CFP: Young Feminists Take on the Family (8/1/03; journal issue)

full name / name of organization: 
Deborah Siegel
contact email: 

Deadline: August 1, 2003

Young Feminists Take On the Family
(part of a special issue of THE SCHOLAR & FEMINIST ONLINE,

>From George Bush’s insistence that the two-parent family still provides the
best environment for building civic stability, responsibility, and character
to Hillary Clinton’s claim that it takes a village, “family values” has
become an indispensable catchword of politics across the spectrum. But what
exactly does the term mean? And how come in all this talk, no one mentions
values, only family form? Both liberals and conservatives claim that they
have moved away from the untenable and exclusive mythology of a white,
middle-class patriarchy in order to account for the complex social, legal
and economic realities of today’s world. But if this were truly the case,
then why do discussions of the family continue to revert to fantasies of
race, class, gender, and sexuality befitting Ozzie and Harriet?

“Young Feminists Take on the Family,” a special issue of the new webjournal
THE SCHOLAR & FEMINIST ONLINE, invites critical essays, poetry, art, audio,
visual and multimedia contributions that explode current myths of the
American family and offer analyses of the larger culture that has helped
shape and produce these myths. This special issue-intended to create a
fuller picture of American families and deeper, richer understanding of
their values-will inaugurate the webjournal’s Feminist Futures series.
Contributions with a sharp analytic focus will be given preference.

The issue will be guest edited by writer-activists Jennifer Baumgardner and
Amy Richards. Selected contributions will appear alongside comments from a
conversation launched at Barnard College in February 2003 on this topic.
Panelists include Noelle Howey, author of Dress Codes: Of Three Girlhoods -
My Mother’s, My Father’s, and Mine; Irshad Manji, author of Risking Utopia:
On the Edge of a New Democracy and the forthcoming The Trouble With Islam: A
Wake-Up Call for Honesty and Change; Cathy McKinley, author of the The Book
of Sarahs: A Family in Parts and editor of Afrekete: An Anthology of Black
Feminist Writing; and Leora Tanenbaum, author of Slut: Growing Up Female
with a Bad Reputation and Catfight: Women and Competition.

Submissions might address any of the following questions and issues:

• A great majority of Americans define a family as “a group of people who
love and care for each other,” according to a survey published by the
Massachusetts General Life Insurance Company. Yet current law and policy
preferences the two-parent family at the expense of the diverse groups that
make up an ever-greater proportion of American families. What effect is
this discrepancy between public and private values having on the growing
number that do not conform to the idealized, married, heterosexual model?

• While feminists have done a good job of “adding” to family, for example,
through adoption and remarriage, we haven't yet separated biology from
family. How can family be based on emotions and relationships, rather than

• How do young feminists manage the disconnect between changing attitudes
and unchanging messages and ideals about who should work, who should stay
home, the unmediated evils of divorce, and the perpetual myth of “balance”?

• Looking globally, how does our definition of “family” change?

• What do young feminists make of the politicization of marriage-from
President Bush among others “mandating marriage” as a solution to welfare to
the Defense of Marriage Act?

• Gay marriage and family: Will including (and extending rights to) gay
people transform the institution? Are assumptions changed about discipline,
housework, and nurturing when both parents are the same sex?

• Where do we currently stand vis-a-vis “the mommy wars”? Contemporary
takes on competition, judgment, and parenting?

• What would feminist family configurations actually look like? Where do we
presently find them? What would it take to make such configurations

• Cross-racial and cross-national adoption: Who benefits?


The deadline for submissions is August 1, 2003. You will be notified by
November 15 if your work is to be included. Essays should be no longer than
2500 words-and shorter 1000 to 1500 word essays are encouraged. Please
submit text documents as Microsoft Word files. Images should be formatted as
jpegs or gifs. Please consult The MLA Manual of Style for proper manuscript

If you would like your materials returned, please include a self-addressed,
stamped envelope.

Send all materials to:

Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards
C/o Soapbox
201 East 2nd Street, #5D
New York, NY 10009


S&F Online (<>), a new breed of interactive
webjournal and academic zine, provides public access to the Barnard Center
for Research on Women's most innovative programming by posting written
transcripts, audio and visual recordings, and links to relevant intellectual
and social action networks. The journal builds on these programs by
publishing related scholarship and other applicable resources.

For further information about the webjournal or the Feminist Futures Series,

Deborah Siegel
Editor, S&F Online
Center for Research on Women
Barnard College
101 Barnard Hall
3009 Broadway
NY, NY 10027

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Received on Tue May 13 2003 - 12:21:00 EDT