Call for papers for a Special Issue of Women & Performance

Texting Girls: Images, Sounds, and Words in Neoliberal Cultures of Femininity

Issue Guest Editor: Kimberly Lamm

Submission Deadline: June 1, 2014

Women and Performance invites submissions for a special issue, titled “Texting Girls: Images, Words, and Sounds in Neoliberal Cultures of Femininity.” This issue seeks to analyze how the figure of “the girl,” and the forms of femininity with which she has been traditionally associated, has reappeared in this current period of neoliberal transformation. We welcome papers attentive to how representations of girls figure into the contradictions of neoliberalism. On the one hand, “girl power” commodities that solicit girls to make themselves visible and audible within the grammars of neoliberal enterprise have proven that girls (and their proto-feminist sensibilities) are a highly profitable consumer market. On the other hand, girls are also imagined to possess a sexual integrity and affective spontaneity that resist capitalism’s encroachment. Either way, girls seem to be flattened to conflate with neoliberalism; they emblematize the hope for a productive future that encourages capitalist speculation; they also figure for anxieties about the compromises entailed by capitalism unbound. These flat and contradictory formulations are played out quite explicitly in global development and corporate responsibility campaigns, which position girls as either triumphant and idealized citizen-subjects who embody the neoliberal dream of self-sufficiency, or “girl spectacles” of poverty, suffering, and risk in need of protection, their reproductive capacities exploited and unchecked. This nexus of issues points to the ongoing need for analyses of how girls have been central to the production of neoliberalism as a highly gendered project.

“Texting Girls” posits that, in contradistinction to neoliberalism’s reliance upon traditional gendered scripts to represent neoliberal triumph and vulnerability, theorists and practitioners of contemporary art can help undo the conflation between girls and capitalism by reading her images, sounds, and words as texts that bring layers of conflict and nuance to the category of femininity. How do artistic and theoretical productions compose and undo the materiality of the image, the physicality of sound, and the mediations of linguistic and electronic “texts” to reflect upon and engage with the gendering at work in neoliberalism? How would neoliberalism look, sound or feel if we were to analyze it through the ambivalent figures that both secure and endanger its ideological composition?

The neoliberal girl appears in a highly visual guise. However, with the popularity of sound art, now is a good time to inquire into the ways in which the qualities of sonic landscapes, particularly those that ventriloquize concepts of origin or play with the immaterial and the durational, might complicate or undo the visual cultures that constitute feminized girlhood. We are also interested in scholarship attentive to contemporary poetry and poetics (particularly as they inflect and are inflected by visual and sound art) as poetry’s imaginative inscriptions on the textual space of the page might be uniquely capable of slowing down and unraveling the imbrications of sounds, images, and words that constitute the girl’s various appearances as well as the dialectical play of submissions and subversions her figurations imply. Given the long-standing dismissal of girls and femininity on aesthetic and political grounds, the rich array of aesthetic projects (of which sound art, visual art and poetry are only a few) that take up girls as subjects can be understood as a counter to the popularly assumed mimetic equivalence between girls and capitalism. We seek essays that focus on contemporary art (broadly conceived) to reveal that the texts constituting the contemporary girl are not simply sites of capitalism’s dominance but figure for strange possibilities that demand new analytical frameworks.

Potential topics/possible intersections, might include but are not limited to:

  • The girl in contemporary visual art, poetry and sound art.
  • The development of feminist theories and hermeneutics for the visual art, poetry and sound art in which the girl figures.  
  • The metaphor of the girl in aesthetic, cultural and economic analysis.
  • The affective labors of the girl and the production of value.
  • Differential productions of the girl in global capitalism.
  • The girl and reproductive futurity.
  • The dialectics of spectacle and disposability in representations of girlhood.
  • The girl as agent and object of social media.
  • The racialization of femininity, youth as a locus of racial formation and anxiety.
  • The girl, femininity, and the possibilities of queer childhood.
  • The girl in theory: Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Luce Irigaray, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Giorgio Agamben, Tiqqun, and others.
  • The girl within histories and theorizations of post and third-wave feminism.
  • Aesthetic and stylistic characteristics associated with girls, girlishness, and femininity.
  • The girl between the market and the underground. 

Article submissions should be 6-8,000 words in length and adhere to the current Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), author-date format.

Complete essays for consideration must be submitted by 11:59 PM EST, June 1, 2014.

Please send all work to the guest editor via email (MSWord attachment):


General Submission Guidelines

The Editorial Collective of Women & Performance invites submissions of scholarly essays on performance, visual and sound art, theater, dance, ritual, political manifestations, film, new media, and the performance of everyday life from interdisciplinary feminist perspectives. We also welcome performative texts; interviews; book, performance and film reviews; and photo essays and images that advance critical dialogues on gender and performance. Women & Performance accepts proposals for themed issues from guest editors. We publish scholarship that is interdisciplinary and provocative in method and form.

Please submit manuscripts electronically, as Microsoft Word attachments, to Managing Editor Summer Kim Lee at 

1. All work should be double spaced, with 1-inch margins, in 12-point Times font.
2. Scholarly essays should not exceed 10,000 words; reviews should be approximately 1,000 words.
3. Writers should follow the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition.
4. All manuscripts must be submitted with a cover document – including author’s name, address, email, phone number; a brief bio, indicating affiliation, recent publications; a 200 word abstract; and a word count of the manuscript.  To protect the anonymity of the submission process, please avoid listing your name anywhere in the body of the manuscript.
5. Please title your attachment with your last name, for example: title the manuscript as YourLastName.doc, and any images as YourLastNameImage1.pdf and YourLastNameImage2.pfd and so on.
6. You are welcome to submit images along with your manuscript; however, please ensure that you have (or will) secure copyright protection for all images.  Women and Performance cannot aid in, or financially contribute to, the procuring of copyright.

We will send you an acknowledgment of receipt once your submission is processed.  The Editorial Collective vets all submissions before they are sent out for external, anonymous peer review.  We provide reader comments, and may ask you to revise and resubmit your work.  The journal makes very effort to respond to submissions within three to six months.

Book reviews of no more than 1,500 words may be sent to .

Performance reviews of current exhibitions, films, parades, performance art, dance and theatre may be sent to .

Style guidelines
Description of the Journal’s  article style ,  Quick guide
Description of the Journal’s reference style , Quick guide
Please use US spelling (e.g. color, analyze) and punctuation. Use double quotation marks with single within if needed.

This journal requires a short paragraph of biographical details for all contributors.

If you have any questions about references or formatting your article, please contact  (please mention the journal title in your email).
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