Open Journal Systems

Kids Don’t Just Wanna Have Fun. Material Girls, Wild Boys, and the Melancholic Eighties

Editors for this issue: Maria Giovanna Fusco (University of L’Aquila) and Fiorenzo Iuliano (University of Cagliari)

Download PDF

Collective imagination still retains a conventional idea of the Eighties as a decade of uncommitted fun and lighthearted materialism. The years of the close alliance of Reagan and Thatcher under the banner of political conservativism saw the unprecedented conflation of paranoid bigotry (e.g. the rise of televangelists in the US, the passing of Section 28 in the UK), with the explosion of hedonistic consumerism. In the long demise of the progressive and libertarian utopias of the 60s and 70s, even the achievements that former generations had long struggled for turned inward and underwent a process of gradual commodification, thus losing their subversive and liberating power. A whole generation thus found itself enjoying freedoms and possibilities that were taken for granted, as if they were not the outcome of previous battles, and that were experienced as purely individual and apolitical, a set of available commodities ready to be consumed rather than collective rights to be perpetually defended.

The lack of political awareness was not always consciously elaborated as a loss, and therefore emerges in the culture of the time as an undercurrent melancholia, a sort of mourning whose object can never be fully grasped. The AIDS crisis, on the other hand, in a moralizing political climate that emphasized the stigmatization and marginalization of already vulnerable communities and individuals, became a formidable cultural catalyzer for collective fears and bereavement. Despite the current retrospective perception of the Eighties as the epitome of glossy aesthetics and empty opulence, writers, directors and artists in general were producing at the time much more varied and articulated speculations on and representations of the aftermaths of the counter-culture. The confrontation with loss and melancholia permeates the cultural productions of the decade and is represented with different degrees of awareness across many authors, media and genres, from literary masterpieces such as De Lillo’s White Noise (1985), Toni Morrison’s Beloved (1987), Anita Desai’s Baumgartner’s Bombay (1988), and Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day (1989), to outstanding movies including American Gigolo (Paul Schrader, 1980), Birdy (Alan Parker, 1984), and Stand by Me (Rob Reiner, 1986), to iconic music albums, such as Depeche Mode’s Music for the Masses (1987), Culture Club’s Kissing to Be Clever (1982), and Michael Jackson’s Thriller (1982).

This issue of de genere seeks contributions that reflect on the melancholia of the eighties, looking at the decade as a moment in which culture is more or less unwittingly obsessed with a sense of loss. We invite original submissions that address the issue of melancholia and related topics both on theoretical ground and as analytical investigations of 1980s culture in its broadest sense, from literature to movies, from music to visual arts, from TV to comics.

Abstracts of 300 words (in English or Italian) should be sent to: and in CC to: and, along with a list of references and a short biographical note.

For submission guidelines and further info please check our submissions page.

Submission of proposals: April 10, 2020

Submission of articles: July 15, 2020

Suggested reading list

Agamben, Giorgio. 1993. Stanzas: Word and Phantasm in Western Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Annesley, James. 1998. Blank Fiction: Culture, Consumption and Contemporary American Narrative. London: Pluto Press.

Id. 2006. Fictions of Globalization. Consumption, the Market and the Contemporary American Novel. London: Continuum.

Berlant, Lauren. 1997. The Queen of America Goes to Washington City: Essays on Sex and Citizenship. Durham: Duke University Press.

Boyer, Robert. 1991. “The Eighties: The Search for Alternatives to Fordism.” In The Politics of Flexibility, edited by Bob Jessop et al.), 106-132. Aldershot, UK: Edward Elgar.

Cartosio, Bruno, 1997. L’autunno degli Stati Uniti. Neoliberismo e declino sociale da Reagan a ClintonMilano: Shake.

Chambers, Iain. 1985. Urban Rhythms: Pop Music and Popular Culture. London: Macmillan. 

Derrida, Jacques. 1996. “By force of mourning”. Critical Inquiry, 22: 171-192.

Ellis, Bret Easton. 2019. White. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Freud, Sigmund. 1917. “Mourning and Melancholia.” In The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XIV (1914-1916): On the History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement, Papers on Metapsychology and Other Works, 237-258. London: The Hogarth Press.

Horton, Emily, Philip Tew, Leigh Wilson, eds. 2017. The 1980s: A Decade of Contemporary British Fiction. London, New Delhi, New York, Sydney: Bloomsbury.

Koestenbaum, Wayne. 2013. My 1980s and Other Essays. New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux.

