Call for Papers: Decoding Difference

Taryn Vaughn's picture
Call for Papers
Subject Fields: 
Women's & Gender History / Studies

'Decoding Difference'

Women's and Gender History Symposium 

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

8 March, 2019

The 19th annual Women's and Gender History Symposium at UIUC seeks graduate papers that confront the question of difference through a focus on the movement, action, regulation, representation, and surveillance of, and/or contestations over, the body. We are particularly interested in considering the ways that categories of gendered, sexual, and racial difference are constantly made and unmade in arenas of power, through struggles between socially advantaged and disadvantaged groups over representations and practices relating to the body. This is to take seriously the role of historically marginalized subjects--women, LGBTQ people, immigrants, indigenous people, people of color, and others--in rendering grammars of difference fluid and unstable through actions that undermine or expose normative fictions designed to legitimate logics of exclusionary violence. We welcome papers that approach these processes from the ground level, focusing on themes such as mobility, intimacy, cross-cultural encounters, and productive and reproductive labor.

Contact Info: 

Please submit your proposals (300-500 words in length) to the symposium co-chairs Taryn Vaughn and Stephen Vitale at by 8 February, 2019. Applicants will be notified by 15 February about whether their paper has been accepted. Please be prepared to submit the full version of your paper approximately seven days before the conference. This year, we will be offering a prize for the best paper.

Accepted papers will be grouped for presentation, and participants will engage in critical and productive discussions with fellow graduate students, as well as with faculty from UIUC, including Antoinette Burton and Ikuko Asaka. This is a graduate student-run conference committed to providing opportunities for professional development. Therefore, we will also host a career diversity panel featuring scholars with degrees in women's and gender history who have pursued careers outside of the professoriate. 

For information and updates on this year's symposium, please visit our website at