Gender, Place, and Identity of South Asian Women

deadline for submissions: 
September 15, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Moussa Pourya Asl, Ph.D., Universiti Sains Malaysia
contact email: 

This call for book chapter proposals seeks contributions that investigate the contemporary Anglophone literature of South Asian women through the triple lens of gender, place and identity. The concern with place and space has long been pivotal to understanding the formation of gendered identities. The intersections of the three concepts has attracted global attention in the past few decades as the transformational impact of postcolonialism, border-crossings and mass mobility, and rapid advancements in science and computer technologies have promoted the status of space and spatiality to a principle concern. In recent years, feminist geographers (D. Massey, L. McDowell, G. Rose, S. Hanson, for example) have underlined the dynamic relationship between gendered identities and constructed space, arguing that gender and space are mutually constitutive entities. The reassertion of space in literary studies has also been highlighted recently by scholars who argue that creative writers partake in a form of literary cartography by which they figuratively map the real and imagined spaces of their worlds, both within the confines of the narrative and with reference to actual places outside of the text (Tally, 2017).  

In the past century, South Asia underwent fundamental cultural, social and political changes as countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan progressed from colonial domination through nationalist movements to independence. Since the beginning of the millennium, the social landscape of the local societies in the region has continued to be affected by both progressive transformations (economic growth and urban-societal developments) and retrogressive changes (civil conflicts, wars, rise of dictatorial political figures, religious fundamentalism, global ramifications of 9/11 attacks, natural disasters, etc.). The radical social, cultural and political transformations have intricately been bound up with the spatiality of social life in the region, drawing further attention to the significance of (social) spaces within transformative politics and identity formations. Within this context, the study of spaces inhabited, navigated and experienced by individuals and communities, who are shaped by or shape the places, allows us to contribute to the discussions on social and spatial justice, equity, equality and freedom.

The present volume is concerned with South Asian women’s writings (fictional & auto-/biographical) that offer unique insights about the material and discursive formation of gendered identities with regard to their geographic locations and experiences. Some of the questions that are of interest in this volume are:

-How spaces are constructed, experienced, and inhabited;
-How identities are formed and form themselves within space;
-How individuals relate to others and to themselves within particular spaces;
-How space is utilized to forge new identities;
-How space is remembered against the master-narratives;
-How space is (re-)appropriated to make adjustments at micro- and macro- levels.

These questions and related ones can be addressed in relation to what happens both inside and outside of the text. Contributors can use any spatially orientated approaches to explore the complexities of the makings and re-makings of gendered identities that are often occluded from the partial and misogynist nature of historical records. Contributors are also free to select resident, migrant or transnational authors as Anglophone literature is not exclusively published by either groups. Furthermore, the contemporary proliferation of forms and genres (life writing, chick literature, graphic novel, etc.) explains the editorial rationale to allow contributors the freedom to select the genre of preference. This, I believe will help to better survey, understand and show the intricacies and complexity of women’s experiences in South Asia.   


Recommended topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

Part I.  Stories of Discrimination: Gender Inequality, Spatial Injustice and Social Exclusion
-          Female body, gender bias and spatial segregation
-          Women out of place: Displaced, re-rooted, transnational
-          Sexual violence and harassment: Narratives of Shame and Silence
-          Gender insecurity and spatial anxieties
-          The challenges of cyberspaces

Part II.  Stories of Resistance: Anti-Discrimination Measures
-          Domestic disputes: The home and the renegotiation of gender roles
-          Urban protests and social movements
-          Seeking spatial justice: Participation, opposition and transformation
-          Queering the space: Sexuality, subjectivity and agency
-          Gender, collective agency, and shifting boundaries
-          Memory and Identity Re-/Construction
-          Women in the age of globalization: Counter-stories and challenging the master narratives

Part III. Stories of Change: Empowerment, Inclusion, and the future
-          Towards a new definition of South Asian Woman
-          Alliance and solidarity across borders
-          The changing face of gender politics and Spatial boundaries
-          Cyberspace: Re-placing women, re-making identity


Submission Details:

Please submit 1,000 to 2,000 words summary of your proposed book chapter clearly explaining how it addresses the details outlined above. The proposals must be submitted latest by September 15, 2021 via the online submission system available at: .

After notification of acceptance of summaries, final book chapter submissions should be between 7,000-10,000 words latest by November 28, 2021. Final book chapters must adhere to the guidelines within the 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual. All submitted chapters will be reviewed on a double-blind review basis. All manuscripts must be written in objective third person point of view throughout (Use "the authors" or "the researchers" NOT "I" or "we"). Further guidelines are available at: .       

Contact Info:
Moussa Pourya Asl, Ph.D.
Senior Lecturer of Literary Studies
School of Humanities, Universiti Sains Malaysia
11800 USM, Penang, Malaysia
Phone: (+60) 04-6536043