Sexing Empire

CFP for a special issue of Radical History Review #123

Abstract Deadline: 1 February 2014

Abstracts (300 words)  to be submitted electronically as an attachment to with “Issue 123 submission” in the subject line.

Full paper deadline: 1 July 2014
From the CFP:

This special issue will contemplate empire as a global process involving sexualized subjects and objects. Contributions from across several disciplines will reconsider the history of sex and (or in) empire, critically engaging scholars’ recounting of those pasts in recent decades. From steam ships to steam rooms and sweat lodges to sweat shops, processes of pleasures and desire shaped the regulation and classification of bodies. On beaches, in boardrooms, from temples to taverns, sexual practices have always shaped imperial power relations. And in the many places and relationships where colonialism still shapes economics (slavery, debt peonage, underemployment, and their legacies), sex and sexuality remain a driving—if sometimes compounding or hidden—force in power relations.

A feminist point of departure for investigation of these processes as both economic and cultural, Anne McClintock’s 1995 Imperial Leather argued that there are three key areas to which scholars of empire should attend: “intimate relations between imperial power and resistance; money and sexuality; race and gender” (5). Nearly two decades later, Nayan Shah’s work in Stranger Intimacy on mass migration, male intimacy, and state desires for gendered order tracks “struggles over companionship, domesticity, and public life” as these pertained to contested notions of legitimacy in tenancy, property-holding, work, citizenship, and the tenure of capital (3). Shah demonstrates how economic empires in North America were built and brokered through “strange” ethnic and gendered intimacies; how these very intimacies were treated as threats to race and sex hierarchies deemed essential to national viability; how money and sexuality determined individual and collective fates; and how intimate practices blurred the distinctions between imperial subjects and imperial subjection.

Given the direction historical scholarship has taken at the crossroads of sexuality and empire—and given the broad historiographical space between Anne McClintock and Nayan Shah—what kind of questions is it now possible to ask? How do we speak across disciplinary, regional, temporal, national, methodological boundaries? Can we determine a “state of the field” in histories of empire and sexuality—and how might such a determination help us reassess local, regional, national, and transnational phenomena?

We seek innovative case studies that answer these questions from a variety of disciplinary, periodic, regional, national, and transnational perspectives. Themes we wish to consider include (but are not limited to) the following:

· Colonial imaginaries, representations, voyeurism/surveillance, and fantasies of sex and race

· Diasporic convergences and continuities in sexuality, sexual identity, religion, and gender (Southeast Asian, African, Armenian, Indigenous/First Nations, Middle Eastern, Jewish, Latino/a, etc.)

· Queer formations, communities, migration, and diasporas

· Sex and economic exchange or sexuality grounded in material realities

· The violence and pleasure of racialized erotics

· Pleasure, play, and the erotics of domestic space and communal space

· Enslaved sexualities and kinships

· Carceral spaces and the erotics of punishment and violence

· Empire producing ecstasies, erotics and the religious

· The erotics of tourism and travel

· Sexual publics and counter-publics in the Americas

· Pornographies of Empire

· Cultural Productions and Media representations of sexualized empire

· Colonial regimes of sexual hygiene and health policy

special issue editors:
Ben Cowan, George Mason University
Nicole M. Guidotti-Hernández, The University of Texas at Austin
Jason Ruiz, University of Notre Dame

Procedures for submission of articles: At this time we are requesting abstracts that are no longer than 300 words; these are due by February 1, 2014 and should be submitted electronically as an attachment to with “Issue 123 submission” in the subject line. By March 15, 2014, authors will be notified whether they should submit a full version of their article to undergo the peer review process. The due date for completed drafts of articles is July 1, 2014. An invitation to submit a full article does not guarantee publication; publication depends on the peer review process and the overall shape the journal issue will take.

Those articles selected for publication after the peer review process will be included in issue 123 of Radical History Review, scheduled to appear in Fall/Winter of 2015.

For preliminary e-mail inquiries, please include “Issue 123” in the subject line.

Above adapted from emailed CFP. See full CFP here.