Call for Abstracts: Women in Movement and Feminisms: Critical Materialisms and Environmentalisms

Call for abstracts: 'Special Issue on Women in Movement and Feminisms: critical materialisms and environmentalisms' in Studies in Social Justice

Guest editors: Renata Campos Motta and Marcela Suarez Estrada

As an example of a global model of devastating accumulation, Latin America presents extreme situations that challenge feminisms to rethink the very feasibility of nature, matter and life itself. Governments of both the left and the right in the region have opted for a model of extractive development based on the over-exploitation of communities and the environment (Arsel 2013; Schilling-Vacaflor 2017). Processes of migration (or expulsion) linked to poverty and violence have been exacerbated by the effects of climate change and environmental destruction. Furthermore, to the limited efforts of democratization and consolidation of redistributive policies is added the growing expansion of religious fundamentalisms as extreme forms of the cultural expression of a hegemonic neoliberal development model. In light of this onslaught on life itself, whose effects reverberate unequally and harm the most vulnerable populations, old and emerging anti-capitalist feminist struggles in the regionpresent new directions to rethink core elements of emancipatory politics under the current configurations of global entangled inequalities (Jelin, Motta, and Costa 2017).

In this context, there has been an increasing interest in turning to debates on critical materialisms to understand feminist struggles in the region, and to link body politics to diverse forms of labour and its exploitation, looking at various scales, such as communities, subaltern territorialities and various ecologies. Second, these feminist struggles appear to be increasingly intertwined with ecological ones. Third, and related to this, feminist movements also appear to be engaging in cross-movement alliances with non-feminist others, which are mutually beneficial (Conway 2017). Feminists are expanding their core agenda in directions such as environmentalism and food sovereignty, while also trying to sensitize other movements to feminist issues (Masson, Paulos, and Beaulieu Bastien 2017; Conway 2018). Fourth, situated knowledges, practices, and mobilizations in Latin America have revealed the diversity of feminisms in the region, rendering visible the intersections not only of race, ethnicity, class, gender and sexual orientation, but also of categories of difference that inform important intersections such as nationality and spatialities – such as the diverse forms of rurality - that remain under-conceptualized. These account for the multiple global processes that result in specific forms of entangled inequalities in rural areas. These power relationships are best understood by combining discourses and material practices, inquiring into the role that these play in both the domination of bodies and nature, but also in their strategies of resistance in the rural context.

In this special issue, we wish to engage in a discussion on the possible contributions of a renewed critical materialism to feminist knowledge and struggles through an interdisciplinary dialogue and through the recounting of particular experiences of resistance to rural inequalities and processes in the region. We ask what a rereading of critical feminist materialism, situated in this moment of abysmal crisis, can offer?What are the new dimensions of politics, agency and difference? Are there openings, nuances, and opportunities for new thinking, acting and resisting in rural spaces? We suggest compiling articles that will address these questions and at least one of the following research problems.

First, we would like to call for contributions that incorporate the multiple relations of ruling (Mohanty 2003; Smith 1987)including power over bodies and environments. Debates on critical and new materialisms appear against this background as a helpful tool to analyze, understand and decry the injustices suffered by women*. We welcome papers that pay a renewed attention to the materialist approach centered on understanding capitalism not only as an economic system, but as a civilizational project with powerful social, gendered, colonial and ecological dimensions. In order to do so, we suggest that papers engage in a dialogue between critical materialism and the feminist analytics of intersectionality. This feminist contribution to discuss the multiple dimensions of inequalities originally called attention to the specific situation of black women within feminist struggles and antiracist struggles in the US (Crenshaw 1991)and is now deployed to critically invite the consideration of how inequalities are entangled and other dimensions should be also taken into account in new feminist materialism.

Secondly, the potential papers should incorporate the contribution of feminist epistemologies, including the commitment to recognize knowledge production as situated knowledge (Haraway 1991)that broadens the conception of materialism. The category “woman” should not be understood as an essentializing or universalizing unity nor as a mere ontological category. Rather, the situatedness in question is to be traced back to her location. The materiality of her experience has direct consequences on their theories and conceptions. This implies not only that knowledge production must take into account the context of the researcher, but also the need to make connections between differently situated struggles. In order words, a feminist science is committed to certain values, namely that of emancipation vis-a-vis relations of domination of gender, race, colonialism (Harding 1991). In this sense, it is necessary to inquire into how theories and concepts used to analyse agricultural food systems are embedded in eurocentrism and do not allow knowledge production from subaltern positions. For instance,“subsistence” is related to indigenous or peasant societies, making reference to pre-capitalist production systems but also to racist-colonial power constellations based on Eurocentrism. The concept has been prescribed since modernity as a pre-industrial societal characteristic; as “natural” and pre-modern.

Third, we wish to enquire into ways of conceptualizing and researching topics that lie at the intersections between feminist and environmentalist agendas. Feminist scholarship has often followed feminist praxis. Here, the concept of social reproduction is an important contribution of feminist agendas to social theories and social movements, including for the understanding of agrarian movements. Critical agrarian studies can learn not only from agrarian movements in theorizing domination and resistance, but also from feminism. Feminist political ecology is situated at the intersection of three theoretic strands. It avails itself of a classic Marxist perspective to consider the political-economic aspect, looks at feminist ecologies through the lens of post-structuralism, and turns to the debate of new materialisms, enquiring into the bodily experience of eating. At this intersection, food sovereignty can be theorized as an everyday resistance, against the background of globalizing neoliberalism. Food politics is a topic in which the combination of feminist and critical agrarian studies appears to provide the greatest insight.

