Signs Special Issue: Gender and the Rise of the Global Right
As political events across the world have made clear, the right wing is ascendant: from the election of Donald J. Trump in the United States; to the Brexit victory in the United Kingdom; to the rise of rise of rightist, nationalist, anti-immigrant, and neo-Nazi parties across Europe; to the election of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party in India; to the Philippine president’s professed admiration for Adolf Hitler; to the impeachment of a democratically elected woman leader in Brazil; to the military coup and gendered crackdown in Egypt; to the virulently antigay legislation in Uganda, in which US–based Christian evangelicals played no small role. Far less studied are the myriad ways in which the global Right represents a particular politics of gender. Indeed, backlash against perceived shifts in gender and sexual norms may have partly spurred the Right’s rise. And right-wing movements have often justified themselves by invoking gender and sexuality—whether through a desire to return to or preserve “tradition” and “shared values” or by stoking anxieties about the sexual threats represented by racial, foreign, or religious others.
These developments present an urgent need for feminist theorizing, across regions and disciplines. It is of critical importance that the central role of gender and sexuality in the rise of the Right be recognized and that the voices of critique be feminist ones, including investigations of the Rights’ representational politics, its workings in discourse, mass media, human rights, law, and culture broadly conceived. We welcome submissions from all disciplines, and especially submissions that are engaging across disciplines and that are themselves inter- or transdisciplinary.
Possible areas of focus might include:
- The gender politics of local right-wing resurgences, the transnational linkages among them, and comparative critiques of their cultures, discourses, and modes of organizing, funding, coordination, and transmission.
- Comparisons of the present moment with past historical shifts, such as the colonial encounter, and their gendered implications for the postcolonial present.
- The fault lines within right-wing gender politics, in which racialization determines which women are to be protected and which are threats, to be deported, jailed, or “liberated.”
- The role of religion and religious actors in right-wing politics, and the gendered agendas they advance.
- The Right’s use of the language of women’s rights, human rights, LGBT rights, or other rights discourses; the role of right-wing women in dignifying, legitimating, and speaking for their movements.
- Right-wing attacks on women’s and gender studies; efforts to discredit the field and establish right-wing ideologues in academic settings.
- Gendered life under repressive regimes; the role of networks, undergrounds, and samizdat.
- The media politics and cyberpolitics of the Right; the discursive structures of mainstream and social media; the gendered phenomenon of the internet troll.
- The interrelations between various gender-related crusades (e.g., the transnational antichoice movement, resistance against LGBT rights, the introduction of transphobic policies, efforts to stop antiviolence legislation).
- Right-wing masculinities (e.g., fathers’ movements, men’s-rights movements, militarist gender ideologies, and constructions of boyhood).
- Links between the gendered effects of global economic crises or structural adjustments and the rise of the Right.
- The representational politics of the global Right, in literature, film, music, art, and popular culture; representations and works of literature that resist, subvert, and push back against the arguments of the new Right and its normalizers.
Signs particularly encourages transdisciplinary and transnational essays that address substantive feminist questions, debates, and controversies without employing disciplinary or academic jargon. We welcome essays that make a forceful case for why the global rise of the Right demands a specific and thoughtfully formulated interdisciplinary feminist analysis and why it demands our attention now. We seek essays that are passionate, strongly argued, and willing to take risks. The issue will be coedited by Agnieszka Graff, associate professor at the Center for American Studies at the University of Warsaw; Ratna Kapur, visiting professor of law at Queen Mary University of London; and Suzanna Danuta Walters, Signs editor in chief and professor of sociology and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Northeastern University.
The deadline for submissions is September 15, 2017.