Journal Special Issue - Gender and Sexuality: Masculinities and Femininities
JOURNAL OF COMPARATIVE LITERATURE AND AESTHETICS
(Special Issue on Gender and Sexuality: Masculinities and Femininities)
Vol. 44, No. 2, Spring 2021
The inception of postmodernism influenced and reformed the approach of scholars towards gender studies by accentuating the differences that existed amongst women and amongst men. Postmodern theorists denied the concept of traditional essentialist practices that identified the common condition of ‘being a man’ or ‘being a woman’ and established the notion of identities to be regularly in the process of formation and hence plural and fragmented, thereby rejecting the modernist claims of coherent, unified self. The dissolution of identity as something stable and fixed shifted the focus of gender critics from construction of femininity to construction of gender broadening the perspective from objective to subjective study. It led to recognizing of differences, inviting views from everywhere, welcoming multiple truths and plural identities over the notion of a single truth or stable identity. Therefore, culturally constructed gender identity is proved not an essence, rather incessantly changing, shifting and always in the process of becoming. To precisely sum up gendering is explained to be the process where subjectivities are formed in relation to the meaning that people have available to them. This is an open process, susceptible to change and development, and never without contradiction; the process of becoming gendered cannot be separated from other aspects of becoming. Thus ‘man’ and ‘woman’ are understood as both empty and overflowing with meanings. Butler argued that both sex and gender are products of discourse constructed by reiterative performances in culture and society. According to her the performance of our gendered identity is highly contextual and simultaneously dependent on other dimensions of our identity for e.g. culture, race, class, and ethnicity. Hence according to her it is gender that constructs our biological understanding of sex as male or female since what we perceive as natural is an effect rather than cause of our gendered acts.
Following the thread of gender construction, similar to the argument of socialization of gender, racialization and race formation is understood as social construction and not a universal or essential category of biology or culture. It is argued that races do not exist outside of representation but are formed in and by it in a process of social and political power struggle. It is proved that like gender identity like racial identity too is regarded as discursive-performative construction(s).
The notion of ‘Third World woman’ was equally challenged as a racist hierarchy of privilege, where subaltern consciousness is argued to be a construction of socially authorized language, not a self or subject that can will itself to speak.
Towards the end of the twentieth century- media, academicians, sociologists and other critics focused their attention on an incipient “crisis of masculinity” where it was emphasized that like women, men are gendered as well, projecting “‘man’ as a new victim of patriarchy. Masculinity studies aimed at reconstructing the meaning of masculinity and analyzing masculinity, like femininity, as a social construct, context-specific and culturally-bound and to challenge the invisibility and exploitation of men in society. Simultaneously the subordinate masculinities (gay, black and working class) that were exploited by men possessing the hegemonic, heterosexual, white masculinity, they in turn set up their own cultural norms of masculinity.
The special issue on Gender and Sexuality: Masculinities and Femininities invites research papers, articles and book reviews to explore the construction, deconstruction, performativity and un-doing of gender, and how sexuality interacts with the same, to enhance and enrich our understanding of plurality of gender identity. A healthy and fresh approach would not only deal with ample nuances related to gender and sexuality but would also lead to gender sensitization, answering the call of the contemporary times heralding gender inequality and discrimination.
The articles may cover the below-mentioned sub-themes and also stretch beyond, to justify the relevance and scope of the theme:
1. Gender and identity
2. Gender and race
3. Gender and postcolonialism
5. Female masculinity
6. Male femininity
7. LGBTQ: Queer identity, transgender, transvestite, gay, transsexuals etc.
8. Masculinities and femininities
9. Plural identities
10. Feminism and gender
11. Men’s studies
12. Decolonizing gender
13. Death of gender
14. Gendered spaces
15. Feminist studies in gender and sexuality
16. Sexual orientation
17. Gender/Sexuality and technology
Guest Editor: Dr. Shaista Irshad, Assistant Professor of English, Iswar Saran PG College, University of Allahabad, India
ABOUT THE JOURNAL
The Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics (ISSN: 0252-8169) is a quarterly, peer-reviewed journal published by the Vishvanatha Kaviraja Institute of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics, India since 1977. The Institute was founded on August 22, 1977 coinciding with the birth centenary of legendary philosopher, aesthetician, and historian of Indian art, Ananda K. Coomaraswamy (1877-1947).
The Journal — published quarterly as Spring (February), Summer (May), Autumn (August), and Winter (November) issues — is committed to interdisciplinary and cross-cultural issues in literary understanding and interpretation, aesthetic theories, conceptual analysis of art, literature, philosophy, religion, mythology, history of ideas, literary theory, history, and criticism.
The Journal has already published legends like Rene Wellek, Harold Osborne, John Hospers, John Fisher, Murray Krieger, Martin Bocco, Remo Ceserani, J.B. Vickery, Menachem Brinker, Milton Snoeyenbos, Mary Wiseman, Ronald Roblin, T.R. Martland, S.C. Sengupta, K.R.S. Iyengar, V.K. Chari, Charles Altieri, Martin Jay, Jonathan Culler, Richard Shusterman, Robert Kraut, T.J. Diffey, T.R. Quigley, R.B. Palmer, Keith Keating, and many renowned scholars.
JCLA is indexed and abstracted in the MLA International Bibliography, Master List of Periodicals (USA), Ulrich’s Directory of Periodicals, ERIH PLUS, ISI, Philosopher’s Index, EBSCO, UGC-Inflibnet, ProQuest, and Gale (Cengage).
Celebrated scholars of the time like Rene Wellek, Harold Osborne, Mircea Eliade, Monroe Beardsley, John Hospers, John Fisher, Meyer Abrams, John Boulton, and many renowned foreign and Indian scholars were Members of its Editorial Board.