Northern Lights: Film & Media Studies Yearbook Special Issue

deadline for submissions: 
November 17, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Intellect Books

Call for Papers: Northern Lights: Film & Media Studies Yearbook


Special Issue: ‘Transforming Genitals in Culture and Media’


Abstracts (500 word) should be sent to by Monday 17 November 2022


Notifications of acceptance will be sent by Monday 24 November 2022


Full papers due for peer review by Monday 30 January 2023


Approximate date of the final manuscript delivery 30 April 2023


View the full CFP here>>


Since the 1980s, research into the body has moved it from the position of ‘an absent presence’ (Shilling 1993) to an important and stimulating topic for the social sciences and humanities (Shilling 2005). Despite this we have not paid sufficient theoretical or ethnographical attention to genitals, despite their social and cultural importance. Genitals are attached to multifarious meanings, ideologies, connotations, inscriptions, norms, practices, technologies, imaginaries, feelings, experiences and representations (Blackman 2008).


Genitals are anatomical and biological but can also be (like age) a ‘social organizing principle’, based on which individuals build their identities and gain/lose power (Calasanti and Slevin 2006). In the gender binary paradigm genitals are understood as male or female, aligning with gender identity. Mainstream cultures still insist on the idea of the connection of genitalia and gender (Jones and Callahan 2022). At birth gender is assigned based on genitals, beginning a lifelong process of binary gender differentiation (Wade and Marx Ferree 2015). Transgender, intersex and non-binary people are leading the way in questioning the gender binary system: demonstrating, advocating and indeed embodying fresh understandings of relations between genitalia and gender that are far more complex than simple binaries.


Historically, apart from their social importance, genitals also have prominent mythological, religious, ethical and cultural meanings, from adoration to ridicule, from pride to shame, from public display to concealment, and unrestrained expression to discipline. They are often positioned in terms of dualisms: femininities/masculinities, youth/old age, beauty/ugliness, pleasure/pain, hatred/love, disability/capacity, intimacy/violation, private/public, etc. They are ordinary and ubiquitous but also controversial, and fraught with anxiety.


This Special Issue will examine how culture and media intersect with, consider, or work through genital transformations. We seek contributions that consider how genital transformations are represented visually and textually – in film, television, social media, gaming, print, etc., and for what cultural reasons? We seek papers that address transformations of genitals that may be metaphoric, mythical, representational, surgical, phenomenological, etc. Intersectional, feminist and interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged, and Global South stories are particularly welcome.


Research into social and cultural meanings as well as media representations of genitalia (male, female, intersex) is still considered a provocative but at the same time an extremely potent interdisciplinary field that enables the establishment/expansion/strengthening of a platform for dialogues and cooperation between different disciplines and perspectives – body studies, media studies, gender studies, women’s studies, men’s studies, LGBTQ studies, cultural studies, fashion studies, sociology and a number of sociological sub-disciplines (sociology of gender, sociology of the body, sociology of the media, etc.), feminism, etc. Precisely because of the emphasised interdisciplinarity, academics from different disciplinary/professional backgrounds can participate in the realization of the topics.