CFP: Climate Change, Gender, and Authoritarianism: Entanglements of Anti-Feminism and Anti-Environmentalism in the Far-Right

Sohie Bjork-James's picture



Josef Barla (Goethe University Frankfurt) and Sophie Bjork-James (Vanderbilt University)

CFP Special journal issue


From the Trump administration’s decision to leave the Paris climate accord and to roll back

environmental regulations to Jair Bolsonaro’s fight against environmental and indigeneity

activists, far-right leaders around the world not only fail to address climate change as a serious

threat but also embrace different forms of anti-environmentalism which seem to be

intimately connected with white nationalist ideologies, racism, gender essentialism, and an

aggressive anti-feminism. Manifesting, for example, in the passing of policies and laws against

grassroots groups and environmental organizations as well as in the rise of an anti-science

rhetoric in the US and in Europe, these ideologies and believes also culminate in violence

against climate scientists, journalists, and activists. The recent orchestrated attacks against

Katharine Hayhoe, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Greta Thunberg, to name but a few

prominent global faces of climate science and activism, suggest that far-right authoritarianism

and anti-feminism are informing one another in multiple ways when it comes to climate

change denialism and anti-environmentalism today.


This special issue explores how far-right authoritarianism, anti-environmentalism, and antifeminism have co-emerged as such salient forces in our current socio-political moment. The

designation ‘far-right authoritarianism’ is understood as an umbrella term for different forms

of right-wing ideologies, identities, subjectivities, and politics ranging from anti-liberal to antidemocratic and openly fascist. While far-right authoritarianism and anti-feminism have been

explored extensively on their own, (see, for example, Lockwood 2018; Forchtner 2020) the

intersection of far-right authoritarianism, anti-environmentalism, and ‘anti-genderism’ (Hark

and Villa 2015) is still a little research topic. Even less researched is how far-right

authoritarianisms and anti-genderisms are informing discourses on climate change denialism.

In the past few years, feminist responses to climate change and its socio-political,

ecological, and economic consequences have shifted attentiveness to questions of

responsibility, inequality, and justice, emphasizing how climate change and environmental

catastrophes affect those who are already marginalized in multiple intersecting ways more

harshly (see, for example, Alaimo 2009; Dankelman 2002; Israel and Sachs 2019; MacGregor

2009; Terry 2009). Despite a number of highly insightful and important calls to critically

engage with the gendered and racialized socio-political and economic effects of climate

change (Boyce et al. 2019), the production of gendered climate knowledge (Tuana 2013), and

the philosophical implications of climate change from an explicitly feminist perspective,

(Tuana and Cuomo 2014), little attention has been paid so far to the complex way in which

hegemonic conceptions of gender identities are hailed and performed in the context of

climate change denialism and anti-environmentalism that go beyond policy-oriented analyses

or environmental communication.


Against this backdrop, we argue that a perspective is still missing that explores how exactly

far-right extremisms, anti-environmentalisms, and anti-feminisms are informing one another

epistemologically, semiotically, and politically in the context of environmental catastrophes,

climate change, and its denial. In order to understand the role of anti-feminisms and anti-genderisms in far-right responses to climate change and environmentalism, there is an urgent

need for better understandings of the relationship between escalating environmental crises

and resurgent far-right authoritarian movements in our current conjuncture that takes into

account how gender categories, identities, and ideologies are imbricated within scientific,

political, and activist discourses on climate change and its denial.


Therefore, we are seeking article proposals for a planned special issue of the journal

Feminist Review. We invite innovative theoretical and empirical contributions based on

original research and a strong feminist perspective that explore the relationship between far-right

authoritarianism, anti-feminism, and anti-environmentalism against the backdrop of

climate change and pressing environmental crises. How are gender reactionaries and anti-environmentalism linked with one another? How are far-right concepts such as, for instance,

the notion of ‘gender ideology’ positioned in the dismissal of anthropogenic climate change?

