CFP: Future Genders – Visual Resources Journal

Visual Resources Journal

Call for Papers: Future Genders

Gender in all its multiplicities holds a special relationship with the visual. To see gender is never simply an act of perception, but always an engagement with the complex phenomenology of gender as a lived experience. Gender is a social construct that is constantly being redefined through expansion and change. What was once imagined to be a rigid binary is now understood to offer a spectrum of potentials. Yet our capability to render gender visible in imaginative and inclusive ways remains tragically limited.
This limited scope has stifled gendered ways of being across time. However, the increasingly pervasive nature of the digital image offers different ways of manifesting and expressing gender. This potential ranges from the use of avatars to explore diverse gender identities across multiple media spaces). What makes this new visual landscape of gender particularly rich for the imagination is that it uses emergent technologies to produce new genders and to reframe and reclaim gender within the history of images. This digital liberation of gender is not to suggest that society is by any means prepared for or accommodating towards such ideas. Censorship laws rooted in sexism, racism, and Western hegemony work to render queer bodies, especially femme bodies of color, invisible both on and offline. Such realities mean that any theorizing about the “future of gender” cannot do so without an intersectional understanding of gender.

In response to these conditions, the futurity of gender has become a hotly contested topic. Some, like Paul Preciado (2013), explore the impact of what he calls the pharmacopornographic era’s influence on sexuality and gender. He argues that the “liquid and microprosthetic future of technology” will (re)produce white, cisgender/heterosexual power (in particular white masculinities) rather than decentralize it. Others, like Jose Esteban Munoz (2009), offer hope, arguing that the very sign of expanding ways of being suggests concepts like gender are always on the horizon of change.
This special issue of Visual Resources invites explorations related to the topic of “Future Genders” broadly conceived. The word “future” here rejects what Elizabeth Freeman (2010) calls chrononormativity, expanding it to think about gender(s) across time. We are interested in interdisciplinary scholarship that breaks reliance on existing frameworks, or works to radically reinvigorate gender studies. We are interested in scholarship that engages in visual manifestations of gender outside of traditional media lenses. We are interested in how future gender is informed by genders already lost to us through histories of colonization and white supremacy, and we invite contributions from BIPOC scholars, artists and activists. We are interested in multimedia explorations of this topic framed by thoughtful theoretical engagements. Furthermore, we welcome the submission of experimental writing and artwork for consideration in the journal. To this end we encourage collaboration and are willing to suggest connections should you have a work in progress and are looking for partners within academic and artistic spaces.

  • Freeman, Elizabeth. Time binds: Queer temporalities, queer histories. Duke University Press, 2010.
  • McMillan, Uri. Embodied Avatars: Genealogies of Black Feminist Art and Performance. New York University Press, 2015
  • Muñoz, José Eteban. Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity. New York University Press, 2009.
  • Preciado, Paul. Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs, and Biopolitics in the Pharmacopornographic Era. The Feminist Press at CUNY, 2013.
  • Russell, Legacy. Glitch Feminism. Verso Books, 2020

We welcome papers that critically examine and/or correspond with the following topics:

  • Embodying Gender within VR
  • Gender and Artificial Intelligence
  • Gender Expression in New Media (ie. TikTok, YouTube, SnapChat etc.)
  • Gender in Digital Archives
  • Gender and Avatars in Online Spaces
  • Future Histories of Gender
  • Gender and Posthuman Utopias
  • Gender and the Politics of Representation
  • Challenging the Gendered Gaze
  • Anticipating Future Gender Reactionarism

Abstract of 300-400 words to be sent to:
Travis Wagner (The University of Maryland) and James Williamson (University of Winchester) at
Submission Deadline for abstracts: Wednesday 17th August 2022