Call for Papers: Troubling Racism


Call for Papers: lambda nordica Special Issue

Troubling Racism: Subversive Bodies, Subversive Desires

Deadline for Submission of Abstracts: November 11, 2021
Reflecting upon the intellectual and political preoccupations that unify those theorizing and imagining at the intersection of Black feminist thought/theory, critical race theory, and queer studies, what emerges is how the rampant racialized violences that continue to operate in the “wake” (Sharpe 2016) of the transatlantic slave trade and settler-colonialism shape BIPOCs’ contemporary experiences of subjugation and performances of subversion. Contemplating the racist mechanisms that seek to restrain bodies of colour in place alongside the oppositional techniques that queer, trans, and gender non-conforming BIPOCs persistently employ to claim their bodies in space, this special issue asks: if BIPOC bodies are so often situated through the twinned sites of racist desire and racist derision, how can our bodies be re-appropriated, re-modelled, or re-imagined as sites of subversion as we inhabit them in ways that repel, problematize or taunt the racist gaze? Indeed, how can our bodies transcend the artificial boundaries of a white supremacist reality — reaching beyond the pale of colonial time and ways of knowing — as we imagine or establish: alternative ways of being, alternative places and spaces, and alternative futures, through the insubordinate site that is the body?
This special issue encounters the possibility that forms of insubordination that seek to disrupt and/or transcend white supremacist logics might manifest through the disobediences of subversive and queered desire as BIPOCs lust, fuck, articulate, hope, or create kinship in unexpected ways and therefore become unreadable subjects as they defy definition, refuse time, or reimagine reality. How does the naughtiness of this insubordination to white supremacist and heteronormative reasonings appear when enacted by the BIPOC body that is also fat, crip, sick, undocumented, unwilling or unable to reproduce, genderqueer or gender-fluid — or, inhabits any other constellation of purported wrongness? Going further, we might also ask how such subversive bodies trouble the simultaneous site of hyper-visibility and invisibility that often situate BIPOC bodies as their naughtiness and disobedience confuse the rules of spectacle or dismissibility that normatively inform the racist gaze?
The editors invite contributions from early career and established scholars, artists, activists, cultural workers, and the like that broadly draw from the traditions of Black feminist thought/theory, Black political thought, critical race theory, queer theory, and arts-based analyses to engage with the threads of subversion, embodiment, desire, performance, safety, alternative futures and alternative selves to examine racism — either within the Nordics or in transnational contexts that can be comparatively examined alongside the Nordics.

Contributions might then be guided by (but not limited to) some of the following questions, provocations, and themes:

• If bodies of colour in general, and Black women’s bodies in particular, are rendered wholly knowable and thus readily disposable — as Canadian Black feminist scholar Katherine McKittrick (2006) describes —how might the subject that is meant to be tamed through this racial reasoning claim the body away from knowability and white supremacist consumption? For instance, how do forms of body modification or ornamentation such as tattoos, piercings, clothing, and hair visualize a form of self-possession whereby the body is claimed away from racist inscription through practices of engraving and (self-)styling?

• How can acts of self-pleasuring such as masturbation or the enjoyment of erotica reorient the direction of desire as BIPOCs experience their bodies as sites for their own pleasure — thus disrupting the knowability that so often decides the sexual availability and ultimate disposability of racial Others?

• In spaces of simultaneous hyper-scrutiny and hyper-invisibility, what IS bodily safety? If bodily safety is possible, what would it look, feel like, or how would it be performed?

• How might mechanisms of safety be refused altogether as we look to radical alternatives for ways of being, moving, loving, living?

• How does kinship or reproduction emerge as a site of disobedience, subversion, or rebellion as BIPOC bodies refuse to reproduce, reproduce in unfamiliar ways, or trespass on the normative formations and affects that are meant to regulate kinship bonds?

• How can we imagine ourselves into the otherwise, the not-yet, the unimagined and unimaginable, the beyond and outside of, unknown and unknowable — to create worlds and times where our bodies need not attune to a system bent on consuming us?

- subversive bodies and/or subversive desires
- unwilling bodies and unfamiliar kinship
- bodies unwilling to reproduce or willfully reproducing bodies
- unruly bodies and/or unruly desires
- disobedience, trouble, troubling
- knowability and unknowability
- masturbation, erotica, kink, porn
- bodily pleasure, self-pleasuring, pleasure
- bodily adornment, body modifications, bodily ornamentation
- bodily performance and performativity
- alternative futures, alternative selves, alternative bodies, the Afrofuture
- embodied fantasy, re-imagining, or the unimaginable body
- bodily safety, possibilities for safety

This special issue will be guest edited by three members of the collective Black Feminist Fridays: Nordic and Beyond (BFF): Jan-Therese Mendes, postdoctoral fellow in Gender Studies at the University of Stavanger and visiting scholar at the Amsterdam Research Centre for Gender and Sexuality; Ro Averin, equity and social justice consultant, educator, and founder of UNLRN PRJCT; and Nafeesa Nichols, associate professor of English Literature, Culture and Didactics at Høgskule på Vestlandet.
Please submit an abstract (150- 200 words max) and brief bio (150 words max) by November 11, 2021 to
lambda nordica welcomes academic research articles (6000-8000 words) as well as shorter essays (4000 - 6000 words). Please indicate whether your contribution is an article or essay in your abstract. All academic articles will go through lambda nordica’s double blind peer-review process. Funding may be available for contributors not affiliated with a university, conditional upon grant allotment.
Notification of acceptance can be expected in early December 2021. The deadline for submitting full manuscripts will be in early January 2023. The issue will be published in 2024 or 2025, pending editorial and review processes.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact the special issue editors at