Lastly, environmental issues, global dynamics of entangled inequalities affecting rural areas and their struggles seem to have grounded a profound link between a broad spectrum of social movements and materiality evident in feminist collective action and new means of embodiment. The relevance of analyzing these coalitions, co-operations and independent work focused on the shared goal of preserving and protecting the environment and creating feminist strategies of resistance, is evident against the background of movements. The question of the construction of coalitions is a very ambiguous one, especially considering the wide range of kinds of cooperation, let alone understanding how a collective action is established, and how different movements produce knowledge, conceive and relate to matter in new ways, thus offering a broader view of embodiments and body politics.

If you are interested in contributing to the special issue “Women in Movement and Feminisms: critical materialisms and environmentalisms”, please send your abstract to the guest editors at renata.motta@fu-berlin.deand marcela.suarez@fu-berlin.deby February 28, 2020. Submitted abstracts should not exceed 500 words excluding references. Length and other formatting issues for the ultimate versions of the papers will follow SSJ guidelines.

In case your abstract is accepted we will work according to the following plan:



Call for abstracts

28 February 2020

Decision on abstracts

15 March 2020

First drafts

1 September 2020

Editors comments to authors and possible workshop

16 October 2020

Revised drafts for external review

10 February 2021

Comments Returned

10 May 2021

Final Version to editors

30 August 2021

Revision and final submission

15 September 2021

For more information on this opportunitiy please view the original posting here.


Arsel, Murat. 2013. “Social Conflict, Economic Development and Extractive Industry: Evidence from South America.” Journal of Peasant Studies40 (3): 592–94.

Balée, William. 2006. “The Research Program of Historical Ecology.” Annual Review of Anthropology35 (1): 75–98.

Bhattacharya, Tithi, and Lise Vogel. 2017. Social Reproduction Theory : Remapping Class, Recentering Oppression. London: Pluto Press.

Clement, Floriane, Wendy Harcourt, Deepa Joshi, and Chizu Sato. 2019. “Feminist Political Ecologies of the Commons and Commoning (Editorial to the Special Feature).” International Journal of the Commons13 (1): 1.

Conway, Janet M. 2017. “Troubling Transnational Feminism(s): Theorising Activist Praxis.” Feminist Theory18 (2): 205–27.

———. 2018. “When Food Becomes a Feminist Issue: Popular Feminism and Subaltern Agency in the World March of Women.” International Feminist Journal of Politics20 (2): 188–203.

Crenshaw, Kimberle. 1991. “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color.” Stanford Law Review43 (6): 1241.

Dalla Costa, Mariarosa, and Giovanna Dalla Costa. 1999. Women, Development, and Labor of Reproduction : Struggles and Movements / Edited by Mariarosa Dalla Costa & Giovanna F. Dalla Costa. - Version Details - Trove. Trenton: Africa World Press.

Elmhirst, Rebecca. 2011. “Introducing New Feminist Political Ecologies.” Geoforum42 (2): 129–32.

Federeci, Silvia. 1975. Wages Against Housework. Autonomedia.

Haraway, Donna. 1991. Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge.

Harcourt, Wendy. 2017. “Gender and Sustainable Livelihoods: Linking Gendered Experiences of Environment, Community and Self.” Agriculture and Human Values34 (4): 1007–19.

Harding, Sandra G. 1991. Whose Science? Whose Knowledge?: Thinking from Women’s Lives. New York: Cornell University Press.

Illich, Ivan. 1981.Shadow Work. London: Marion Boyars.

Jelin, Elizabeth, Renata C. Motta, and Sérgio Costa. 2017. Global Entangled Inequalities : Conceptual Debates and Evidence from Latin America. Routledge.

Katz, Cindi. 2001. “Vagabond Capitalism and the Necessity of Social Reproduction.” Antipode33 (4): 709–28.

Linebaugh, Peter. 2008. The Magna Carta Manifesto : Liberties and Commons for All. Oakland: University of California Press.

Luxemburg, Rosa. 1913. The Accumulation of Capital. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Masson, Dominique, Anabel Paulos, and Elsa Beaulieu Bastien. 2017. “Struggling for Food Sovereignty in the World March of Women.” The Journal of Peasant Studies44 (1): 56–77.

Meillassoux, Claude. 1972. “From Reproduction to Production.” Economy and Society1 (1): 93–105.

Mohanty, Chandra Talpade. 2003. Feminism without Borders : Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. Durham & London: Duke University Press.

Nightingale, Andrea J. 2019. “Commoning for Inclusion? Commons, Exclusion, Property and Socio-Natural Becomings.” International Journal of the Commons13 (1): 16.

Rival, Laura M. 2016. Huaorani Transformations in Twenty-First-Century Ecuador : Treks into the Future of Time. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press.

Schilling-Vacaflor, Almut. 2017. “‘If the Company Belongs to You, How Can You Be against It?’ Limiting Participation and Taming Dissent in Neo-Extractivist Bolivia.” The Journal of Peasant Studies44 (3): 658–76.

Scott, James C. 1976. The Moral Economy of the Peasant : Rebellion and Subsistence in Southeast Asia. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Smith, Dorothy E. 1987. The Everyday World as Problematic : A Feminist Sociology. Boston: Northeastern University Press.

Thompson, Edward. 1963. The Making of the English Working Class. London: Victor Gollancz Ltd.

Wylie, Ken. 2004. “Citizenship, Identity and Social Inclusion: Lessons from Northern Ireland.” European Journal of Education39 (2): 237–48.




Beyond ANU

Date posted

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Updated:  7 November 2012/Responsible Officer:  Convenor, Gender Institute/Page Contact:  Web manager, Gender Institute