CfP: Special Issue of the Journal of Lesbian Studies: Towards Central and Eastern European Lesbian Studies

Aleksandra Gajowy's picture
Call for Papers
November 13, 2022 to February 1, 2023
Subject Fields: 
Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Eastern Europe History / Studies, Russian or Soviet History / Studies, Sexuality Studies, Women's & Gender History / Studies

Can CEE Lesbians Speak? Towards Central and Eastern European Lesbian Studies

Dr Aleksandra Gajowy

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Deadline for proposals: February 1, 2023

Deadline for manuscripts: June 1, 2023


This call invites proposal submissions for a special issue on the subject of Central and Eastern European (CEE) lesbian studies. The issue takes as its starting point both the invisibility of lesbian scholarship in CEE and the invisibility of CEE lesbians in global scholarship, and investigates these omissions through the lens of lesbians working in, from, and on the region.

Joanna Mizielińska (2001) argues that lesbian double uselessness as not fulfilling the role of mothers and wives in the context of nationhood significantly contributes to their invisibility. Anikó Imre (2008) writes that CEE theorisations of lesbians tend to emphasise their activist efforts and the desire to establish a lesbian national identity. Discussing “scholarly sexual nationalism,” Rasa Navickaitė (2014) investigates the tendency of CEE LGBT sexualities to self-exoticise as more queer than the “straight” Western sexualities. Across these important interventions, the invisibilities and perceived inefficiencies of CEE lesbians as inevitably bound to nationhood appear to take centre stage in the sparse scholarship devoted to lesbians in the region. Recognising the significance and contested histories of national identity in CEE, this issue aims to move beyond nationhood as the primary marker of belonging and investigate the breadth and diversity of lesbian scholarship from CEE through an affirmative, although critical, lens. It seeks affinities and kinships in different CEE countries as well as across the region while investigating cultural omissions, silences, and epistemic violences, as well as joy, fun, sex, friendship, community, and kinship.

The contributions might reflect on themes and questions including, but not limited to:

  • Representation: Historically and currently, how are lesbians portrayed in literature, art, and film from the region? How can the persistent historical invisibility of lesbians in the region be challenged? Can CEE lesbians write theory? Are there distinct research methods and methodologies to write about CEE lesbians?


  • Nationhood: How do lesbian identities and identifications challenge CEE perceptions of nationhood? How do the histories of state socialism influence the CEE lesbian experience? How are lesbians positioned alongside the narratives of religion and nationhood in CEE? Are there transnational/regional lesbian discourses in CEE? How are lesbians affected by the turn to far-right wing populism across the CEE region?


  • Intersectionality: How do the specific CEE discourses of decolonisation and race entangle with lesbian narratives? How can lesbian studies from the region transgress the narratives of CEE self-colonisation and self-exoticisation? Are CEE lesbian discourses trans-inclusive? How to write lesbian histories of Jewishness in the region? How are lesbian and feminist narratives from the region entangled?


  • Affect: How is lesbian sex represented in CEE? Are transnational/intergenerational affinities important to CEE lesbians? How is lesbian joy conceptualised in CEE? How are lesbian communities formed in CEE?


We welcome essays from any disciplinary perspective, of up to 5,500 words. We also encourage submissions of short, public-facing, and/or experimental articles, as well as visual art and poetry. Please send your 250-500 word proposal and a short bio to Aleksandra Gajowy.

Email address:

Deadline for proposals: February 1, 2023,

Deadline for manuscripts: June 1, 2023

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