Sociology

EASTS wins 2018 STS Infrastructure Award

EASTSCongratulations to East Asian Science, Technology and Society: An International Journal (EASTS), winner of the 2018 STS Infrastructure Award from the Society for Social Studies of Science. The STS Infrastructure Award is given each year to recognize exemplary initiative to build and maintain infrastructure supporting science and technology studies.

The selection committee notes, “EASTS was established just over a decade ago but has become an exciting, well-respected forum for publishing STS scholarship. Thanks to each of its issues it is possible to enjoy a careful work centered on the wide range of STS topics, that bridge STS with others, amplifying interpretations, languages and insights, presented moreover in distinctive and attractive covers to the audience.”

ddeasts_12_1_coverWen-Hua Kuo, editor of EASTS, wrote in an acceptance statement:

Though a relative newcomer, EASTS has been an active and visible presence at 4S meetings via its editorial meetings, paper sessions, and activities like “EASTS night”. It in turn makes East Asia visible to the world—through not only the scholarly articles it carries but also the research notes, forums, review articles, and essays. Since its very inception, EASTS has committed itself to being more than “just another STS journal”; aside from its own publishing role, EASTS has provided an umbrella for a growing network of STS scholars across Asia, transcending the various national STS societies and giving a space for global scholars to work within. By recognizing infrastructure as a network and a platform for building society, we are grateful that our work with the journal has been recognized this way. With this award, EASTS will continue to work closely on an expanding, interactive, and also challenging STS world in which East Asia is not an outsider but has a permanent part.

Congratulations again to all who work on EASTS. Learn more about the award here.

Call for Papers: Teaching Critical Theory in the Era of Globalization

ddped_18_1Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture is seeking submissions for a special issue edited by Helena Gurfinkel (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville) and Gautam Basu Thakur (Boise State University), titled “Critical Theory in the Era of Globalization,” and scheduled for October 2020.

The editors of this special issue are seeking contributions on teaching critical theory in the global present. What is the relevance of teaching theory in the era of globalization, and what is at stake? What are the challenges and unavoidable paradoxes of teaching theory at a time when global classrooms are geared toward both neoliberal information/skills acquisition and conservative knowledge accumulation?

Changes in the classroom reflect changes in global politics. In the decades following the Second World War, that is, in the midst of the Cold War and the rapid decolonization of the globe, critical theory gained popularity across Anglo-American English departments with its radical interrogations of traditional society, politics, and culture. It drastically dislocated the imperial boundaries of English studies and was responsible for challenging the canon – “birthing” gender and postcolonial studies and connecting literature to politics, subjectivity, and networks of commodity relations. But does theory retain these strengths in the twenty-first century college classroom? What relevance does it have as pedagogy and practice to better understand and address the challenges of contemporary social reality – climate change, depredation of democracy, neoliberalism and violence, and the so-called “death of the humanities”?

This special issue will ponder these questions, as we seek new ways of teaching undergraduate and graduate literary theory and criticism courses. The editors would particularly like to rethink the institution of the survey course, an accepted narrative that begins with formalism and ends with identity.

Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Teaching a theory survey course (graduate and/or undergraduate) in a globalized world: challenges, rewards, and methodologies.
  • Teaching critical theory: new methodologies, forgotten theories/forgotten methodologies, new theories.
  • Teaching critical theory in a graduate course in the current (global) job market.
  • Teaching global literatures as theory/ Global literary theory as pedagogy.
  • Teaching a global critical theory survey: resisting chronology.
  • Teaching critical theory beyond the Western university.

The editors invite articles of 5000-7500 words and position papers of 1500 words. Articles are open to all theoretical approaches. Position papers should address one of the following: 1) teaching queer theory; 2) teaching postcolonial theory; 3) teaching the non-human turn. In all cases, global pedagogical contexts are essential. Pedagogy uses The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition.

Submission Deadlines:

March 2, 2018: 1-page CVs; abstracts of 500 words for articles, or of 150 words for position papers to Helena Gurfinkel and Gautam Basu Thakur.

September 4, 2018: full articles and position papers to Helena Gurfinkel and Gautam Basu Thakur.

