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The Dutch Journal for Gender Studies: Special Issue: “‘Now What?’ New Feminist Materialisms (NFM)? Contemporary and Future Directions”

1 Novembre 2016

Call for papers The Dutch Journal for Gender Studies
(Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies)
Special Issue: “‘Now What?’ New Feminist Materialisms (NFM)? Contemporary and Future Directions”

Special issue editors: Dieuwke Boersma (independent artist & researcher,, Émilie Dionne (University of Ottawa,, Evelien Geerts (UC Santa Cruz,, Beatriz Revelles-Benavente (University of Barcelona,

Contemporary Western societies are changing at full speed and with full force, while being confronted with unique, localised – but ever so globalised, transnational and entangled – socio-political, cultural, economic, ethical, and ecological problems. These problems and issues have led to the creation of manifold, different and differing coping strategies, likewise in regard to forms and modes of academic, activist-political and artistic expression. Looking at the world today, we detect many ever-increasing intersections between public health crises, environmental catastrophes and present-day socio-economic modes of inequality; a world-wide (yet heterogeneous) domineering presence of neoliberalism, working in tandem with what Michel Foucault called “governmentality” (Foucault 1978), or a neoliberal capitalist mode of governing and doing politics that strictly dictates ways of life and death to its populations and employs a deceiving populist rhetoric and discourses of terror and anxiety to gain stricter state laws, more control, and more surveillance; a Fortress Europe (and ditto European politics) that is becoming more fortified and at the same time increasingly porous every day the global refugee crisis persists; and last but not least, the ever-elusiveness of ‘Nature’ that, in spite of centuries of scientific objectification and exploitation, still remains rather intangible, and “reveals itself” as an open dynamism; an indeterminacy in-the-making (see Barad 2007).

Faced with these foregoing and other complex problems, issues and questions, various contemporary feminist thinkers, such as for instance Judith Butler (2004a, 2004b, 2009), Rosi Braidotti (2006, 2013), Jasbir Puar (2007), Sara Ahmed (2010), Stacy Alaimo (2010), and Wendy Brown (2015), continuously expose how human societies are yet to find accountable, critical and proper ways to respond to the latter issues, as well as to our overall existence in this world and to life itself. Always politically charged, ethically committed and intellectually cautious, critical, and curious, feminist interactions with “naturecultures” (see e.g. Haraway 2003), the sciences, art and the arts, and ontology and epistemology, have productively engendered diffracted feminisms (Haraway 1997, Barad 2007), and in so doing, generating ontologically, epistemologically, ethically, and politically unsettling endeavours and new directions for feminist thought and activism, and beyond.

The challenges contemporary multi-cosmopolitan societies face today do not merely demonstrate a lack of capability and will to come up with complex answers to equally intricate multi-dimensional problems and situations, but in fact also expose the lively nature of these problems: So-called solutions – the ever-evolving, dynamic and transformative essence of these matters – are lively matters or “critters” (Haraway 1991). As feminist science studies scholar Donna Haraway has also suggested, critical thinkers perhaps should aim to “stay with the trouble” (Haraway 2008 and 2016), and cultivate affective receptivity – or desire – for trouble, and wallow in it. In addition to cultivating such a critical ‘troublesome’ attitude, the issues we are currently being confronted with, call for a work of reconfiguration with attention to ethics/morality and to life itself.

Although this work is an ongoing critical and creative process, the challenge has already been taken up and given life in various shapes and forms by a multitude of academics, artists, activists, scientists, poets and other social innovators and thinkers. The “‘Now What?’ New Feminist Materialisms” edition wishes to be an intersection, a temporal utopian moment, a crisscrossing of critical reflections, a contemplative dialogue, and an outcry, in which potential contributors can co-wonder and co-imagine where new feminist materialisms have taken us to so far, will take us to in the future, and to where new feminist materialisms explicitly do not want to travel. This special issue is thus interested in the contributions brought about by new material feminist thinkers, be it from those who are often regarded as the ‘founding motherly cyborgs,’ so to speak, of this turn of thought, such as, for example, Donna Haraway (1991, 1997, 2003, 2008, 2016), Rosi Braidotti (1991, 1994, 2002, 2006, 2013), Karen Barad (2003, 2007, 2010, 2012), and Isabelle Stengers (2000/1993, 2010/1997, 2011/1997, 2015/2009), and less canonical – or canonised – feminist thinkers, philosophers and activists, whose voices might all too often remain stuck in a reverberating “echo” (see Luce Irigaray 1991/1980), and whose struggles still need to be acknowledged and responded to.

New feminist materialism as an innovative strand of thought or philosophy encourages us to transversally and intra-actively rethink current models of ontology, epistemology, ethics, art, and politics. First coined by Braidotti as “neo-materialism” (see Braidotti 1991, 265 and Braidotti 2000, 160), the field of new materialism has grown substantially and received much scholarly attention over the past decade (see eds. Alaimo & Hekman, 2008; Bennett & Joyce, 2010; Coole & Frost, 2010; van der Tuin & Hinton, 2014). Poetically defined as “a new metaphysics” that “traverses and thereby rewrites thinking as a whole, leaving nothing untouched”, new (feminist) materialism brings something innovative and different to the theoretical table in ways that return to, traverse, and move through and beyond the old without exactly knowing a priori what the outcome of these critical-creative investigations will be (Dolphijn and van der Tuin 2012, 13). This special issue of the Dutch Journal for Gender Studies on new feminist materialism first of all hopes to reflect on how new feminist materialist inquiries came into being, how relevant they are/can be for our contemporary neoliberal globalised world today, and to which innovative directions these entangled strands of thought are heading towards. We therefore would like potential contributors to think about the following questions and issues:

Where is new feminist materialism now, as an (almost canonised?) strand of thought, in the second half of the 2010s, and how do its engagements differ from other contemporary feminist trends and feminist materialist engagements?

What are its current modes of engagement in relation to, in response to, and in intra-action with, the issues of global terrorism, war, the current refugee crises, environmental uncertainty and destruction, and human bodily precariousness and vulnerability?

What is – or could be – new feminist materialism’s transformatory ethico-political potential with regards to the former (and other) issues?

With this issue, we also wish to reflect upon the (existing or not-yet-existing) engagements of critical race studies, queer studies, postcolonial, decolonial, and trans* studies scholars and thinkers with the genealogy and current-day scholarship of new feminist materialism, and the geographical, historical, generational and contextual differences in the engagements of new feminist materialism. What are new feminist materialism’s responses, modes of engagement, conversations and heritages precisely?

Hence, for this issue, the Dutch Journal of Gender Studies invites academic articles, poetic musings and creative interventions for its “‘Now What?’ New Feminist Materialisms (NFM)? Contemporary and Future Directions” special issue. In addition to the aforementioned questions, possible topics of consideration include the following:

The spatio-temporal (transcontinental and transtemporal) trajectory of NFM, and NFM’s mixed Anglo-American and Continental origins;

NFM’s conceptual genesis, and its transformatory potential for the present and for the future;

The genealogies of and potential alliances between posthumanist thought & NFM;

Genealogies of feminism’s entanglement with ‘Nature’, the sciences and materialism, within (and beyond) ecofeminism, feminist standpoint theory and Marxist-materialist feminism and feminist science studies;

Queer, critical sexuality studies, critical disability studies interventions in new materialism, critical eco-materialism and new feminist materialism;

Critical race studies, intersectional, postcolonial, and decolonial interventions in and perspectives of new materialism, critical eco-materialism and new feminist materialism;

The importance of ethics and economy of care, ethics of corporality and vulnerability, and an ethico-politics of justice in neoliberal times.

If you would like to discuss your ideas for this issue, please contact the editors at

Abstracts (+/- 500 words, aside from references) are to be submitted via the same e-mail address before the 1st of November, 2016. Articles can be written in either English or Dutch, but English articles are preferred due to the international background of the guest editors. After the abstract has been accepted and approved, authors will have until the 15th of January 2017 to submit the full version of their article (max. 6000 words including references and bibliography). Final (refereed) versions will be due on the 1st of April, 2017.

Click here for our author guidelines in Dutch and English:


1 Novembre 2016
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