Women in World-Literature: A Reader (Edited collection CfP - aimed at Liverpool University Press)

deadline for submissions: 
November 25, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Dr Roxanne Douglas (University of Birmingham) and Dr Fiona Farnsworth (University of Warwick)

Women in World-Literature: A Reader

Edited collection CfP - aimed at Liverpool University Press

Editors: Dr Roxanne Douglas (University of Birmingham) and Dr Fiona Farnsworth (University of Warwick)


World-literature - as conceived by the Warwick Research Collective (WReC) in its 2015 work Combined and Uneven Development - invokes world-systems theory alongside the Trotskyist formulation of “combined and uneven development”; and in its thinking through of the cultural and aesthetic implications of a literature of the capitalist world-system. For WReC and its conversants, world-literature refers not only to the material production, position, and movement of “literature” as commodity within a global system contingent upon the circulation and exploitation of capital and labour, but to the literature of that system; that is, the literature that registers and responds inherently to the “irreducibly conflictual terrain of interrelations” by which a singular but uneven modernity is marked.


However, the 2022 “Women in World(-)Literature” conference invoked and built on the feminist scholarship of critics such as Wilma A. Dunaway, Silvia Federici, Angela Davies, Mariarosa Dalla Costa, Tithi Bhattacharya, and Lola Olufemi to contend that the world-system - and, therefore, the literature of that system - are manifestly gendered; and that the gendered dynamics of power in the patriarchal capitalist world-system and their registration in world-literature demanded more (and more focused) scholarly attention. Women in World-Literature: A Reader is emergent from this event, which brought together more than 200 delegates from across the world to consider anew gender and world-literature as a critical nexus. As such, Women in World-Literature will be intellectually indebted to the collective work of WReC; but it will extend and develop new theories and readings of “world-literature” by invoking and building on the work of materialist feminist scholars to bring gender and women’s labour to the forefront of our analysis of the literature of the world-system. Our hope is that such a reader will serve as a starting point for students and scholars of world-literature to consider world-literature as the literature of the modern capitalist gendered world-system, and to continue the critical conversations in this urgent field of enquiry.


Dr Roxanne Douglas and Dr Fiona Farnsworth seek to work with scholars of world literature and gender to publish a reader on ‘Women in World-Literature’. Following and building on the conference from which this collection emerges, the reader will bring together critical voices across the globe and from scholars of every career level: we welcome ECRs and precarious and unemployed academics to submit an abstract alongside senior colleagues.


We hope to submit the volume for consideration in the first instance to Liverpool University Press (publishers of WReC’s Combined and Uneven Development: A New Theory of World-Literature).


We are calling for abstracts of 300 words for 6,000 word chapters which engage with the broad spectrum of research into gender and world-literature. What is specific about women’s experiences; and how are these specificities registered in world-literature? If world-literature is a way of thinking about a singular but unequal modernity – a system of cores and peripheries on multiple scales, from the family to the geopolitical stage – then what are the gendered consequences of this, for art and/or analysis? How are women situated in and accounted for within such a system? How do women’s material conditions and experiences – increasingly global in scope – shape their literary and cultural production on the levels of form, narrative, and genre? And what are the (re)generative possibilities of such study for us as we look towards the future?


Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

■      World-literature and feminism(s)

■      Race relations, women, and world-literature (e.g. racial capitalism)

■      Indigenous approaches to gender and the world-literary marketplace

■      Women in translation

■      Women and work (e.g. reproductive labour, affective care and emotional labour, “migrantisation” and “feminisation” of the domestic labour force, precarity, domestic and the everyday)

■      Class and gender

■      Social reproduction theory and world-literature

■      Environmental humanities and gender (e.g. women and world-ecology, “women, nature, and colonies”, climate crisis, extractive industries, commodity frontiers, food systems, ecologies, geographies, maps, settler colonialism)

■      Gender, genre and world-literature

■      Women between cores and peripheries

■      Migration and diaspora

■      Disability and accessibility

■      Women in world-literary study (precarity, academia, interdisciplinarity)

■      World-literature outside of the academy

■      Gendering the world-literary marketplace

We welcome submissions from participants at any and all stages of their academic career, from anywhere in the world, and of any gender. If you would like to discuss a potential chapter with us ahead of submission, please feel free to get in touch.


Abstracts of 300 words to be sent to womeninworldlitconference@gmail.com
Deadline 25th November 2022
Final drafts predicted to be due August 2023 (provisional)