Krieger. Joel. 1986. Reagan, Thatcher, and the Politics of Decline. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Kristeva, Julia. 1989. Black Sun: Depression and Melancholia. New York: Columbia University Press.

Kushner, Tony. Angels in America. 1995. New York: Theatre Communication Group.

Landsberg, Alison. 2004. Prosthetic Memory: The Transformation of American Remembrance in the Age of Mass Culture. New York: Columbia University Press.

Leavitt, David. 1985. “The New Lost Generation”. Esquire, May.

Mars-Jones, Adam and Edmund White. 1987. The Darker Proof. Stories From a Crisis. London: Faber & Faber.

Thompson, Graham. 2006. American Culture in the 1980s. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.


The Gender and Genre of Translation

Editors for this issue: Anne Emmanuelle Berger (Paris 8 University) and Giuseppe Sofo (Ca’ Foscari University, Venice)

Download the PDF

At a time when gender studies are becoming more international and are being confronted intellectually and politically with questions of globalization, this issue of the journal de genere aims to reflect on the gender of translation and on gender in translation. On the one hand, we intend to analyse the role played by gender issues in the theory and practice of translation, and on the other hand, we intend to focus on how and to what extent translation has influenced the development of gender studies and the directions they have taken in different contexts. How has the discourse of gender studies developed between languages? What role has the shift from one language to another played in this development, for example, between French and English, but also between such Indo-European languages and other languages from other families), or between various disciplinary languages? Do these displacements affect the way we understand and theorize gender? Finally, to what extent have gender studies contributed to a transformation of languages themselves (be they “natural” or specialised)?

The discourse on translation has often been dominated by gender metaphors or metaphors related to gender and gender relations (faithfulness, loyalty, etc.). It is therefore relevant to study the role that these metaphors have played in the theory and practice of translation, how they have contributed to shape the translated texts, and how they have influenced the reception of the originals. The representation of the relationship between source text and target language also does not escape the hierarchical logic that drives gender discourse and contributes to the establishment of a gender order. Thus, the image of the translation as an imperfect copy of the original, “created from a rib” of the original which remains the sole and only authority, informs the conception of translation as “secondary”.

Yet translation studies are increasingly opening up to a more dynamic representation of the relationship between the source text and its versions in other languages. Translation is then perceived as an operator of differences, better able to do justice to the complexity of the texts by allowing for a plurality of readings. To what extent is this new perception of translation shaped by a culture more open to creative difference, and conversely, to what extent can the pluralization generated by the practice of translation contribute to the formation of such a culture?

It will also be important to investigate how texts “translate” human relations into textual configurations, and how gender identities fit into both writing and translation. In a context in which gender can no longer be defined in a binary way, what influence does this new conception of gender and gender identities have on the texts that we create and that describe our lives, and on the relationships between texts?

The shift from non-inclusive to what today is usually referred to as inclusive writing also confronts us with questions of linguistic and literary (but also cultural) translation, since these forms of writing entail a transformation of the linguistic norms but also, in the long term, of language itself, transformations that aim at undoing the privilege of the masculine (as a symbolic construction) in society as well as in language. The fact that inclusive writing has taken very different forms in different languages also forces us to ask ourselves how to translate these forms. Finally, depending on the context, the strategies are different: “demasculinisation” or “feminisation” of language, gender neutralisation or pluralisation are different, if not opposed, strategies, implying different conceptions of gender and gender relations.

Finally, it would be interesting, in order to explore the plurality of the French term “genre” in the literary context, to consider the possibility of translation being seen as a genre in its own right, that is, as a recognizable form with its own stylistic and structural features, by asking whether the expectations of readers of a translation can be compared or assimilated to the expectations concerning other literary genres.

This issue of de genere is open to researchers of different disciplines, from linguistics to cultural studies, from literary and postcolonial studies to anthropology, from the sociology of literature to educational sciences. Artistic proposals will also be very welcome.

The following is a list of the research areas proposed, which are obviously not exhaustive:

- The role of gender issues in translation theory and practice

- Translation of works of gender studies

- The “gender” of translation

- The role of translation in the literary system

- Gender metaphors and translation theory/practice

- Theories and practices of transformation of the original in translation

- Militant, feminist and/or gendered theories and practices of translation

- Translation and the production of differences

- Inclusive writing

- Translation of inclusive writing

- Textual and gender identities

- Translation as a literary genre: forms, expectations, reception.

