Call for Book Chapters on 'Filth, Dirt, Im/Purity and Feminine Care'

deadline for submissions: 
August 30, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Vernon Press
contact email: 

Call for Book Chapters: Vernon Press invites book chapters for an edited volume on the topic of " Filth, Dirt, Im/Purity and Feminine Care "


Editor: Madhurima Guha (Arizona State University)

Women share a close and unavoidable connection with im/purity, filth, and dirt in their routines of care and caring. Words like ‘filth’, ‘dirt’, ‘purity’ are loaded with colonial meanings and can become extremely complicated when understood from the socio-cultural-historical lens. Through the postcolonial appropriations, these meanings have subsequently contributed to the patriarchal assumptions and gendered ideas about women’s roles, especially, in their handling of  filth and dirt, within their daily duties of selfless care, nursing, cooking, cleaning, and mothering. Moreover, narratives of women subjected to sexual and gender-based violence while continuing their care duties are not new.  The essentialized idea of feminine care culture still remain strong in our contemporary public discourses and become complex when they get entwined within the intersectional politics of age, class, caste, race, and religion. Joan Tronto’s work (1993; 2010) for example, has consistently argued that care is disproportionately the work of the marginalized in society and as such, distributed along intersectional social axes encouraging a power hierarchy between who is more experienced in handling filth. Thus, while Carol Gilligan’s (1982) (in)famous theorization of ‘ethics of care’ voices for woman’s morality and care as a powerful counter to male-centered epistemology on justice (bridging the equality),  it also reinforced essentialist and stereotypical notions of femininity, care work, and motherhood that leave out women who do not meet the criteria.

Furthermore, care, like gender, is also a performance, that has been represented through media, where women’s efficiency at filth and dirt management has always been glorified within hegemonic gender norms. Popular culture portray images of how ideal women should give up their desires and aspirations to selflessly perform their care as wives, mothers, and grandmothers, adopting duties of the household and beyond, in their routine dealings with filth and dirt, without any grudge or cringe. These images have seen an unquestioned internalization by both male and female spectators, which has further led to the normalization of these expectations even today despite the abundant presence of feminist movements, and ideologies (especially transnational feminism) that have challenged dominant ideas of caregiving. At the same time, some recent subversive renditions have been able to radicalize this internalization.


For this book, we seek chapters that expand our knowledge about this underexplored domain of feminine care and also question the hegemonic feminine care culture as a whole. We particularly encourage chapters that focusses on Global South and that not only discuss feminine care duties/care epistemology in handling filth, dirt and im/purity but also contest the larger relationship of feminine bodies with filth, dirt and im/purity and feminine care culture.


Possible topics may include, but not are not limited to:

  • Filth, Dirt and im/purity and feminine care culture and /or ethics
  • Performances of essentialization and transgressions of feminine handling of filth, dirt and beyond
  • Representations of feminine care, filthy bodies, and ideal womanhood
  • Intersectional approach (race, class, caste, sexuality, age, religion, dis/ability and gender) to understanding of feminine care
  • Feminine care and Motherhood/ing and/or grandmotherhood/ing
  • Masculinity and feminine care culture
  • Feminine care culture and the intricacies of sexual, verbal, emotional and intimate partner violence
  • Radical politics of love in understanding feminine care culture
  • Undoing feminine care, feminine filth, and feminine impurity
  • Feminine care culture and language 


Please submit a 250-word abstract and a brief biography to Madhurima Guha at , by August 30th, 2023. You may also direct your questions to the same email.


Full papers should be no longer than 8000 words and will be due by Dec 30th, 2023. All submissions will be peer-reviewed.