About the event

As a partner of Women Studies Quarterly (WSQ), the Center for the Humanities is excited to share this call for papers for a special WSQ issue Body Matters which will be co-edited by Andie Silva (York College and the CUNY Graduate Center) and Shereen Inayatulla (York College), in collaboration with WSQ's publisher The Feminist Press and fellow partner The Center for the Study of Women and Society at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Priority Deadline: September 2, 2024

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s poem, “Femme Futures” begins with an open-ended invitation: “Where does the future live in your body?”

This special issue takes this question as the starting point to consider the ways in which the physical body (re)defines feminist scholarship, art, and activism in light of environmental, political, and global emergencies and transformations taking hold at the present moment.

The body can serve as boundary, as mediator, as connector. Yet, as Donna Haraway observes in “Cyborg Manifesto,” the future of the body need not be constrained to dualities, and indeed “a cyborg world might be about lived social and bodily realities in which people are not afraid of their joint kinship with animals and machines, not afraid of permanently partial identities and contradictory standpoints” (43). This special issue therefore invites explorations of the many ways the body interacts with, responds to, and is informed by our material living conditions.

Our bodies determine how we navigate the world, how we engage with and perceive ourselves and others. Within the current paradigm of colonial exploitation, our bodies are sites of scrutiny, violence, commodification, racialization, policing, displacement, and strategic dehumanization. Bodies and labor are inextricably linked: physical abuses of laborers, overwork, perilous working conditions, and the absence of protections/support for pregnant and child-supporting individuals (to identify merely a few) are manifestations of this linkage. As we confront the ways in which the media and governing regulations predetermine which bodies are allowed subjectivity and which will be objectified or reduced to data points, a renewed feminist critique of the politics of bodies and personhood feels particularly urgent.

This special issue aims to explore the body marked by “intersectional” (Crenshaw) identities as a site of social and political violence but also as the vehicle for resistance, triumph, and “decolonial” (Tuck and Yang) justice. Herein lies an opportunity to reflect upon the demand Angela Davis puts forward in “Racism, Birth Control, and Reproductive Rights”: “what is urgently required is a broad campaign to defend the reproductive rights of all women — and especially those women whose economic circumstances often compel them to relinquish the right to reproduction itself” (356). With this CFP, we invite contributors to annex this demand and imagine what kinds of futures are possible when we center our advocacy around the rights of Black and Indigenous trans, nonbinary, disabled, queer, working poor, displaced, incarcerated, migrant individuals/communities and follow the guidance and leadership of The Global Majority.

Submissions might attend to questions such as: what does it mean to place physical bodies and embodiment at the center of feminist labor? What politics are at play when the body is seen, defined, counted, policed, touched, or modified? How is discourse/activism made more urgent when we place the focus on the bodies at work? What kinds of meaningful paths forward may be forged by thinking of human bodies in connection to/as extensions of flora and fauna? How do marginalized bodies survive/thrive beyond the strictures of late stage capitalism? What strategies aid us in exposing/dismantling the very neoliberal discourses that mark our bodies as Other via race, gender, ability, class, location, and citizenship?

Topics may include but are not limited to:

WSQ accepts submissions in all printable media, including academic articles, memoir, manifesto, literary fiction or other prose, poetry, and visual art. Especially encouraged to submit are scholars, artists, creative writers, and activists who themselves experience various forms of marginalization within nation states in the Global North and Global South.


Deadline: September 2, 2024

Scholarly articles should be submitted to WSQ.submittable.com. Send complete articles, not abstracts. Remove all identifying authorial information from the file uploaded to Submittable. Scholarly submissions must not exceed 6,000 words (including un-embedded notes and works cited) and must comply with formatting guidelines at feministpress.org/submission-guidelines.

Artistic works (whose content relates clearly to the issue theme) such as creative prose (fiction, essay, memoir, and translation submissions between 2,000 and 2,500 words), poetry (3 poems maximum per submitter), and other forms of visual or documentation of performative artistry should be submitted to WSQ.submittable.com. Note that creative submissions may be held for six months or longer. We do not accept work that has been previously published. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable if the editors are notified immediately of acceptance elsewhere. For visual submissions please note that WSQ can only print in black and white. Visual artists are also asked to submit a document containing captions for all works (including title, date, and materials), an artist’s statement and a short bio, each 100 words or less. For questions, email the guest issue editors at [email protected].

All submitters: please note that if your submission contains images (including images embedded into a larger article or essay) please include them as separate attachments of 300dpi or more. Please also include a short bio and current email address [all submitters, directly onto the Submittable form, not as an attachment] as well as an artist’s statement and image caption [visual artists] or an abstract and keywords [academic submissions].


Since 1972, WSQ has been an interdisciplinary forum for the exchange of emerging perspectives on women, gender, and sexuality. Its peer-reviewed interdisciplinary thematic issues focus on topics such as Black Love, Solidão, Asian Diasporas, Protest, Beauty, Precarious Work, At Sea, Solidarity, Queer Methods, Activisms, The Global and the Intimate, Trans-, The Sexual Body, and Mother, combining legal, queer, cultural, technological, and historical work to present the most exciting new scholarship, fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, book reviews, and visual arts on ideas that engage popular and academic readers alike. WSQ is edited by Shereen Inayatulla (York College, CUNY) and Andie Silva (York College and the Graduate Center, CUNY), and published by the Feminist Press at the City University of New York. Visit feministpress.org/wsq and womensstudiesquarterly.com.