Call for Papers for a Special Edition of African Studies
Feminism and Contemporary Culture in South Africa?
Post-apartheid South Africa is marked by its rapidly shifting cultural geographies where the position of women illuminates critical issues about how the political and social structure negotiates its contradictions and safe spaces. The idea of being simultaneously seen and unseen, included and excluded, is familiar to studies on race and gender. While South Africa has the largest percentage of women in parliament in the world, it also has the highest levels of rape. How do we make sense of these contradictory indicators? The TRC brought issues surrounding women’s abuse into the open but the transcripts of its closed sessions on women’s abuse were inadvertently posted onto the internet, exposing victims to public scrutiny and assessment. Previously, sexual assault was used by apartheid forces as a means of subjugation. Gender abuse within liberation movements also occurred with these narratives only emerging more recently. How has South Africa synthesized these experiences? Historically, huge differences have shaped the lives of South African women from different racial backgrounds. How has this shifted in post-Apartheid South Africa? What are the issues surrounding gender in South Africa in different sectors? With the Zuma trial pushing issues of women’s rights into the national spotlight, how women’s issues are recast and appropriated are important indicators of where discourse resides in the present. In a period where Feminism has become decidedly unfashionable in popular culture, what tools do we have to examine women in South African culture? Have feminist issues disappeared along with the popularity of the ideology? What position do women occupy in South African culture today?
Issues surrounding voice, victimhood, agency, subjectivity, power, gaze, silences, knowledge and nation have often been recast in African Feminist theory and need further exploration in South African today. Works dealing with the ambiguities and complexities of gender in South African culture are sought for a special edition of the interdisciplinary journal African Studies. Topics might include, but are not limited to:
The relationship between race, class, gender and/or sexuality in contemporary South African culture.
Representations of women or gender relations in South African literature.
Reconsidering Feminist theory in a post-Apartheid context.
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