The Place of the Political in Critical Feminist Materialisms

Freiburger Zeitschrift für GeschlechterStudien
Call for Papers
Deadline 31.05.2017

Current approaches of Feminist Materialisms provide epistemological and methodological contexts for conceptualizing the connections between matter and meaning. Through this process, we can analyze intra-actions between bodily, technological, and social forces, between research practices and their apparatuses, and between meaning and normalization in the constituting of phenomena. In connection to this onto-epistemological approach, questions about the political dimensions of feminist materialisms are gaining prominence. In 1985, Donna Haraway was already positing the debate regarding the “material-semiotic entanglements” of nature, technology, and social existence as politically imperative for criticism of power relations and capitalism as well as for a resistance to ex- and inclusion.

With regard to this current debate, our Call for Papers addresses the issue of the place of the political in Critical Feminist Materialisms as between bodies, technologies, and subjects in the context of individual and collective practices, societal structures, and symbolic norms. With the use of the plural we are emphasizing the different theoretical focuses and the corresponding different terms of current feminist-materialist concepts (such as Barad, Har- away, Sullivan, and Wuttig). With the addition of the word critical, we point to the political approach of gender studies, feminism, intersectionality, and queer and postcolonial studies, which Feminist Materialisms all draw on. Regarding the political potential, what is therefore the “new” in the theoretical debates and empirical analyses of Feminist Materialism and what are the arising critical questions?

On a concrete level, we would like to specify the following questions: what societal/political and global dimensions are currently being discussed? How do researchers – as intra-acting with their phenomena – approach responsibility and accountability of their actions? What political approaches do critical theory debates of Feminist Materialisms, of Critical Theory, of Embodying Approach, of Soma Studies, and of queer and intersectional perspectives suggest? Where can we locate their political explanatory potential and where do we encounter their limits?

We are asking for contributions to these questions from the following perspectives:

Feminist Materialism and Critical Theory: To what critical theory debates
can feminist materialist perspectives connect? What insights and reflections
can Critical Feminist Materialisms provide regarding power dynamics? Where are power dynamics and hierarchies located in Feminist Materialisms themselves? What value do freedom of action, the possibilities of, the motivations and intentions for actions have when poststructuralist perspectives (Butler, Foucault) are “materialised”?

Embodying Approach: What intersectional norms become recognizable and what influences do these norms have on individual/collective practices, on identity development, on structural and symbolic levels and which of these are currently prevalent? What governmental tactics are being privileged or ignored through technologized paradigms of optimization?

Soma Studies: How is the agency of bodies social-theoretically and politically determined? What role does the body play in the production of knowledge? How is the ability (and necessity) of the somatic-affective answer of the body, along with the resonance between researchers and researched, ethico-onto-epistemologically addressed?

Queer Studies, intersectionality, and the role of materialism: How can we conceptualize queer theoretical category criticism, postcolonial anti- discrimination work, and material respons_ability together? How does the concrete and material body, itself a recipient of discrimination, connect to queer intersectional approaches?

We welcome contributions to one or a combination of these topics and, where relevant, further politically connected questions.

Freiburg, November 2016
The fzg editors Guest editors: Dr. Anja Gregor, Dr. Beate Rosenzweig, Prof. Dr. Sigrid Schmitz, Prof. Dr. Bettina Wuttig

Please submit your text on the topic of Critical Feminist Materialisms (in German or English) by 31.05.2017 to The article should not exceed 40,000 characters (including works cited) and should conform to the style sheet provided by the fzg. An abstract (not exceeding ten lines) and five keywords (each in German and English) should be submitted in advance. Book reviews on the topic should not be longer than 12,000 characters (including spaces).

The fzg only publishes original work. We request that you provide a statement with your submission affirming the originality of your text (a form to do so, as well as a guideline for formatting, can be found on our website: Thank you!

PDF of CFP in german and english here

COST Action IS1307 New Materialism: Networking European Scholarship on 'How Matter Comes to Matter'.

Here you will find background material, current activities, calls for papers, working group information, and project outputs.

With the changing of societies on local, national and international scales owing to economic, ecological, political and technological developments and crises, a reorganized academic landscape can be observed to be emerging. Scholarship strives to become increasingly interdisciplinary in order to grasp and examine the unfolding complexity of ongoing ecological, socio-cultural and politico-economic changes. Additionally, academics forge... Read more or find out Who's Who

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Working Groups

Working Groups focus on four key areas of research

Working Group One

Genealogies of New Materialisms; examines and intervenes in canonization processes by compiling a web-based bibliography, coordinating the OST 068/13 8 EN... Read more

Working Group Two

New Materialisms on the Crossroads of the Natural and Human Sciences; seeks to develop new materialisms at the boundaries of the human and natural sciences. The group focuses on how European new materialisms can rework the ‘Two Cultures' gap... Read more

Working Group Three

New Materialisms Embracing the Creative Arts; brings together European researchers, artists, museum professionals, and other activists with a keen interest in the material... Read more

Working Group Four

New Materialisms Tackling Economical and Identity – Political Crises and Organizational Experiments... Read more


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COST Action IS1307

New Materialism —
Networking European Scholarship on 'How matter comes to matter’

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