CFP: Feminism in South Africa? (9/15/06; journal issue)

full name / name of organization: 
Ronit Frenkel
contact email: 
ronit@languages.wits.ac.za

Call for Papers for a Special Edition of African Studies

Feminism and Contemporary Culture in South Africa?

Post-apartheid South Africa is marked by its rapidly shifting cultural
geographies where the position of women illuminates critical issues about
how the political and social structure negotiates its contradictions and
safe spaces. The idea of being simultaneously seen and unseen, included and
excluded, is familiar to studies on race and gender. While South Africa has
the largest percentage of women in parliament in the world, it also has the
highest levels of rape. How do we make sense of these contradictory
indicators? The TRC brought issues surrounding women’s abuse into the open
but the transcripts of its closed sessions on women’s abuse were
inadvertently posted onto the internet, exposing victims to public scrutiny
and assessment. Previously, sexual assault was used by apartheid forces as a
means of subjugation. Gender abuse within liberation movements also occurred
with these narratives only emerging more recently. How has South Africa
synthesized these experiences? Historically, huge differences have shaped
the lives of South African women from different racial backgrounds. How has
this shifted in post-Apartheid South Africa? What are the issues surrounding
gender in South Africa in different sectors? With the Zuma trial pushing
issues of women’s rights into the national spotlight, how women’s issues are
recast and appropriated are important indicators of where discourse resides
in the present. In a period where Feminism has become decidedly
unfashionable in popular culture, what tools do we have to examine women in
South African culture? Have feminist issues disappeared along with the
popularity of the ideology? What position do women occupy in South African
culture today?
Issues surrounding voice, victimhood, agency, subjectivity, power, gaze,
silences, knowledge and nation have often been recast in African Feminist
theory and need further exploration in South African today. Works dealing
with the ambiguities and complexities of gender in South African culture are
sought for a special edition of the interdisciplinary journal African
Studies. Topics might include, but are not limited to:

- The relationship between race, class, gender and/or sexuality in
        contemporary South African culture.
- Representations of women or gender relations in South African
        literature.
- Reconsidering Feminist theory in a post-Apartheid context.
- Gender, health issues and the state.
- The media and gender representations.
- Women and structural violence.
- Gender dynamics and popular culture.
- Historical contradictions and present manifestations.
- Reading the silences or gaps in discourse around women.
- The relationship between nationalism and gender politics.

Articles addressing any aspect of South African culture and women to be sent
to Ronit Frenkel by 15 September 2006 – ronit_at_languages.wits.ac.za (MS word
format).

-----------------------------
Dr. Ronit Frenkel
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
Department of African Literature
The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
ronit_at_languages.wits.ac.za
(011) 717 -4140/4241
cell:082 747 8625

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Received on Fri Apr 07 2006 - 10:38:23 EDT

cfp categories: 
ethnicity_and_national_identity