Call For Papers – Queering Girlhood: Special Issue of Girlhood Studies

In the more than ten years since Marnina Gonick directly challenged the field by asking, “Are queer girls, girls?” (2006: 122), girls’ studies has grown into a formidable, expansive, and increasingly recognized area of academic discourse. Yet, while one might not characterize the “pairing of the words queer and girl” as “virtually unthinkable” in the scholarship today, as Susan Driver (2007: 28) found it then, there remains a distressing inability to dislodge girlhood from its (hetero)normative grounds. The stubborn persistence of white, affluent, able-bodied, Western heteronormative girlhood continues to plague critical work on girls and girl cultures, even as there are repeated calls by major scholars in the field to subvert and complicate this normative girl (Kearney 2011; Projansky 2014). Particularly with the increasing visibility and recognition of transgender and gender diverse girls, the queer girl again most pressingly (and perhaps inevitably) confronts girls’ studies with the imperative to re-examine the very definition of girlhood—a project that, as Whitney Monaghan’s recent work promises, might productively “denaturalise” the “girl” (2016: 35) anew as an entrée into further critical inquiry.

This Special Issue of Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal takes up the project of bringing the queer girl from the margins to the center of girls’ studies by inviting articles from various disciplinary perspectives that explore the experiences and representations of queer girls, as well as the impact of queer girl cultures on the understanding of girlhood. When they appear in public discourse or popular representations, which happens far too infrequently, queer girls usually act as representative of a problem to be solved, a phase to grow out of, or a minor point within a larger debate about young female sexuality. In considerations of queer youth, they again find themselves marginalized or silenced by a seemingly inescapable focus on their male peers. Theirs are, in short, voices we too rarely hear and experiences too rarely figured. Yet, because they are so obviously marginalized by and/or resistant to normative constructions of gender and sexuality, queer girls provoke a number of important critical questions for definitions of youth and of girlhood.

Contributions to this special issue may consider, among others, the following critical questions.

  • How have normative notions of heterosexual childhood/adolescent development dominated understandings of young female sexuality and, therefore, disregarded the complexities of female sexuality and pleasure, or relegated queer sexualities to what is thought of as a temporary phase?
  • How might a disruption of gender binaries or a rejection of fixed gendered designations truly redefine girlhood which has for so long been founded in notions of femininity or so called feminine (and masculine) experiences or behaviors?
  • How does the queer girl have an impact on explorations of female friendship, female bonding, and close-knit groups such as those found in fan cultures or creative production?
  • What histories or archives of queer female experience have been lost from view or silenced in service of a dominant narrative on girlhood?
  • How are queer girls shaped by their position at the intersection of identities based in race, age, class, and/or ability?
  • How do queer girls consume, participate in, critique, and/or negotiate the dominant discourses around girlhood in popular culture that so often exclude their experiences? Do queer girls consume popular culture differently? If so, how? Do queer girls produce different popular culture and other creative media?
  • How do definitions and experiences of queer girlhood vary around the world? How has a particularly white and Western figure of queer girlhood limited the sense of diverse queer girl experiences?
  • What youth subcultures do queer girls participate in and/or create and how might their subcultural practices challenge prevailing notions of female subcultural experiences?
  • How have queer girls engaged with new technologies such as digital media production, mobile apps, social media, and platforms like YouTube and blogging, and for what purposes or ends?
  • What kinds of social and political activism have queer girls been engaged in or even spearheaded and how might their practices further inform our notion of queer and/or girl activism more broadly?
  • Guest Editor

Barbara Jane Brickman is guest-editing this themed issue. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Media and Gender Studies at the University of Alabama. Her research interests are in girls’ studies, feminist film theory, gay and lesbian studies, and American popular culture. Since the publication of her first book, New American Teenagers: The Lost Generation of Youth in 1970s Film, she has written a volume on the 1978 film musical Grease for the Cinema and Youth Cultures series. She is also the founder and director of the Druid City Girls Media Camp in Tuscaloosa, AL.