How is environmentalism understood as a threat to hegemonic masculine identities by different social actors and in different geographic and historical contexts? How are gendered understandings and concepts shaping the discourses and politics on climate change and its

denial? What is the role of different (non-)party actors from anti-liberals to far-right extremists

in the articulation of the phenomenon of climate change? What are the epistemic, political,

psychological, and socio-cultural foundations of climate change denialism, and how are they

fueling anti-feminist and misogynistic politics and hostilities? How is climate change denialism, the rejection of scientific method, and anti-feminism informing one another? How are objectivity, facts, truth, and critique being hijacked in this discourse? And how do gendered and racialized specificities of location, not only produce different knowledges but also different forms of epistemic ignorance? Submissions from members of excluded or underrepresented groups and communities are especially encouraged.


We welcome original papers that deal with one or more of, but are not limited to, the

following topics:

§ the mobilization of anti-genderisms for the dismissal of environmental urgencies

§ the role of anti-feminism in the context of environmental racism and anti-indigeneity

§ the production of naturalized gender images in white supremacist ideologies

§ the entanglements of climate change denialism and far-right conspiracy theories

§ feminist climate sciences as situated knowledges

§ toxic masculinities, online propaganda, and digital hate

§ online communities’ production of truth

§ critical analyses of the far-right’s ‘counter narratives’ to climate change

§ the role of truth, objectivity, and epistemic relativism in climate change denialism

§ gender and environment in evangelicalism and environmental apocalypticism


Please submit an abstract of no more than 500 words by June 15, 2020 to and Abstracts will be reviewed by the special issue editors and notifications sent out by July 15, 2020.


The special issue proposal including six to eight abstracts will be sent to Feminist Review by

the end of July 2020. In the case the journal editors decide against acceptance, the editors of

this special issue will pursue publishing with similarly ranked and focused academic peer-reviewed journals such as Feminist Theory, Signs, Hypatia, or Australian Feminist Studies.

If the special issue proposal is accepted for publication, full manuscripts (6000-8000 words)

will be due to the special issue editors for preliminary review around spring 2021. Manuscripts

will then be submitted to Feminist Review for peer review.



Josef Barla, Institute of Sociology, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main


Sophie Bjork-James, Department of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University



Alaimo, Stacy (2009): “Insurgent Vulnerability and the Carbon Footprint of Gender,” Kvinder, Køn & Forskning (3-4): 22-35.

Boyce, Geoffrey A., Sarah Launius, Jill Williams, and Todd Miller (2019): “Alter-Geopolitics and the Feminist Challenge to the Securitization of Climate Policy,” Gender, Place & Culture, DOI: 10.1080/0966369X.2019.1620698

Dankelman, Irene (2002): “Climate Change: Learning From Gender Analysis and Women’s Experiences of Organizing for Sustainable Development,” Gender & Development 10 (2): 21-29.

Forchtner, Bernhard (2020): The Far Right and the Environment. Politics, Discourse and

Communication. New York and London: Routledge.

Hark, Sabine, and Paula-Irene Villa (2015): Anti-Genderismus. Bielefeld: transcript.

Israel, Andrei L. and Sachs, Carolyn (2019): “A Climate for Feminist Intervention: Feminist Science Studies and Climate Change.” In: Margaret Alston and Kerri Whittenbury (eds.). Research, Action and Policy. Adressing the Gendered Impacts of Climate Change. Springer, pp. 33-51.

Lockwood, Matthew (2018): “Right-Wing Populism and the Climate Change Agenda: Exploring the Linkages,” Environmental Politics 27 (4): 712-732.

MacGregor, Sherilyn (2009): “A Stranger Silence: The Need for Feminist Social Research on Climate Change,” Sociological Review 57 (s2): 124-140.

Terry, Geraldine (2009): “No Climate Justice Without Gender Justice: An Overview of the Issues,” Gender & Development 17 (1): 5-18.

Tuana, Nancy (2013): “Gendering Climate Knowledge for Justice: Catalyzing a New Research Agenda.” In: Margaret Alston and Kerri Whittenbury (eds.). Research, Action and Policy. Adressing the Gendered Impacts of Climate Change. Springer, pp- 17-31.

Tuana, Nancy, and Chris J. Cuomo (2014): “Climate Change—Editor’s Introduction,” Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy 29 (3): 533-540.

Categories: CFP