CfP: State/Power (Women’s Studies Quarterly – WSQ); by: 01.03.2022

Women’s Studies Quarterly – WSQ (Web); Guest Editors: Christina B. Hanhardt, Univ. of Maryland and Dayo F. Gore, Georgetown Univ.

Proposals by: 01.03.2022

In 2020 the Movement for Black Lives, drawing on what they describe as an “ecosystem of over 170 organizations,” relaunched its 2016 Vision for Black Lives platform to build “political will and power.” Two features of the platform are particularly notable: first, that an intersectional analysis remains at the center of all of their demands; and second, that “the state” is theorized as a source of punishment that activists reject and as a set of resources that activists might make claims upon. The strategies they propose thus highlighted “the state” as a key site in the struggle for power as they also recognize it as not just one thing, but as a hybrid set of relations that might be responded to on local, national, transnational, and global scales. The question of how to define and engage the state and its various levers of power has long been an issue of debate among activists and scholars around the globe. This special issue welcomes discussion of how social movements have theorized, organized, and otherwise strategized around state formations, with a focus on the U.S. and an understanding that state power and strategies of resistance are not limited by national borders.

In the U.S. the vexed and interconnected systems of benefits, discipline, and violence at the heart of the welfare, warfare, bureaucratic, surveillance, and carceral state have posed particular challenges to those seeking to make visible uneven and exploitative structures of power. And contrary to the heralded death of the state in the face of the rising power of global institutions and multinational corporations, “the state” continues to be a significant site of theorizing and political struggle in many geographic contexts. Furthermore, as activists have shown, calls to dismantle or reimagine state structures are complicated by the exigencies of accountability and resource sharing and of reconceiving the relationship between nations, states, land, and territory.

The question of how to theorize power and the state is a central concern of the field of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, and the long history of privatization woven into or authorized by state governance has been fundamental to shaping the form of social movements addressing work, sexuality, political power, kinship, care, and much more. These issues have become particularly salient in recent years as activists have adopted various strategies in … read more (Web).