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call for papers: Digital Feminisms: Transnational Activism in German Protest Cultures


Call For Papers

Feminist Media Studies Issue:

Digital Feminisms: Transnational Activism in German Protest Cultures

Edited by Carrie Smith-Prei, Christina Scharff, and Maria Stehle

The relative rise or decline of feminist movements across the globe has been debated by feminist scholars and activists for a long time. In recent years, however, these debates have gained renewed momentum. Rapid technological change and increased use of digital media have raised questions about how digital technologies change, influence, and shape feminist politics. These questions are particularly pertinent in the context of transnational flows of feminist ideas, politics and protesters, giving rise to a range of research questions: How do local centers for feminist political activism engage with the digital transfer of transnational protest movements, and how has this incorporation changed local activism? How does feminist activism travel and translate in the age of digital proliferation? How do other, often nationally inflected art forms such as literature, film, and theater engage in the notion of digital protest? And does feminist activism have the potential to transform discourses around the digital economy, equity, and democracy, such as those related to open access?

This special issue interrogates the digital interface of transnational protest movements and local activism in feminist politics. Examining how global feminist politics is articulated at the nexus of the transnational/national, we take contemporary German protest culture as a case study for the manner in which transnational feminist activism intersects with the national configuration of feminist political work. The special issue will explore how movements and actions from outside Germany’s borders circulate digitally and resonate differently in new local contexts, and further, how these border-crossings transform grass-roots activism as it goes digital.

Germany provides a useful case study for exploring these issues for several key reasons. As Myra Marx Ferree has noted in her recent book Varieties of Feminism: German Gender Politics in Global Perspective, the specific history of German feminism, tied to but markedly distinct from Anglo-American feminism, provides a significant counterpoint for considering the transnational flow and the local contexts of feminist theories and actions. Furthermore, Germany has witnessed a resurgence of interest in and debate about feminism over the past decade, including a proliferation of feminist activism driven by digital media. This resurgence of feminism has derived from a variety of factors, including nativist debates about Germany’s declining birth rate; increasing economic precarity, especially for women and minorities; debates over migration and multiculturalism; and the rise of Islamophobic discourse. Finally, because of its unique history and its crucial role within Europe today, Germany represents a key site for considering the intersection of feminist activism with questions of sexuality, citizenship, race, ethnicity, religion, and economic disenfranchisement. The special issue will thus consider Germany as a point of confluence for the urgent questions facing global feminisms today. Its conclusions will thus shed light on the potential impact of global feminist activism on other national, transnational, and digital contexts.

We seek manuscripts that emphasize the interplay between the transnational reach of feminist campaigns and the nationally specific contexts in which they are taken to the street, discussed in the media, or prosecuted in court. Contributions which highlight the intersections and tensions that emerge between feminist activism, racialized and sexualized bodies, neoliberal strategies of co-optation, and economic precarity will be of particular interest.

Topics in relation to digital feminisms in a German/transnational context include but are not limited to:

• the politics of digital activism, performance art, pop-feminisms, and post–riot-grrrl culture.
• the German reception of transnational and feminist activists like Pussy Riot (Russia), Slutwalk (Canada), and FEMEN (Ukraine) and national examples like Lady Bitch Ray, Chicks on Speed, the Twitter campaign #aufschrei and the blog Mädchenmannschaft e.V.
• the intersection of feminist protest cultures with discourses and activism surrounding sexuality, citizenship, race, ethnicity, religion, and economic disenfranchisement.
• the manner in which technology and debates surrounding the digital economy and open access contribute to or inform the form, content, and circulation of feminist work and vice versa.
• the relationship between past or non-digital forms of feminist activism (educative work, zines, street marches, women’s centres) and digital feminisms.
• using the German context as a case study to explore the complex interplay between global feminist politics and the constitution of nationalisms.

Please submit a 350-word abstract as well as a short (2-page) CV to Carrie Smith-Prei (carrie [dot] smith-preiatualberta [dot] ca) by 1 July, 2014. Authors whose abstracts are selected will be notified by 1 August, 2014 and asked to submit complete manuscripts by 31 December, 2014. Acceptance of the abstract does not guarantee publication of the paper, which will be subject to peer review.

Aims and Scope
Feminist Media Studies provides a transdisciplinary, transnational forum for researchers pursuing feminist approaches to the field of media and communication studies, with attention to the historical, philosophical, cultural, social, political, and economic dimensions and analysis of sites including print and electronic media, film and the arts, and new media technologies. The journal invites contributions from feminist researchers working across a range of disciplines and conceptual perspectives.

Feminist Media Studies offers a unique intellectual space bringing together scholars,
professionals and activists from around the world to engage with feminist issues and debates in media and communication. Its editorial board and contributors reflect a commitment to the facilitation of international dialogue among researchers, through attention to local, national and global contexts for critical and empirical feminist media inquiry. When preparing your paper, please click on the link ‘Instructions for Authors’ on the Feminist Media Studies website ( which provides guidance on paper length, referencing style, etc. When submitting your paper, please do not follow the link ‘Submit Online’ as special issue papers are handled directly via email with the special issue Editors.

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Journal Article
Internet & digital divide