Queries welcome.

Groundbreaking Study on Incan Khipus Published in Ethnohistory

ddeh_65_1Toward the Decipherment of a Set of Mid-Colonial Khipus from the Santa Valley, Coastal Peru,” by Manuel Medrano and Gary Urton is a groundbreaking study recently published in Ethnohistory.

Khipus, a method of record-keeping used by the Inca, were used to record data using knotted strings. In the past, khipus have proven nearly impossible to decipher and there was a very limited understanding of what they represented. In this article, Harvard junior Manuel Medrano shares what he discovered—the khipus were used to represent names of villagers in a census.

Gary Urton, co-writer and Harvard professor tells the Harvard Gazette:

It’s giving the Incas their own voice. I could never figure out the hidden meanings in these devices. Manny figured them out, focusing on their color, and on their recto or verso (right-hand and left-hand) construction. This was the only case we have discovered so far in which one or more (in this case six) khipus and a census record matches.

Recently featured on All Things Considered, Medrano states:

The khipus are incredible because they compel us to interpret history in multiple dimensions. South America’s the only continent besides Antarctica on which no civilization invented a system of graphical writing for over 10,000 years after the first people arrived. And what that means in the course of history is that the Incas are often defined by what they lack and with a despite clause. In other words, this civilization who never invented the wheel, never invented markets and lacked a system of graphical writing are often defined as never having stumbled upon the wonders of civilization. And this project is aimed at reversing that incorrect narrative.

Read the article, made freely available.

An Interview with English Language Notes Editor Laura Winkiel

We recently sat down with new English Language Notes (ELNeditor Laura Winkiel to discuss the journal’s editorial philosophy, the journal’s new “Of Note” section, and upcoming special issues of the journal.

ELN-55.1-2-web-cover

How would you describe the journal’s editorial philosophy?

The journal’s core editors are a rotating group of professors housed in the English Department at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and the aim of the journal is to highlight and further new critical trends. We’re trans-historical and trans-interdisciplinary, so what that’s meant is that we push the envelope on a given critical question for an interdisciplinary, trans-historical field. We’re special issue driven, so we have a special issue editor, or two, who writes the introduction to map out the wide parameters of a critical question. The journal is methodologically driven, instead of historically driven.

How does English Language Notes differentiate itself from other journals in the area?

ELN is a special issue-only journal; every issue is different. It’s hard to fit us into a box because, for example, we are currently publishing a “Comparative Mysticisms” issue , while we have just published a biopolitically-driven issue, called “In/security” and an environmental humanities issue, called “Environmental Trajectories.”

One of the things we want to start doing next year is to have a section called Of Note, which will address all kinds of critical angles in literary studies and beyond. This section will be separate from whatever the special issue editor is curating. “Of Note” will serve as a thread of contemporary criticism and dialogue that is continuous across all issues to solidify our identity and to begin to generate attention to a continuous open call at the journal for short, position-taking submissions. This can be in the form of a review essay, or a short essay akin to the “Theories and Methodologies” section of the PMLA.

Can you tell me a little more about this new “Of Note” section and what you’re looking for in submissions?

English Language Notes has always had a variety of formats: the long scholarly article, creative submissions, and clusters and forums. We are looking to build upon this strength.  We will begin by publishing a CFP for “Of Note” this spring.  We’ve already built an in-box for submissions in Editorial Manager, and the Senior Editor will be in charge of curating this section for each issue. I think scholars will have a sense of what we’re looking for by reading the CFP.

What are some forthcoming issues of English Language Notes?

What has always motivated my editorial work is the desire to learn a field in depth: who is working in it, and what the salient debates are. Editorial work is scholarly work that is collaborative and collective.

I’m currently working on a special issue called, “Hydro-criticism,” that will be out in April 2019.  Though I’ve worked on the black Atlantic for a long time now, the maritime turn in humanities is changing this field in many compelling ways. I’m interested in how the two can meet. The topic of “Hydro-criticism” is perfect for an ELN issue: it is transhistorical, interdisciplinary, there are scientists, social scientists, anthropologists, artists and humanists working in this field, if one can call it that. I have circulated a range of question topics: wet ontologies, entanglements, provincializing Europe, long histories, questions of sovereignty, shipwrecks and other seafaring disasters, literary form, and problems of scale. The deadline to submit to this issue of English Language Notes is March 1, 2018.

