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Feminist and Queer Activism in Britain and the United States in the Long 1980s

Feminist and queer activism in the long 1980s has recently become subject to renewed scrutiny. Scholarship has challenged the perception that the period was one of quiescence after the tumult of the 1970s. In this edited volume we seek to bring together work that positions the 1980s as an era of formative activism and critical debate in Britain and the United States.The collection will demonstrate how an inattentiveness to the 1980s, as with other perceived fallow periods of feminist activism, has obscured the work of women of colour, working-class women, and queer communities. Moreover, the period witnessed influential arguments around sexuality, the family, and community activism against a political background of rising conservative power and the advent of HIV/AIDS. This work therefore seeks to reinstate the long 1980s as a period of vibrant and contentious feminist and queer work that has had significant implications for contemporary social movements.

The edited volume will bring researchers working in different geographical contexts and disciplines into discussion with one another in order to enhance our understanding of feminist and queer activism in Britain and the United States. We ask how activists asserted their demands for bodily autonomy, equality and political change against a background of resurgent conservatism. How did debates about sexuality, work, and the family play out in different locations and spaces? How can we use queer and feminist histories to challenge the narratives of this period and to understand the modes of resistance that relate to our present moment?

We therefore invite abstract submissions that explore feminist and queer activism in the long 1980s in Britain and/or the United States. In particular, we welcome abstracts that explore the ways activism took place around

·      Popular culture

·      Pornography

·      Trans feminisms/activisms

·      Women of colour feminisms

·      Anti-racist and anti-imperial activism

·      Immigration, diaspora and borders

·      HIV/AIDS activism

·      Organisations and community organising

·      Queer, lesbian, and bisexual lives

·      Work, labour cultures and economics

·      The body, consent, health, sexuality

·      The family, gender roles, children and youth

·      The law, reproduction, welfare, authority

·      Internationalism, organisations, subversions

We are planning to publish the book as part of the SUNY Queer Studies Series, from whose editor we have already received an expression of interest about this project.

Expected Timeline

30th June 2018: Deadline for submission of abstracts.

15th July 2018: Contributors notified of acceptance.

20th December 2018: Deadline for submission of full contributions (6,000 words), which will then be subject to review by the editors.

20th January 2019: Editors’ feedback to contributors.

20th March 2019: Submission of final revised drafts. Submission of the completed manuscript to the publisher for peer review.

If interested, please send an abstract (300 words) and a short bio-bibliographical profile (max 200 words) to the co-editor at sarah.crook@new.ox.ac.uk. We encourage submissions from scholars of colour, and from those whose voices have traditionally been left out of the historical narrative.

About the Editors

Sarah Crook is the Sir Christopher Cox Junior Fellow at New College, University of Oxford.

Charlie Jeffries is Lecturer in Twentieth Century History at Keble College, University of Oxford

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