CfP: Denaturalizing Europe: Queer Studies and Affinities on European Peripheries (Edited Volume); by: 31.08.2022

Maria Mayerchyk and Olga Plakhotnik, Univ. Greifswald; Simone Pfleger and Carrie Smith, Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies/Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Univ. of Alberta (Web)

Proposals by: 31.08.2022

In the 2005 special double issue of Social Text, editors Jack Halberstam, José Esteban Muñoz, and David Eng pursue the question, „What’s Queer about Queer Studies Now?“ Aside from unsettling notions of „proper“ subjects, the many essays also critically question „proper“ disciplinary subject matter by articulating the value of queerness as a refusal of fixity. As Eng puts it: queerness is particularly productive because it „can neither be decided on in advance nor be depended on in the future“ (Eng 2005, 3).

15 years later, Social Text reaffirms this productive indeterminacy in a further special issue, „Left of Queer.“ Revisiting queer (studies) and its utility as a political referent as well as a disciplinary marker, Eng and Jasbir Puar take another close look at the question of what is queer. They ponder if there is still queerness in queer studies in order to interrogate „not only the formative exclusions of queer studies but also the contingent material conditions through which ‚proper‘ queer subjects and identities emerge in our contemporary landscape“ (Eng and Puar 2020, 2). This particular approach foregrounds the importance of taking a hard look at the perpetuation of disciplinary hierarchies and academic knowledge production as well as the destabilization of those identitarian regimes that champion a singular notion of what constitutes coherent and valuable subjecthood—be it normative or queer. Eng and Puar propose that dialogue with other fields such as Indigenous, disability, and trans* studies and their unique debates and investments in materiality and geopolitical locality animate and expand current conversations in queer studies.

Inspired by precisely this long-standing call to turn toward those fields and theoretical debates that question hegemonic modes of recognition, legibility, and resistance in the political sphere in North America—or more specifically the U.S.—this edited volume seeks to examine epistemic frameworks of subjectivity and intelligibility within the context of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). The world has witnessed a rapid neo-conservative turn in the realm of LGBTQIA+ politics and women’s rights in a number of CEE states, most dangerously manifested in Hungary, Poland, and Russia, but also in Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, and some Baltic countries. The ultra-conservative mobilization against gender politics and sexual democracy has reconfigured the entire political climate in Europe . At the same time, the transnational debates on neoliberalization of queer and feminist politics and inclusion of them in right-wing programs pose a new challenge to queer theorizing and praxis. The phenomena revealed through the analytics of homonationalism are increasingly presenting themselves in the European context and require urgent scholarly attention.

Finally, transphobic rearticulations of feminism (TERF) and the emergence of new forms of nationalist feminisms in Europe compel us to revise the dominant idea of progress and emancipation and develop new explanatory and anticipatory queer knowledge. The full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has brought new multiple layers of gender- and race-based violence and barriers to mobility to the region, not to mention upended lives already made increasingly precarious by the pandemic. As the war is unfolding its devastating repercussions, it has exacerbated the challenges faced in queer-feminist organizing, scholarship, and community initiatives. The new modes of politically meaningful alliances, affinities, and solidarities have to be imagined and embodied yet in wartime.

The goals of the volume are to place queer theory in dialogue with other disciplinary frameworks to generate a more complex account of how norms and privileges are produced through certain bodies‘ pathologization and dehumanization; how biopolitics towards some lives comes at the price of necropolitics for others, disposable and ungrievable. Further, the editors wish to decentre queer theorizing from the North American hegemonic model to critically exposed multiple hierarchies between the global North and CEE.

The editors invite contributions to examine the following questions:

  • How does a critical race theory, ethnic, crip, trans*, post-human, and decolonial framework offer a more nuanced queer-feminist perspective to interrogate epistemic frameworks of subjectivity and intelligibility within the context of Central and Eastern Europe?
  • How and what kinds of bodies come to matter when looking at different localities and the manner in which racialized capitalism, neoliberal ideologies, and (historical) processes of socio-cultural knowledge production on gender and sexuality inform contemporary politics?
  • What modes of being and doing/undoing reveal instances of dehumanization and schemata of colonial racist capitalist power?
  • How can we rethink knowledge (production) and policies aimed at making the most vulnerable lives matter and liveable?
  • How do anti-capitalist, trans*, decolonial, and queer feminist critiques facilitate the emergence of solidarities and affinities among strands of thought as well as concrete bodies for the reimagination of alternative futures?

Please submit 350-word abstracts and short biographies to the volume editors Maria Mayerchyk (, Simone Pfleger (, Olga Plakhotnik (, and Carrie Smith ( by August 31, 2022.

The editors are currently working with a university press in Canada.

Additionally, the editors will host a virtual workshop on February 9–10, 2023 to provide authors with the opportunity to engage more deeply with some of the theoretical concepts that inform notions of dehumanization, hetero- and homonormativity, and subject formation informed by hegemonic, neoliberal, Western understandings of „properly“ legible identities in the context of CEE and to receive feedback on their essays. All contributors should be prepared to participate in the workshop.


  • Eng, David L., Judith Halberstam, and José Esteban Muñoz. „What’s Queer about Queer Studies Now?“ Social Text 23, no. 3–4 (2005): 1–17.
  • Eng, David L., and Jasbir K. Puar. „Left of Queer.“ Social Text 38, no. 4 (2020): 1–23.

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