Comparative Mysticisms” is in production now and coming out in April 2018. It’s edited by Professor Nan Goodman, who is in the English Department and directs the Jewish Studies Program at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Maria Windell and Jesse Alemán’s “Latinx Lives in Hemispheric Context” will be published in October 2018.

After the “Hydro-criticism” issue, Ramesh Mallipeddi and Cristobal Silva will publish an issue titled “Memory, Amnesia, Commemoration.”

Are there any ways you would like to shape the journal in the future?

I think I’ve already outlined most of the important work that has gone into our move to Duke University Press and our vision for the journal’s future. I will add that the journal is also going through a redesign, so it will have a new look in terms of layout as well. In addition, we have started to reach out to co-editors from other institutions and departments as a way to broaden our editorial vision. I think English Language Notes is a journal to pay attention to, now more than ever.

A respected forum of criticism and scholarship in literary and cultural studies since 1962, English Language Notes (ELN) is dedicated to pushing the edge of scholarship in literature and related fields in new directions. Broadening its reach geographically and transhistorically, ELN opens new lines of inquiry and widens emerging fields. Each ELN issue advances topics of current scholarly concern, providing theoretical speculation as well as interdisciplinary recalibrations through practical usage. Offering semiannual, topically themed issues, ELN also includes “Of Note,” an ongoing section featuring related topics, review essays or roundtables of cutting-edge scholarship, and emergent concerns. Edited by Laura Winkiel, ELN is a wide-ranging journal that combines theoretical rigor with innovative interdisciplinary collaboration.

Unpacking Tourism

ddrhr_129Tourism shapes popular fantasies of adventure, structures urban and natural space, creates knowledge around difference, and demands an array of occupations servicing the insatiable needs of those who travel for leisure. Even as migrants and refugees have become targets of ire from far-right parties, international tourism has grown worldwide.

The most recent issue of Radical History Review, “Unpacking Tourism,” posits a radical approach to the study of tourism, highlighting how tourism as a paradigmatic modern encounter bleeds into diplomacy, militarism, and empire building. Contributors investigate, among other topics, how the United States has used tourism in Latin America as a tool of interventionist foreign policy, how Bethlehem’s Manger Square has become a contested space between Palestinians and the Israeli state, how Spain’s economy increasingly relies on northern European tourists, and how the US military’s Cold War–era guidebooks attempted to convert soldiers stationed abroad into “ambassadors of goodwill.”

Read the introduction to the issue, made freely available.

Recent Journal Issues on Gender, Violence, War, and Religion

The intersection between gender, violence, war, religion, and race are featured in several recent special issues of Radical History ReviewSocial Text, and the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies. Read more about the issues featured and sample several articles made freely available.

ddrhr_126In bringing together a geographically and temporally broad range of interdisciplinary historical scholarship, “Reconsidering Gender, Violence, and the State,” a special issue of Radical History Review, offers an expansive examination of gender, violence, and the state. Through analyses of New York penitentiaries, anarchists in early twentieth-century Japan, and militarism in the 1990s, contributors reconsider how historical conceptions of masculinity and femininity inform the persistence of and punishments for gendered violence. The contributors to a section on violence and activism challenge the efficacy of state solutions to gendered violence in a contemporary US context, highlighting alternatives posited by radical feminist and queer activists. In five case studies drawn from South Africa, India, Ireland, East Asia, and Nigeria, contributors analyze the archive’s role in shaping current attitudes toward gender, violence, and the state, as well as its lasting imprint on future quests for restitution or reconciliation. This issue also features a visual essay on the “false positives” killings in Colombia and an exploration of Zanale Muholi’s postapartheid activist photographyRead the introduction, made freely available.

stx129covprintIn “Race/Religion/War,” a special issue of Social Text edited by Keith P. Feldman and Leerom Medovoi, contributors query long-standing entanglements among the respective epistemologies of race, religion, and war as they organize modern strategies of knowledge and power. They investigate how a logic of permanent warfare underwrites both the international intensification of Islamophobia and the emergence and deployment of an expanding set of security apparatuses whose categorical, geographic, and historical permeability define warfare as radically open-ended. At the same time, the issue seeks to draw attention to long genealogies of race, religion, and war that both contextualize their contemporary braiding and offer political countermemories against which we can make sense of our baleful present.