Article submission

Please direct inquiries to Barbara Jane Brickman (bjbrickman@ua.edu) and send expressions of interest and/or abstracts to her by 19 February 2018. Full manuscripts are due by 16 July 2018. Authors should provide a cover page giving brief biographical details (up to 100 words), institutional affiliation(s) and full contact information, including an email address.

Articles may be no longer than 6,500 words including the abstract (up to 150 words), keywords (6 to 8 in alphabetical order), notes, captions and tables, acknowledgements (if any), biographical details (taken from the cover page), and references. Images in a text count for 200 words each. Girlhood Studies, following Berghahn’s preferred house style, uses a modified Chicago Style. Please refer to the Style Guide on the website: http://journals.berghahnbooks.com/_uploads/ghs/girlhood-studies_style_guide.pdf

If images are used, authors are expected to secure the copyright themselves.

For more information, see http://www.berghahnjournals.com/girlhood-studies


Driver, Susan. 2007. Queer Girls and Popular Culture: Reading, Resisting, and Creating Media. New York: Peter Lang.

Gonick, Marnina. 2006. “Sugar and Spice and Something More Than Nice? Queer Girls and Transformations of Social Exclusion.” In Girlhood: Redefining the Limits, ed. Yasmin Jiwani, Candis Steenbergen and Claudia Mitchell, 122–137. Montreal: Black Rose Books.

Kearney, Mary Celeste. 2011. “Girls’ Media Studies 2.0.” In Mediated Girlhoods: New Explorations of Girls’ Media Culture, ed. Mary Celeste Kearney, 1–14. New York: Peter Lang.

Monaghan, Whitney. 2016. Queer Girls, Temporality and Screen Media: Not ‘Just a Phase.’ London: Palgrave.

Projansky, Sarah. 2014. Spectacular Girls: Media Fascination and Celebrity Culture. New York: NYU Press.

Contact Info

Dr. Barbara Jane Brickman

Contact Email: bjbrickman@ua.edu


Centre for Disability Studies (University of Leeds) seminar series session: Supporting people with mobility impairments in sexual engagement – what is the role of law and policy?

The next Centre for Disability Studies Seminar series session will be presented by Julia Bahner from the School of Sociology and Social Policy, on the 7th of February in G.28 of the Liberty Building at the University of Leeds at 2-3.30pm:

Supporting people with mobility impairments in sexual engagement – what is the role of law and policy?

 Julia Bahner is Marie Curie postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Sociology and Social Policy. Her project Sexual Citizenship and Disability – Implications for Theory, Policy, and Practice explores how issues around sexual support needs of people with mobility impairments (who have mental capacity) are framed within disability and sexual health policies as well as in political advocacy work by disability rights and sexual health and rights organisations. It is a comparative case study of the UK, the Netherlands and Australia.

 This will be a work-in-progress seminar where a preliminary policy analysis of the UK case will be presented, and a paper is available in advance if anyone would like to read Julia’s work in more detail prior to the seminar. In case you would like to have a copy, please email to cds-bounces@lists.leeds.ac.uk 

Dates for semester 2:

14th March 2018, 2-3.30 pm, Liberty Building SR1.13- Ed Hall (School of Geography Dundee), Relationality and Disability

25th April 2018, 2-3.30 pm- Inclusive Education Seminar (Room TBC)

11th May 2018, 2-3.30 pm, Baines Wing SR G.37 – Professor John Vorhaus (Philosophy, UCL) Baines Wing SR (G.37)


Disability & Society Call for Papers: Special Issue 2019

Disability, Activism and the Academy: Time for Renewal?

Our 2019 Special Issue aims at keeping alive the original values and intentions of the journal to bridge the gap between the academy and activists in the disability arena. Through the pages of Disability & Societywe have always wanted to reflect debates and struggles taking place locally, nationally and internationally to improve the lives of disabled people according to the priorities of disabled people themselves.In the next Special Issue we wish to bring together fresh insights into the relationship between disability, activism and the academy and to explore how this is playing out against the backdrop of very difficult times in which disabled people are bearing the brunt of global upheavals and conflicts, austerity policies and the changing nature of political activism amongst disabled people.