The proposals in English, French or Italian (an abstract of 300 to 500 words accompanied by a list of references and a short biographical note) should be sent to: and in CC to: Anne Emmanuelle Berger ( and Giuseppe Sofo ( by January 31, 2019.

 For submission guidelines and further info please check our submissions page.


Submission of proposals: January 31, 2019

Decision notification: February 28, 2019

Submission of articles: July 31, 2019

Peer-reviews: September 15, 2019

Final submission: October 30, 2019

Publication: December 2019


Suggested reading list:

ARROJO, R., “Fidelity and The Gendered Translation”, in TTR: Traduction, terminologie, rédaction, 7.2, 1994, pp. 147-163.

BERGER, A. E., Le grand théâtre du genre: Identités, sexualités et féminisme en ‘Amérique’, Paris, Belin, 2013.

BERGER, A.E et FASSIN, E. (eds.), Transatlantic Gender Crossings, special issue of Differences, 27.2, Durham, Duke University Press, September 2016.

CASTRO, O, ERGUN, E. (eds.), Feminist Translation Studies: Local and Transnational Perspectives, London-New York, Routledge, 2017.

CHAMBERLAIN, L., “Gender and the Metaphorics of Translation”, in Signs, 13.3, 1988, pp. 454-472.

DELISLE, J., “Traducteurs médiévaux, traductrices féministes: Une même éthique de la traduction ?”, in TTR: Traduction, terminologie, rédaction, 6.1, 1993, pp. 203‑230.

DE LOTBINIÈRE HARWOOD, S., Re-belle et infidèle: La traduction comme pratique de réécriture au féminin / The Body Bilingual, Translation as a Rewriting in the Feminine, Toronto, Women’s Press, 1991.

DERRIDA, J., L’oreille de l’autre (otobiographies, transferts, traductions): Textes et débats avec Jacques Derrida, edited by C. Lévesque et C. V. McDonald, Montréal, VLB éditeur, 1996.

D’HULST, L., “Sur le rôle des métaphores en traductologie contemporaine”, in Target, 4.1, 1992, pp. 33-51.

DIAZ-DIOCARETZ, M., Translating Poetic Discourse: Questions on Feminist Strategies in Adrienne Rich, Amsterdam-Philadelphia, John Benjamins, 1985.

DIOCARETZ, M., SEGARRA, M. (eds.), Joyful Babel. Translating Hélène Cixous, Amsterdam, Rodopi, 2004.

FASSIN, E., “Gender Is/In French”, in Transatlantic Gender Crossings, special issue of Differences, 27.2, Durham, Duke University Press, September 2016, pp. 178-197.

FEDERICI, E. (eds.), Translating Gender, Bern, Peter Lang, 2011.

FOURTINA, H., “Le genre et ses poussières (d’or): Considérations sur le genre, le gender – et leurs traductions”, in Palimpsestes, 21, 2008, pp. 9‑19.

GODAYOL, P., POTEZ PICHOT, B. P., “Censure, féminisme et traduction: Le deuxième sexe de Simone de Beauvoir en Catalan”, in Nouvelles Questions Féministes, 32.2, 2014, pp. 74‑89.

GUARRACINO, S., La traduzione messa in scena: Due rappresentazioni di Caryl Churchill in Italia, Perugia, Morlacchi Editore, 2017.

KADISH D. Y. (ed.), Translating Slavery: Gender and Race in French Women’s Writing, 1783–1823, Kent, The Kent State University Press, 1994.

LEONARDI, V., Gender and Ideology in Translation: Do Women and Men Translate Differently? A Contrastive Analysis from Italian to English, New York, Peter Lang, 2007.

LOUAR, N., “Notre Dame du Queer ou du mauvais genre en traduction”, in Palimpsestes, 21, 2008, pp. 121‑134.

MALENA, A., TARIF, J., “La traduction féministe au Canada et les théories postcoloniales: Une influence réciproque?”, in Atelier de traduction, 24, 2015, pp. 107-121.

MASSARDIER-KENNEY, F., “Towards a Redefinition of Feminist Translation Practice”, in The Translator, 3.1, 1997, pp. 55-69.

MÖSER, C., Féminismes en traductions: Théories voyageuses et traductions culturelles, Paris, Éditions des Archives Contemporaines, 2013.

PALUSCI, O. (ed.), Traduttrici: Female Voices across Languages, Trento, Tangram, 2011.

