CFP: Women and Performance: Domestic Disturbances (1/1/06; journal issue)

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Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory
Domestic Disturbances

Recent magazine photos of Iraqi women voting--wearing the
traditional hijab with all but their faces and hands covered,
holding up dye-stained fingers in triumph—captured a performance of
the domestic sphere that reverberated around the world. By
simultaneously displaying the public sphere (voting) and the
private sphere (the veiled bodies), these women both defied and
embodied their role as invisible bodies confined to the domestic
sphere. As the photographs of the Iraqi women attest, the domestic
sphere extends beyond physical residences; the domestic sphere can
reside on/in the body itself. Performance is, thus, always an
active agent in exploring, defining, and disturbing the domestic

The domestic sphere reflects a range of women’s experiences: from
women forcibly confined to the home due to national policy/cultural
norms/religious dictates to domestic workers to “housewives” to
women who ideologically identify--or are identified--with the home.
  While resisting universalizing definitions, the concept of the
domestic sphere reverberates throughout international circles and
across time with similar descriptives: private, feminine, interior.
Domestic performance—performance as any act that frames itself or is
framed by others “to be looked at”—continually disturbs the norm by
making visible what’s meant to be hidden. Domestic performance is,
thus, a performance genre that enacts the symptoms of what Una
Chaudhuri terms geopathology: a problem with place. This issue of
Women and Performance poses the questions: How are performances of
domestic geopathology enacted within different international arenas?
 And what are the consequences of those performances for the
individual performer/spectator and/or the community-at-large? How
do performances related to “the home” disrupt—as well as
define--the domestic sphere’s placement within cultural,
geographical and ideological contexts? How does the domestic
sphere inform the always-present performance studies question: What
happens when the private is made public?

Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory invites critical
essays that examine the disturbances created by performances
of/about/within the domestic sphere. Possible topics could
• the domestic sphere as a subject in
drama/theatre/performance—(Anna Cora Mowatt, Fashion, 1845; Henrik
Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, 1879; Susan Glaspell’s “Trifles,” 1916);
Marsha Norman’s ‘Night Mother, 1985).

•performance of domestic labor/domestic labor as performance (Martha

• politicizing domestic rituals and objects (cleansing rituals; the
AIDS Quilt; Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo; Cindy Sheehan and the
“soccer mom” anti-war protests)

• representations of domestic violence (often referred to as a
“domestic disturbance”)

• the body as the domestic sphere (veiling practices/rituals)

• the domestic sphere beyond a heterosexual/maternal context (Split
Britches, Five Lesbian Brothers, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy)

• or any other configuration of the topic that both opens it up and
narrows the focus on domesticity as a lens with which to explore

Essays should be no more than 8,000 words--preferably 5000-6000
words--in length and should adhere to the Chicago Manual of Style.
Abstracts or completed essays for consideration must be submitted
by January 1, 2006. Final essays are due February 1, 2006. Please
send all work to Pam Cobrin via e-mail (MSWord attachment) or post: or Pam Cobrin, 411B Barnard Hall, 3009 Broadway,
New York, NY 10024.

Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory is a peer-reviewed
academic journal dedicated to the study of feminist theory and
performance and is published by Routledge, Taylor & Francis.

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Received on Tue Nov 29 2005 - 16:29:04 EST

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