Drawing on diverse critical traditions, its contributors raise questions such as: What is the relationship of the race/religion/war triad to the modern history of the militarized state? How have certain forms of war-making produced some kinds of race-making or religion-formation, while perhaps unmaking others? Does racial modernity emerge out of the secularization of religious war? How are the religious and racial dimensions of modern colonialism and settler colonialism co-articulated? Read the introduction to the issue, made freely available.

ddmew_12_3In the most recent issue of the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, “The Gender and Sexuality of Militarization and War,” contributors focus on the gender and sexuality of militarization, war, and violence. Topics include the gendered representations of violence during and after the 2011 revolutions in Syria and Egypt and how they have impacted men and women, reading Israeli, Iraqi, and Yemeni literature to understand fraught and often violent relationships between Jews and Israelis and Muslims and Arabs, and examining the meanings attached to women’s performance of identity, citizenship, and political agency in Turkey in the early twenty-first century.

From the preface by feminist scholar Cynthia Enloe:

These researchers reveal the diversity of women’s experiences, imaginations, images, and political analyses both within a single country, such as Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, or Syria, and also across the region.Women are not “just women.” These articles also underscore the interactions of diverse women, historically and socially situated women, with the diverse men of their communities, men who have been both perpetrators and targets of sexualized and unsexualized violence and who are trying to make their own sense of their roles in that violence. Reading these articles together helps us all, I think, understand how crucial it is to absorb complexities when plunging into the gendered lives of women and men making their lives in militarized societies. This is what the Syrian women civil society activists are calling on the men in Geneva to do. This is what they, together with the authors of these provocative articles, are calling on each of us to do.

Read Edith Szanto’s article from the issue, “Depicting Victims, Heroines, and Pawns in the Syrian Uprising,” made freely available.

 

Call for Papers: The Political Beliefs and Civic Engagement of Physicians in an Era of Polarization

ddjhppl_41_6To what extent do doctors’ political beliefs, identities, and ideologies influence their professional decisions in the medical exam room? How do these political views shape what doctors do in their role as citizens, including their political participation on contested issues, such as abortion, gun control, and Obamacare? We invite papers for a conference at Tufts University in fall 2017 to explore the political beliefs and civic engagement of physicians in an era of partisan polarization. The Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law will accept five to seven papers from the conference to run in a special issue after undergoing peer review.

Background

Physicians have substantial autonomy in treating patients according to their best judgment. To be sure, doctors must uphold standards of professional conduct. They are also subject to the incentives and constraints of insurance plans, payment systems, and malpractice rules. Yet the role of a physician is defined loosely enough that doctors can bring to their work predispositions about how their jobs ought to be done. These predispositions can come from many sources, including medical school training, prior experiences, peer effects, individual personality and—the subject of this call for papers—politics.

A recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (Hersh and Goldenberg 2016) demonstrates that physicians allow their political worldviews to influence their professional decisions on certain politically salient issues. For example, doctors who identify with the Democratic Party are more likely to urge patients against storing firearms in the home, while Republican physicians are more likely to counsel patients on the mental health risks of abortion and to urge patients to cut down on marijuana use. Yet many questions remain unanswered:  How important and far-reaching is the influence of physicians’ political beliefs? What factors shape the emergence and development of these beliefs? Does the influence of physicians’ political beliefs on their professional behavior benefit or harm patients? Does it significantly affect variation in medical spending and health outcomes? In addition to these questions about how physicians’ political views affect medical practice, there are a range of questions about how physicians engage in politics, such as the level and variety of political activism among physicians and their professional associations.