We invite contributions which will examine the relationship between disability, the academy and activism in relation to any chosen themes. Back in our first Editorial of 1986 it was said ‘we do not wish the journal to be viewed as a vehicle for merely representing professional perspectives. Thus we want to encourage the consumers of services and people with disabilities to speak for themselves’. We strongly encourage articles written in partnership for the Special Issue, though this is not a prerequisite for submission.

Submissions might focus on:

  • Examples of collaborative activist projects
  • Inclusive research and development strategies
  • The role of changing technologies in activism
  • How accessible is the academy?
  • Power relationships and the reality of participation in decision-making processes
  • Disability policy and service user agendas
  • The work of service user representative organisations
  • Globalisation and the changing nature of political activism amongst disabled people
  • Papers which seek to place debates within the conditions of oppression shared by others involved in liberation struggles.

There is an established well-informed international audience for the journal. Authors are expected to consider this wide readership and to exhibit knowledge of previously-published articles when submitting their work for consideration.

This Special Issue will be published in 2019.

Submission Procedures

Submissions should be made online at the Disability & Society ScholarOne Manuscript site  New users should first create an account. Once a user is logged onto the site submissions should be made via the Author Centre.  Maximum word length is 8,000 words (excluding bibliography).

The final deadline for receipt of papers is 31st August 2018.
No papers will be considered after this date.

For further advice on the submission procedure please go to:
Disability and Society


Next week’s Disability Research Forum events, 15 and 18 January

This January, we will have three events that are chaired by the Disability Research Forum.

The Disability Reading Group and subsequent DRF session will take place on the 15th of January in Arundel 10212A.

During the Disability Reading Group session from 12:30pm to 2pm, we will discuss the following two articles:

Garland-Thomson, R. (2005) “Feminist Disability Studies.” Journal of Women in Culture and Society. 30(2). 1557-1587.


St Pierre, J. (2015) “Distending Straight-Masculine Time: a phenomenology of the disable speaking body.” Hypatia. 30(1).  

The Disability Research Forum session from 2pm to 4pm will feature two speakers.

Our first speaker is Dr Emma Sheppard from Edge Hill University

Considering Crip Time

This paper presents an exploration of why the notion of crip time should be expanded within cripistemologies that consider fatigue, pain, and brain fog – to include experiences of “pacing,” thinking, and living slowly

Our second speaker is Dr Ella Houston from Liverpool Hope University

Disabled Women and Advertising Myths

My presentation is adapted from my PhD research, focusing on the representation of disabled women in UK and US advertising and the extent to which cultural stereotypes may impact on disabled women’s subjective wellbeing. In my presentation, I provide examples of participant analyses and my own analyses of three ads portraying women with mobility impairment, mental health issues and visual impairment. I focus on the ways in which advertising representations of disabled women dominantly support ‘inclusionism’, to use Mitchell and Snyder’s (2015) term, rather than authentic inclusion of bodily and mental health diversity.


On the 18th of January at 2-4pm in Arundel 10212B, we will hold a roundtable event on the Around the Toilet research project called Toilet Roundtable: Conversations about Gender, Disability and Access. This will be led by Dr Jenny Slater, Dr Charlotte Jones, and Dr Jill Pluquailec. 

In this round table we will introduce the Around the Toilet project (aroundthetoilet.com). We will then offer a series of provocations to begin a discussion about toilets, but also wider issues of gender, disability and access. By doing this we will show that although toilets are portrayed as mundane, they in fact, anything but. Toilets not only reflect but also shape socio-cultural-political understandings of who is and isn’t welcome in particular spaces; they teach us about whose bodies matter; and, indeed, the ways that we are able to live our embodied lives.

NB: although this round-table will be largely discussion based, people will be able to engage in various different ways, including speaking, writing, drawing, or just listening. We also always welcome thoughts on Twitter via @cctoilettalk #cctoilettalk