The New Status Quo: Essays on Poverty in the United States and Beyond"
We invite submissions for a special issue of Feminist Formations on gender, sexuality, race, and poverty in the contemporary era set against the backdrop of neoliberalism, settler colonialism, and global warfare. The collection will examine poverty as it is both created and perpetuated by U.S. policy and practices in the twenty-first century, addressing domestic poverty but also refuting the discrete geographical and political boundaries of the nation state to incorporate a wider terrain and analytical scope.
The start of the 21st Century has been marked by extreme volatility in global financial markets, growing concern about sexual rights in the geopolitical arena, and an explosion of groundbreaking academic work in gender, race, and sexuality within the social sciences and humanities. At national and international levels, issues of gender and sexuality have also taken on increasing prominence in public discourse and the policy arena. The last decade and a half has also been characterized by rising gaps of wealth and access to resources. US-based studies have shown that large numbers of immigrants and undocumented people, non-married, racialized women, men of color, rural and urban children, trans and gender nonconforming people, and those with more marginal queer identities languish in growing states of poverty. Take, for example, reports of the San Francisco Bay Area, with images of encampments of marginally housed peoples juxtaposed against images of dotcom excess.
As many scholars have noted, neoliberalism in the US is linked to a history of racial capital that has been manifested through systems that include slavery, the land dispossession of indigenous people, and carcerality. These extractive systems have produced scarcity and austerity for the many and wealth and power for the few. Loïc Wacquant observes that the deliberate skewing of polity and economy has resulted in aggressive disciplinary action against those deprived of economic and cultural capital, and the transfer of bodies and resources from social institutions to penal ones. It is in this context that the United States, at least, has become a “prison nation,” in the words of Beth E. Richie, a condition in which “we start to blame people for their suffering….criminalizing people who cannot take care of themselves” (2015, 269).
This special issue will explore the connections between poverty and groups marginalized by race, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation, in light of recent economic and political shifts. We differentiate between poverty as a condition and the individuals and communities who experience it. Poverty may be understood broadly as a lack of income, opportunities, health, and education. Impoverished people deploy creative, agentive practices and strategies to survive and resist their circumstances. They may mobilize, organize, and reshape power differentials. Many live richly in a type of undercommons –a space of active sociality that exists despite the broken world, where they can experience “the wealth of having without owning” (Harney and Moten 2013, 122).
The topic of the special issue may be interpreted broadly, and address the intersection(s) of poverty, race, gender, and sexuality within local, national, or international contexts, including relationships between local and global narratives about poverty. We invite contributions from scholars and activists. We welcome queer of color, indigenous feminist, and crip critiques, and actively seek work that centers experiences of poverty in LGBT communities. In addition to social scientific studies and activist-based research and writing, we also invite humanities-focused, art, and cultural analyses of the subject. Articles may include academic essays up to 8,000 words (including footnotes and bibliography) or shorter reflections or critical pieces up to 4,000 words (including footnotes and bibliography).