CfP Special issue: Gendering Memory

Special issue: Gendering Memory

Editors: Andrea Petö and Ann Phoenix

Deadline: 19 August 2018

Memory has become a buzzword in the study of the past and memory analysis is increasingly common. Yet, new forms of political radicalization foreground memory politics in ways that are producing multi-faceted exclusions, intolerance and erasure as well as the exclusion of challenging memories from minoritised ethnic groups. At the same time, memory politics also produce new solidarities. Some anniversaries that commemorate historical events force issues previously submerged into public view. For example, the 2017 Danish commemoration of the centenary of their sale of the Danish West Indies to the US (now the US Virgin Isles) raises questions about the meanings of loss of, or emancipation from, empire for colonisers and those colonised. The notion that repression of such memories have longlasting and damaging cultural consequences is increasingly the subject of academic theorising. This is exemplified by Paul Gilroy’s (2005) notion that failure to engage with the lessons of the colonial period produces ‘postcolonial melancholia’ (c.f. Goswami, 2013), which, as Jane Flax (2010) suggests results because burying the past does not obliterate the dead, who return to haunt us.

The ways in which what is learned from history changes over time is particularly pertinent as the adoption of memory cultures foreground notions of recovering denied historical truths (Aleida Assmann, 2011). Resonances of historical power relations are, of course, intersectional. Gender, race, social class, sexuality and nation, for example, are all central to understandings of history and in social, cultural and political practices that produce canonical versions of the past. This special issue seeks to bring together feminist and queer critiques that analyse the ways in which gender and all other social categories are mutually constitued in their intersections, as well as new studies of gendering memory. The special issue will be broad in scope and we welcome contributions from diverse regions both in and outside Europe, as well as multiple approaches and perspectives. The following are indicative of the issues that may be represented in the special issue.

Theoretical and Methodological Challenges: Papers addressing the broad theme of the special issue are likely to focus on the ways in which racist, ethnicist, supremacist discourses are shaped by regimes of gender and sexuality and/or what we might we learn about the gendering of memory when we move beyond the gendered and racialized dichotomy of “remembered” and “remembering”. They could also focus on how (written, oral or visual) testimonies as well as other artistic, literary, and popular memory works contribute to making visible and unsettling gendered and (hetero)sexualized memory. What new concepts or theoretical frameworks (e.g. queer, postcolonial, critical race studies, comparative genocide studies) are promising for feminist analyses of memory studies? How can the national be analysed as a site of memory? How is the burgeoning of future studies and memory studies linked? How do feminist scholars link different memory and memorialization processes?

Sources and Silences: This theme will focus on the issue of where we can find women’s and LGBTQ experiences and perspectives on sources, archives, narratives, histories and other representations to be found. The issue of where absences and silences are located (cf. Michel-Rolph Trouillot, 2000) is central here. Equally, given the importance of the digital in contemporary life, new ways of mediating the archivization of gendered memories sometimes make present issues that have previously been silenced.

Testimony and (Post)Memory: Papers addressing this issue might include discussion of the ways in which feminist and queer theories complicate such key concepts as “archive” (or “counter-archive”), “witnessing” and “testimony”. Analysis of the question of “postmemory” (cf. Marianne Hirsch, 2012) is relevant here. Papers might consider how useful the concept is for understanding of the ways in which memory works across time and space and what kinds of challenges feminist and queer (re)theorizing of memory and postmemory pose for feminist studies. A key issue in this theme concerns the place of trauma in the intersectional gendering of memories and papers concerned with this theme will help to illuminate the analytic purchase afforded by the notion of ‘postcolonial melancholia’.

Politics of Memory: Contested memories of the past can, and do, arise from and create divisions within and between different collectivities. We welcome papers that address the memorializing and gendering of genocides through monuments, museums, digital archives, and other memory sites. What current initiatives deal with or mobilize gendered memories in ways that contribute to or challenge hegemonic frameworks of history? As Memory Studies have burgeoned in the academy, consideration of the politics of memory raises the issue of the interrelationship between the dynamic field of Memory Studies and activist engagement. What kind of impact have feminist and queer theories had on Critical Memory Studies? Related to this, the issue of the populist challenge to Memory Studies and how it is received requires analytic attention. Given that the politics of memory occur in particular places and within and across state borders, we would also welcome papers that address how polypore or illiberal states use the politics of memory to set up systems of “mnemonic security” (cf. Maria Malksoo, 2014). Papers concerned with the politics of memory might consider how memories are denied or confirmed in new forms of exclusion and intolerance in the new Europe and/or how gendered ‘lessons from history’ have shifted over time in particular places for particular collectivities?

Education/Pedagogy: Memory is increasingly moving beyond history curricula as it is institutionalized in school curricula, museums, and other pedagogical sites, as indicated by the increasing observance of Holocaust Memorial days, Black History Month etc. What are the political possibilities and challenges posed for intersectional gender by the institutionalization of memories? Papers addressing this theme are likely to consider the extent to which feminist and queer interventions in Memory Studies have been incorporated into history education and gender studies curricula.

Personalising/Collectivising memories: Narratives of history are central to linking personal and collective memories and producing a contemporary sense of the past that anticipates particular futures. This theme will consider how the memories of particular groups and generations are represented in European history in multicultural Europe and how the relationship between collective and ‘personal’ memories are gendered. What, and whose, narratives and counter-narratives of past, present and future are gaining ground?

All articles will be subject to the usual review process. Articles should be prepared according to the guidelines for submission on the inside back cover of the journal or at


Please contact if you wish to discuss potential ideas for an article. Articles should be submitted online to by 19 August 2018 Informal queries to Hazel Johnstone, managing editor of EJWS [Email:].


Assmann, A. (2011). Cultural memory and Western civilization: Functions, media, archives. Cambridge University Press.

Flax, J. (2010). Resonances of Slavery in Race/Gender Relations: Shadow at the Heart of American Politics. Springer.

Gilroy, P. (2005). Postcolonial melancholia. Columbia University Press.

Goswami, N. (2013). ‘The (M) other of All Posts: Postcolonial Melancholia in the Age of Global Warming’. Critical Philosophy of Race, 1(1), 104-120.

Hirsch, M. (2012). The generation of postmemory: writing and visual culture after the Holocaust. Columbia University Press.

Mälksoo, M. (2014). Criminalizing communism: Transnational mnemopolitics in Europe. International Political Sociology, 8(1), 82-99.

Trouillot, M. R. (2000). Abortive rituals: Historical apologies in the global era. Interventions, 2(2), 171-186.

By |2018-02-10T21:57:01+00:00February 10th, 2018|Call for Articles, Memory, Memory and Discourse, Memory and Politics, New Research|Comments Off on CfP Special issue: Gendering Memory