“Gendered bodies in transit: between vulnerability and resistance”: Special Issue of CLCWeb

Manuela Coppola's picture
Call for Papers
July 31, 2017 to December 31, 2017
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Humanities, Literature, Slavery, Women's & Gender History / Studies

Vulnerability has emerged as a central category and, most certainly, a ubiquitous term in the definition of the human in the last two decades (Ganteau 2015). Any overview of the term will point out its applicability to the human condition, framing vulnerability as a defining paradigm of contemporary culture. The wide variety of applications of this term to fields as diverse as medicine and psychology to social ecology and political economy (Hirsch 2014), also testifies to the interdisciplinary nature of this concept. However, vulnerability has often been associated with an array of notions, such as care, ethics, trauma, etc. that have emphasised the victimised condition of the wounded body (and mind).

Moving away from the essential passivity of such articulation of the vulnerable, Judith Butler’s recent theorisation has proposed a new understanding of the inter-relation between vulnerability and resistance (Butler 2016). In showing their own precarity, vulnerable bodies in fact are also resisting the very (social, economic, etc) powers they are acted on, thus enacting “a form of resistance that presupposes vulnerability of a specific kind”.  This concept leads to the notion of resilience as the capacity to reverse any impact or undoing as a way to preserve the integrity of a society, system or self. (Bracke 2016)
Drawing on Butler’s ideas of vulnerability, this special issue proposes to investigate the centrality of mechanisms of resistance and resilience in gendered bodies in transit in contemporary global Anglophone literatures and cultures. Considering vulnerability not as a limit but as a potentially enabling condition, the issue wishes to tackle the exploration of individual and collective responses to traumas and marginalization through the comparative analysis of cultural and literary forms. We invite contributions that, addressing literary and cultural representations of historical, as well as racial, medical, and neo-liberal violence, investigate the ways in which the gendered body in transit responds to traumatic experiences and articulates forms of agency leading to the construction of new forms of subjectivity and community. We also encourage articles that tackle the complexity of the processes of regeneration and healing, opening the debate on issues of subversion and resilience of marginalised gender identities in their intersection with race and class.

Contributions are invited from any sub-discipline in the humanities and social sciences and might include, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • contemporary representations of ‘vulnerable’ bodies in contemporary culture

  • representations of traumatic gender identities in contemporary culture

  • gender violence (including but not limited to obstetrical violence, medicalisation, human trafficking, slavery and neo-slavery, etc) in literary and visual representations

  • subversion and resilience of marginalized gender identities

  • public discourses of trauma and healing in approaching bodies and identities in transit

  • responses to gender violence, exploitation and discrimination in architecture, monuments, memorials, photography, visual arts, sculpture, rituals (commemoration), popular culture (internet, social media) and video-games

  • possibilities of regeneration and healing through the construction f subjectivities and community

  • forms of transnational solidarity emerging from vulnerability and marginalization

Please send a  250-300 word abstract before 31 July 2017 to Maria Isabel Romero Ruiz at mirr@uma.es, and to Manuela Coppola at manu_coppola@yahoo.it.
Contributors are expected to submit articles of 6000-7000 words by 31 December 2017. For the journal style guide please consult:


Contact Info: 

Maria Isabel Romero Ruiz, University of Malaga, mirr@uma.es

Manuela Coppola, independent scholar, manu_coppola@yahoo.it

Contact Email: