SPECIAL ISSUE OF GENDER AND HISTORY
TITLE: VISUAL GENDERS
What can a serious engagement with visuality bring to the study of gender histories? Submissions are invited for a Special Issue of the journal that will focus on visual genders. Aside from a body of feminist scholarship in film and art history, research has treated gender studies and visual studies largely in isolation from one another. Given Gender and History’s record of exploring new pathways into gendered pasts, this attention to the visual provides the opportunity for a new and critical historical turn.
In certain quarters, placing pictures at the center of historical enquiry has the effect of unsettling the gender asymmetries in the archive. The implicit hierarchies of documentary text, oral source and photograph for example are brought into question, because it is often the case that women are seen but not heard. This belies the common assertion of their ‘invisibility’, and raises crucial issues about the agendas of visibility of those who produced the images.
Visual theorists and others have pointed to the western tendency to privilege vision over the other human senses. Special Issue editors are therefore interested in papers that interrogate the cultural primacy of the visual, its potential Eurocentrisms and gender configurations in colonial and other settings. Equally, what happens when the means of representation come under the control of those who were formerly the object of the gaze? Editors encourage submissions that study the making of new visual cultures and economies – with women or marginalised men central to the process.
The visual construction of femininities and masculinities; how visual culture both reflects and produces ideologies of gender; the unearthing of neglected artists, photographers, filmmakers: such themes are pertinent to the Special Issue and the methodological challenges of attending to the visual.
Finally, editors encourage papers that explore the ways gender might be deployed to generate new understandings of the workings of visuality. This is in a context where surveillance and ‘the gaze’ are frequently represented in visual theory as part of an almost unshakable formula of perceptual mastery and control. This ignores the gendered and even unconscious relation between observer and observed, subject and object, knower and known. It calls for a repositioning of visual studies in relation to gender: a new interdisciplinary cluster that will, it is hoped, lead to fresh research and political insights.
The Guest Editor for this Special Issue is Patricia Hayes (University of the Western Cape). A parallel workshop on Gender and Visuality is planned for 26-29 August 2004 in Cape Town (contact firstname.lastname@example.org). Please send abstracts only, by 31 July 2004, to Gender & History (email@example.com or Gender & History, IRWG, 1136 Lane Hall, 204 S. State Street, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1290, USA).
Gender & History
Institute for Research on Women and Gender
1136 Lane Hall
204 State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1290
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