship alongside creative and cultural work—everything from poetry to visual images, whether it’s photography, or paintings, or one-dimensional reproductions of three-dimensional works, to memoir and creative non-fiction kinds of work. We view each of these genres as equally valuable forms of knowledge. In any given issue, you’ll see a research-based piece followed by a poem that is speaking to similar or related concerns that the research piece is exploring in another way. So the philosophy then is really to showcase women of color knowledge production in all these genres and all these forms.

Leslie: This philosophy also drives our desire to increase creative writing as a key component of Meridians. Part of my being brought on board, as a poet, was to vet creative writing and poetry submissions, but it was also to increase Meridians’s visibility within my own networks and within the larger group of activist artists as well. Bridging the gap that typically exists between scholars, activists, and artists is what we’re hoping to accomplish with Meridians. I think that’s a great way that our roles complement one another—Ginetta is the scholar and I’m the creative writer.

So even on our masthead, it’s apparent that we’re trying to create and curate an intersectional space for knowledge production. That’s our vision moving forward, to braid all of these ideas in different forms of knowledge production into the cohesive project that is Meridians.

Moreover, we are committed to making the content of our journal as openly available as possible. Our recently redesigned website will showcase multimedia work related to our published content. So, for example, one of our contributors from 17:1 submitted a poem that is actually a spoken word piece. It’s one dimensional when it’s on the page; but instead of having the poem remain a static object, we invited the contributor to record herself performing the piece. We plan to host her recording on our website so that it is openly available to subscribers and would-be readers of the journal. This endeavor is meant to highlight the different ways our readership encounters the pieces published in Meridians. You don’t necessarily just have to experience them on the written page. There are different emotions elicited whether you are reading an article, or seeing a photograph, or hearing a spoken-word poem. So, in a lot of ways it’s an activist agenda.

DUP:  Ginetta, tell us about your role as editor and your overall goals for the publication.

Ginetta: I am the fourth faculty editor of the journal. However, I’ve been involved with Meridians from its inception actually, because I joined the faculty at Smith College just after Meridians was conceived, if you will, and was there when it was birthed on campus. It’s the brainchild, the baby, of what used to be the Women’s Studies program. The first editorial group was a collective of Smith faculty (whose names are listed on our masthead, by the way). From there they expanded into a Smith-Wesleyan collective because Wesleyan University Press agreed to publish Meridians. Thus, after I was published in Meridians Volume 1, Number 1, I became part of what was then the Smith-Wesleyan Editorial Group.

Now, as editor, my role is establishing the intellectual vision of the journal moving forward. I’m a Latin Americanist who also does Afro-diasporic work, a Latin@ studies scholar who does feminist work, and a women’s studies scholar who does woman of color work, so my networks are somewhat different than my predecessors. I am really interested in growing the existing transnational part of our journal’s mandate and, by extension, its multilingualism. Having languages other than English represented in our submissions, whether those are scholarly essays or creative work, is important to us. We are moving in that direction already.

DUP: What are some of the highlights over the past year in your role as editor?

Ginetta: We recently transitioned to Duke University Press, so our first year working together was really about closing out the relationship with our former publisher and fulfilling commitments. In some ways Leslie’s and my first issues were 16:1 and 16:2, but they didn’t feel like they were truly ours, because we were finishing someone else’s recipe. That’s why in my “Editor’s Introduction” to 17:1, I say that it really feels like our first issue—because we curated it fully, and those contributions came in under our editorship.

Another highlight is that we’ve reconstituted our Editorial Advisory Board into a Smith-Duke board to honor and celebrate the relationship with Duke University Press.

Finally, we also instituted the Paula J. Giddings Best Essay Award that we’ll be presenting for the first time at this year’s National Women’s Studies Association conference. Paula will be present to deliver the award to the junior scholar whose article was selected by our Editorial Advisory Board.

Leslie: Another highlight for the journal has been bringing back student internships and providing cocurricular opportunities for Smith College students. We are providing pathways to professionalization, consistent with Meridians’s mandate to mentor women of color. Reinstituting these internships is one way that we’re amplifying Smith’s mission to educate women of promise for lives of distinction, but also to diversify the pipeline for the larger publishing community. Seeing our interns blossom has been a highlight for me as their supervisor, and I am looking forward to seeing where they’ll go after having Meridians as a guide and a reference. That’s been something we’ve been really proud of this past year.

DUP: How do you see the journal evolving over the next few years?

Ginetta: A central agenda for us is to internationalize the transnational aspect of the journal. One of the things that we are moving to next, in terms of our priorities, is reconfiguring our Transnational Advisory Board so that half of the board comprises scholars, cultural workers, and knowledge producers located outside the United States, in the major regions of Africa, in the Indian subcontinent, in China, the Middle East, and the Asian Pacific Island area. Not only will they contribute to the work we’re doing, but Meridians will be visible in the worlds that these individuals are inhabiting as knowledge producers across the globe. The hope is not just that we will be part of the conversations that are happening in those places but also that folks producing there will send their submissions to us. That is one of our big agendas: growing our international presence and the presence of the international in our journal.

Leslie: Also, part of our forward vision is to highlight the founding goals of Meridians. This is evident in our decision to bring back subsections—“In the Archives,” “Counterpoint,” “Media Matters,” etc.—within the journal. There’s something sort of poetic in that choice, a retrospective looking back in order to see where we’re headed.

DUP: Tell me more about your first fully curated issue of Meridians.

Ginetta: “Black Lives Matter,” Volume 17, Number 1, is the first issue that we fully curated. It is a black women’s activism and resiliency issue, because that’s where we’re at in this historical moment. This issue both commemorates and historicizes the presence and work of these feminists in the US and elsewhere across the world and their ties to us—the fact that we are part of a broader international transnational feminist community of knowledge producers, and that we’ve been influencing one another and supporting one another. We’re trying to honor and commemorate while also sustain hope moving forward. We’re very excited about the issue.

DUP: Is there anything else that you’d like to share with our readers?

Leslie: We’re in the process of developing a creative writing award at the moment. If you’re accepted into the journal you’re automatically in the pool of applicants for this particular award. We’re still working on the finer details, but that’s where Meridians is hoping to go, in order to highlight the creative aspect of Meridians, and showcase it a bit more moving forward.