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Special Issue on Decolonial Feminisms

Guest Editors: Debashree Mukherjee & Pavitra Sundar

 2020 has been a year of many reckonings. With this CFP we invite reflections that respond to one of the most urgent calls currently resonating across the globe: the call to decolonize. Echoing loudly on our streets, our screens, and in our classrooms, this is a call to dismantle structures of racial capitalism, carcerality, ecological extraction, Brahminical patriarchy, and the global division of gendered labor, all of which are interconnected systems that consolidate racial-capitalist power around the world. Drawing on decolonial theory that was developed in Latin America in the 1990s, and expanding our own training within feminist studies and postcolonial studies from South Asia, the editors of this special issue invite papers that reflect on the relations between media, coloniality, and resistance from multiple locational commitments.

Decolonial theory reminds us that the promise of modernity is inseparable from colonial violence. Coloniality/modernity are thus thought together in a perverse and originary coupling. Expanding this framework, feminist philosopher Maria Lugones theorizes the “coloniality of gender” as a framework for comprehending the intersections of race, class, and gender. For Lugones, decolonial feminism is a methodological as well as a praxical task. It urges us “to enact a critique of racialized, colonial, capitalist, heterosexualist gender oppression as a lived transformation of the social world” (2011). As scholars of modern media, of cultural forms and technologies of mass reproduction, how do we reckon with the histories and futures of media coloniality?

We might begin with a renewed commitment to comparative, interdisciplinary work that emphasizes relationality and rejects modernity/coloniality’s epistemic investment in totality, universality, linearity, and abstraction. Feminist media historiography has already made significant contributions in these areas— reminding us, for example, that archives are not straightforward accounts of individual value or historical presence, and that technology can be fetishized only because it is first gendered. In this special issue we invite feminist media scholars to foreground ongoing colonial processes and epistemes in analyses that privilege the embodied, the multiple, the ecological, the affective, the processual, and the coalitional.

Decolonial feminist media theory, as we imagine it, can accommodate artistic engagements with archives of slavery and indenture; industry studies that acknowledge gendered and racialized divisions of labor; work on ecology and elemental media that critiques the colonial-modern separation of nature and culture; representational histories that offer a counter-canon of feminist, queer, and indigenous thought and praxis; and decolonial approaches to archives and digitization. We invite authors to resituate and recuperate feminist media practitioners whose work speaks back to the colonial matrix of power. We also welcome theoretical enquiries that sharpen postcolonial critiques of the state, capitalism, and globalization by centering bodies at the intersection of gender, race, and caste.

Interested contributors should contact guest editors Pavitra Sundar and Debashree Mukherjee directly, sending a 500-word proposal and a short bio no later than January 4, 2021 to and Contributors will be notified by January 15, 2021; article drafts will be due by April 15, 2021 and will then be sent out for anonymous peer review.

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