CFP: Engendering Carcerality

Katharine Rollwagen's picture

This special issue of Gender & History casts a broad net to interrogate confinement, imprisonment and carcerality, inviting submissions on monasteries and gulags, workhouses and indentured service, lock hospitals and asylums, Native boarding schools and homes for wayward girls and delinquent boys, plantation holding cells and chain gangs, detention centers and refugee camps. It seeks pre-modern as well as modern discussions of criminality, including morals policing and “carceral domesticity,” and punishment in terms of institutions and structures of power, including church, family, and state. It encourages investigations of warehousing of people with disabilities and the locking up of the deviant and unruly, along with their degendering and hypersexualization. It seeks work on the treatment and resistance of trans and queer persons in carceral spaces. We are also interested in varieties of ideological and discursive frames, including liberation through the miracles of saints and ideologies of protection through fear of crime. Especially important are studies of the politics of carcerality, political movements and resistance, ranging from moral reform and “carceral feminism” to abolition feminism, as well as hunger strikes and prisoner organizing by those detained and incarcerated.  

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • unfreedom and social control
  • resistance
  • the carceral state and carceral strategies; growth of the prison industrial complex; mass incarceration; carceral logic
  • voluntary confinement and / or penitential incarceration; self-punishment as ideal
  • the economics of incarceration; incarceration for profit and its impact on gender
  • competing masculinities in carceral space
  • pregnancy and parental rights in carceral settings
  • the process of institutionalization, or “prisonization”
  • gendered violence or victimization in carceral settings
  • carceral feminism and abolition feminism
  • Queer and Trans abolition politics
  • the gendering of carceral space
  • the correction of “criminal” or “deviant” tendencies
  • carceral thinking and its impact on race, gender, and sexuality
  • carcerality and the gendering of racism
  • black feminist thought and analysis of settler colonialism

Interested individuals are asked to submit a 500-word abstract and a brief biography (250 words) by email no later than 30 September 2022 at 5:00 pm Pacific Time for consideration. Please submit materials to

Abstracts will be reviewed by the editors and successful authors will submit full drafts (6,000- 8,000 words) ahead of participation in an online symposium. After the symposium, the SI editors will select contributions to proceed through the journal’s peer review system. As with any submission, there is no guarantee of publication.

The Special Issue will be edited by Drs Eileen Boris, Sara Butler and Debanuj DasGupta.

Special Issue Timeline

Abstracts to SI editors -- 30 September 2022

Draft papers submitted for circulation to symposium participants -- 15 April 2023

On-line symposium -- May/June 2023 (date TBD)

Full submissions submitted on ScholarOne for peer review -- 31 August 2023

Fully revised submissions (and any image permissions) to SI editors -- 31 May 2024

Publication -- October 2024