Screening Non-Binary Bodies

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Call for Publications
January 20, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Women's & Gender History / Studies, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Film and Film History, Popular Culture Studies, Journalism and Media Studies

Screen Bodies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Experience, Perception, and Display

"Screening Non-Binary Bodies": A call for a Screen Bodies special issue on gender non-conforming bodies in visual media.

Guest editor: Wibke Straube, Centre for Gender Studies, Karlstad University, Sweden.

The special issue “Screening Non-Binary Bodies” is eager to explore screen representations and effects of gender non-conforming bodies in films, documentaries, video installations, performance art, Vlogs, TV, and other audio/visual media.

Considering the role of visual culture in establishing identity and media’s interplay with selfrecognition and cultural representation, this issue will be devoted to a reflexive and intersectional discussion of visual politics and affects of non-binary bodies. When actor Asia Kate Dillon starring as Taylor Mason in the TV series Billions stated their non-binary pronoun preference as “they/them/their” it meant a revolution for non-binary people and their materialisation in media discourses. For the first time the western world encountered a character in a large production who rejected conventional binary gender positions and advocated non-binary pronouns.

Devoted to non-binary screen formations, this issue will include a broad discussion on gender non-conforming positions. Non-binary can function here similar to the term “trans-” (Stryker/Currah/Moore 2008) as a processual term instead of as a static descriptor. Additionally, the issue strongly welcomes non-western positions of gender non-conformity.

Furthermore, this issue not only addresses screen representations but also screen politics and ethics including casting, production context, distribution, and reception. For instance, regarding the politics of casting, a first milestone for trans representation was reached when Scarlett Johansson backed out of her casting agreement to play a trans character in a major production. To say the least, the absence of gender non-conforming, non-binary and/or trans actors in successful media productions is as much a problem as the continued often stereotypical representations of gender non-conforming characters. Yet, video, performance, and installations enable often a much more politicised, self-defined, and self-situated rendering of the gender non-conforming body. Different genres of visual media require detailed and specific analysis and this issue aims to represent at least a small part of the wide range of how the question of non-binary bodies on and beyond—behind, in front of, and under the influence of—screens can be approached.

The special issue invites papers which focus on non-binary, queer and decolonial trans discussions on screen politics and ethics in relation to a variety of audio/visual media, such as visual art, video, Vlogs, video games, TV, film, as well as production, casting, and reception politics, and more. Submissions that discuss the representations and effects of gender non-conforming and nonbinary bodies through an ontologically intersectional framework are particularly welcome.

Screen Bodies is a peer-reviewed journal focusing on the intersection of Screen Studies and Body Studies across disciplines, institutions, and media. It is a forum promoting research on various aspects of embodiment on and in front of screens through articles, reviews, and interviews.

Abstracts (max. 500 words) and bios (max. 200 words) for full essays (5000 - 6000 words) should be sent to Wibke Straube: by January 20, 2019. Notifications regarding the abstracts can be expected February 10th, 2019. Full articles need to be submitted April 27th, 2019.


Contact Info: 

Wibke Straube

Centre for Gender Studies

Karlstad University, Sweden

Contact Email: