CFP: Feminist Ghosts: The New Cultural Life of Feminism

CFP: Diffractions: Graduate Journal for the Study of Culture
Issue 6 | Feminist Ghosts: The New Cultural Life of Feminism

Deadline for articles: November 30

Over the last two decades, feminist scholarship has consistently drawn
attention to the “post-feminist sensibility” (Gill, 2007) overtaking
cultural imagination, wherein feminism is only alluded to “in order that in
can be understood as having passed away” (McRobbie, 2011). Deemed
responsible for disavowing feminist politics and for encouraging a
disidentification with feminist struggles on the part of (younger) women,
this postfeminist turn shifted attention to individual success, financial
satisfaction and heterosexual realization, ousting the plurality of feminist

Recently, however, feminism seems to have reentered the sphere of public
awareness, both in political discourse and popular culture. As McRobbie put
it, “in endless conjuring up a demon that must be extinguished (in this
case feminism), that demon demonstrates something of its lingering
alfterlife and its ghostly power” (2011: 183). Phenomena such as Beyoncé’s
appropriation of Chimamanda Adichie’s talk “We Should All be Feminists”;
Emma Watson’s speech at the UN Women HeforShe campaign launch, in which she urged men to stand up for women’s rights; several Hollywood actresses coming forward to denounce the gender pay gap and other inequalities in the film business; Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg’s bestseller Lean In on the
work-family balance; the controversial success of Lena Dunham’s Girls on HBO, among many other instances, have not only contributed to a renewed visibility of feminism in social life, but also to bring forth the new contradictions and challenges (radical) feminism is facing today.

Within this framework, some authors propose to rethink postfeminism as one
word “for a productive irritation that helps keep feminist discourse alive
in contemporary popular culture” (Driscoll, 2015). Others, however, argue
that this reappearance of feminism in contemporary cultural life is
concomitant with “an amplification of control of women” (McRobbie, 2015),
in line with Catherine Rottberg’s diagnosis of a “rise of neoliberal
feminism” (2013), where classical feminist foundations, such as gender
equality and emancipation, are made compatible with neoliberal ideas of
competition, leadership, profit, and accomplishment, while other feminist
claims and geographies are marginalized and denied visibility. Moreover,
the very history of feminist thought is being rewritten along these lines,
and “hijacked” (to borrow Rottberg’s expression) by new interpretations
unaware of the plurality of feminist subjects and devoid of concerns with
social justice.

At a time when a new visibility of feminist imagination seems to be making
“old” struggles relevant again, but also to coexist or even to contribute
to new forms of capture and exclusion, how can cultural change be
envisioned and what kind of practices can bring it into existence?

This issue aims to reflect on the new cultural life of feminism through
topics that may include but are not restricted to the following:

  • The representation of women and feminism in the media and the arts
  • Feminism and popular culture
  • Feminism, capitalism and neoliberalism
  • Feminism and social media
  • The history of feminist thought and the subject(s) of feminism
  • Feminist knowledge politics
  • Transnational feminisms and feminist geographies
  • Intersectionality, collectivity and solidarity
  • Feminism and sexuality (sex tourism; sexual trafficking; gendered
  • violence)
  • Feminist pedagogies
  • Activism, political participation and performativity
  • The body politic.

We look forward to receiving full articles of no more than 7000 words (not
including bibliography) by November 30, 2015 at the following address:

Diffractions welcomes articles written in English, Portuguese and Spanish.

Please follow the journal’s house style and submission guidelines at

Diffractions also accepts book reviews that may not be related to the
issue’s topic. If you wish to write a book review, please contact us at

About Diffractions

DIFFRACTIONS is an online, peer reviewed and open access graduate journal
for the study of culture, published bi-annually under the editorial
direction of graduate students in the doctoral program in Culture Studies
at the Lisbon Consortium - Universidade Católica Portuguesa.

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