Possible Paper Topics and Target Audience

We seek to cast a broad net and are open to studies by political scientists, economists, sociologists, health services researchers, and others. Papers could examine how doctors form their political ideologies and identities, whether there are significant differences in beliefs or belief formation across variables such as gender, age, region, training, residency, practice type, or medical specialization, as well as the implications for health outcomes. We are also interested in papers that examine the political participation of doctors in areas including but not limited to voting, testifying, letter writing, participation in agency rulemaking, contributing money to candidates or PACs, bundling donations, running for office, making public speeches and media appearances, and formal or informal lobbying. We are primarily interested in the political views and behavior of U.S. physicians, but papers that offer a comparative perspective are welcome.

The target audiences for these papers include academic researchers; health policy makers at the local, state, and federal levels; and health legal practitioners. Papers should be written so as to be accessible to all of these audiences.

Submission Guidelines

Interested authors should submit a 1-3 page proposal by March 3, 2017 by email to Jennifer Costanza, Managing Editor of JHPPL, at jhppl[at]brown[dot]edu. Please put “Physicians and Politics Submission” in the subject line of the message. JHPPL will respond to the proposals by April 21, 2017. Accepted authors will present completed papers at the conference in October/November 2017, at Tufts University in Boston. The papers will then undergo peer review for a special issue of the journal.

Translating Transgender

ddtsq_3_3_4The most recent issue of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, “Translating Transgender,” edited by David Gramling and Aniruddha Dutta, calls for a multilingual and translational critique of discourses of transgender studies. Few primary and secondary texts about transgender lives and ideas have been translated from language to language in any formal way over the centuries. Meanwhile, transgender, gender variant, and gender non-confirming people have often been exiles, translators, language mediators, and multilinguals in greater numbers and intensities historically than their cisgender counterparts have. This kind of positionality among languages has become a generative, yet often precarious aspect of trans* embodiment. Nonetheless, the discourses of transgender studies continue to be more Anglophone, more monolingual, and less translated than they historically ought to be, given how the subjects that produced those discourses have often been prototypes of transnational and translingual border-crossing.

Susan Stryker and Paisley Currah, editors of TSQ, state in their General Editor’s Introduction: “It feels vital at this early phase of its institutionalization to facilitate transgender studies’ becoming as multilingual, multidirectional, linguistically centrifugal, and untranslatable as methodologically possible… We see this issue of TSQ as a many-voiced wager on what promises to be a rich, ongoing conversation in years to come, and we look forward in anticipation to whatever future contributions this journal can make to that dialogue.”

From the introduction by special issue editors David Gramling and Aniruddha Dutta:

As editors, it brings us more than a little delight that the articles we present here far outshine—in their political imagination, analytical precision, and methodological ambition—the hopes expressed in the original call for papers. The contributors include literary translators (Nathanaël, Rose, BaerLarkosh), anthropologists (Jarrín, Pons Rabasa), a musicologist (Roy), a political scientist (Josephson), a classicist (Gabriel), a modern linguist (Leino), a film scholar (Leung), literary comparatists (Concilio, Heinrich, Larkosh), a sociologist (Einarsdóttir), poets and fiction writers (Nathanaël, Dowd), a religious studies scholar (Strassfeld), and translation studies specialists (Baer, Almarri). These critics and writers draw on the demands of their particular research contexts to nourish a sensibility around translation that is vernacular, emergent, and problem oriented, rather than prescriptive and monodisciplinary. They have thus offered an unwieldy, asymmetrical, and mutually interrogative constellation of approaches, such that one contribution’s core categories of analysis find profound and contradictory echoes in the next. To take just one instance, while Unni Leino, writing from the Scandinavian context, contends that the ways the Finnish language divides the conceptual domains of sex, sexuality, and gender “make a difference in fighting the sexualization of trans people,” Alvaro Jarrín’s critical analysis of travesti access to public health care in Brazil is in contrast primarily oriented around fighting precisely the nonmedicalization of travestis in that context. Divergent linguistic orders that constrain local and transregional modes of “thinking for speaking” (Slobin 1996) thus play a complex structuring role in the putatively extralinguistic social and symbolic positions available to speakers. These two juxtaposed analyses—Leino and Jarrín—clarify why and how (trans) gender discourses mean in structurally distinct ways in one linguaculture versus another, thus placing the broader justice claims pertinent to each in critical relief.

Read the full introduction, made freely available.

The Singular “They” and Trans* Studies

They used as a “gender-neutral singular pronoun for a known person” was chosen as the Word of the Year by the American Dialect Society in January 2016. The so-called singular they has been used for centuries to replace he or she when referring back to a generic antecedent, although this makes some copy editors and grammar aficionados cringe. (Did you see this row between Merriam-Webster dictionary Twitter account and Andy Smarick? It all started with this tweet.) What’s new and was recognized by the society is the emerging use of they as a pronoun to refer to a specific known person, often as a conscious choice by someone rejecting the traditional gender binary of he and she.

Ben Zimmer, chair of the New Words Committee of the American Dialect Society, explains: “In the past year, new expressions of gender identity have generated a deal of discussion. . . . While many novel gender-neutral pronouns have been proposed, they has the advantage of already being part of the language.”

ddasp_91_1In “Singular They: An Empirical Study of the Generic Pronoun Use,” published in American Speech volume 91, issue 1, author Darren K. LaScotte presents a study that explores which pronouns native English speakers use when writing about a hypothetical person of unspecified gender. LaScotte discovered the majority of participants use singular they when referring to the indefinite, singular, genderless antecedent “the ideal student.” In an optional write-in section of the study, participants were asked why they chose the singular they. Responses included mentions that they acknowledges those that fall outside of the gender binary.

These responses in LaScotte’s study highlight the relationship between the singular they and trans* studies. In TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly’s recent special issue “Trans*formational Pedagogies” (volume 2, issue 3), two articles delve into the use of pronouns and the trans* community.

ddtsq_2_3In “Trans* Disruptions: Pedagogical Practices and Pronoun Recognition,” Tre Wentling asks, “With the increasing number of trans* people who queer the gender binary, how does language affirm or deny their personhood?” In Wentling’s study, the results demonstrate that trans* students who identify as genderqueer tended to use gender-neutral and third-person pronouns. However, educators were less affirming when it came to gender-neutral pronoun recognition. “Accurate pronoun recognition supports trans* students’ identity development and honors their personhood,” Wentling says.

Susan W. Woolley’s “‘Boys Over Here, Girls Over There’: A Critical Literacy of Binary Gender in Schools” examines the ways teachers and students enact, respond to, and subvert practices that articulate and distinguish categories of boys and girls with three years of ethnographic research in an urban public high school. From the abstract:

Dividing students according to their socially recognized sex or gender reinforces the perceived stability of binary male/female sex and binary masculine/feminine gender categories while also exceptionalizing transgender identities. Students and teachers who challenge such practices engage in critical literacy readings of school spaces and of the mundane ways binary gender and sex are read onto bodies. Critical literacy provides a method through which students and teachers may engage in reflection and critical practice to raise awareness and challenge everyday practices in schools that construct boys and girls as stable, discrete categories.

For those who embrace, or are ready to embrace, the singular they, there’s a website for you: iheartsingularthey.com.

Everyday Intimacies of the Middle East

ddmew_12_2Everyday Intimacies of the Middle East,” the most recent issue of the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, provides an area-studies perspective on intimacy and explores the analytic, theoretical, and political work that intimacy promises as a concept. The contributors explore how multiple domains and forms of intimacies are defined and transformed across the cultural and social worlds of the Middle East, looking in particular at Egypt, Turkey, and Israel. Focusing on everyday constructions of intimacies, the contributors engage with questions about how we should calibrate the evolving nature of intimacy in times of rapid transition, what intimacy means for individual and social lives, and what social, political, and economic possibilities intimacy creates.

Each article in “Everyday Intimacies of the Middle East” presents a context-specific discussion of how legal, economic, and political regulations and practices promote a social environment in which certain intimacies are stigmatized, sanctioned, or dissolved while others are encouraged. Topics include physical exercise, Turkish beauty salons, transnational surrogacy arrangements, gender reassignment, and coffee shops as intimate spaces for men outside the family.

Read the introduction, made freely available.