RAGUET, C. (ed.), Traduire le genre grammatical: Un enjeu linguistique et/ou politique?Palimpsestes, 21, 2008.

SANTAEMILIA, J., Gender, Sex and Translation: The Manipulation of Identities, Manchester, St. Jerome Press, 2005.

SARDIN, P. (ed.), Traduire le genre: femmes en traductionPalimpsestes, 22, 2009.

SIMON, S., Gender in Translation: Cultural Identity and The Politics of Transmission, London-New York, Routledge, 1996.

SPIVAK, G. C., “The Politics of Translation”, in G. C. Spivak, Outside in the Teaching Machine, London-New York, Routledge, 1993, pp. 179-200.

VON FLOTOW, L., Translation and Gender: Translating in the “Era of Feminism”, Manchester, St. Jerome Press, 1997.

VON FLOTOW, L., Gender in Translation: The Issues Go on, Ottawa, University of Ottawa Press, 2001.

WALLMACH, K., “Feminist Translation Strategies: Different or Derived”, in Journal of Literary Studies, 22, 2006, pp. 1-26.

WILHELM, J., “Anthropologie des lectures féministes de la traduction”, In TTR: Traduction, terminologie, rédaction, 27.1, 2014, pp. 149‑188.



(In)visible Cities: Subjects, Gazes 
Metropoles and the Point of View

Edited by Giorgio de Marchis and Maria Paola Guarducci

Download the PDF

‘The photograph isn’t what was photog­raphed, it’s something else. It’s about transformation’’, said the American photographer Garry Winogrand, quoted in an article about another photographer – René Burri – by Teju Cole, who adds: “The photographic image is a fiction created by a combination of lenses, cameras, film, pixels, colour (or its absence), time of day, season” (Cole 2015). Knowing that a photograph is always a mixture of readiness, chance and mystery, Teju Cole, a photographer and writer himself, wanders through the city of São Paulo, Brasil, looking for the point of view of an evocative snapshot by Burri dated 1960 and titled Men on a Rooftop, and comes to the laborious conclusion that “in discovering all that can be known about a work of art, what cannot be known is honored even more. We come right up to the edge, and can go no farther” (ibid.). The point of view, the ‘angle’ of a representation, Cole seems to say once he has found the exact place from which Burri took Men on a Rooftop, is not just a matter of perspective: not even in photography, which seems to have a cleaner, and therefore a more precise, relationship with visible reality than other imitative objects, as Susan Sontag put it in her famous essay on photography (Sontag 1977).

The portrait of the city in the arts – literature as well as visual arts, music, multimedia – is therefore a fiction that acquires meaning and shape according to the point of view of its narrator. The gaze observing the city informs the special features of the portrait it presents, outlining hidden traits and spectacular aspects at the same time; private, intimate and unique marks, but also collectively relevant characteristics, which are such because they were originally thought like that, or because of the use people made of them, in time and possibly unpredictably. The city, which is born out of an act of ‘realistic’ planning is, however, also the site of utopia and dystopia, it is an open and changing place, threatening and welcoming, familiar and undecipherable. The urban space - unlike ghost cities, urban ruins from ancient times or the extreme contemporary ‘fake cities’ – is, per se, a manifold and elusive arena because it is crossed and changed by time, because it is metamorphic and irregularly fragmented with its gentrifications and abandonments, re-qualifications and new forms of neglect, homologations and intense characterizations. However, because of its many contradictions and its versatility, the city is a privileged topos in all forms of art whose meanings, we believe, are enhanced if scrutinized thought a contemporary critical lens. Furthermore, often conceived in female terms as a territory to conquer, to explore, to seize, the city is a space originally planned mostly by men, ‘naturally’, for the benefits of male subjects or, at best, for an abstract collective identity codified according to normative standards ruling out all minorities (whether numerical, cultural or political).

The aim of this issue of de genere is to put together a series of articles as heterogeneous and interdisciplinary as possible focussing on the relationship between the point of view and the city, where the relationship is determined by a mixture of one or more connotations defining the gaze such as gender, social class, economic and/or legal status, age, etc. We ask contributors to explore how the metropolis’s polysemy – in any time and place – shapes the representation of the city as a place of integration/disintegration (or both), of stable/unstable meanings (or both), as a site of power, desire, fear, discovery, affection, growth, damnation, anonymity, belonging, exclusion, success or tragedy. We invite contributors from different disciplinary fields to submit their abstracts, also in a comparative key, analysing the urban space in all its possible declinations but always considering a specific point of view, be it implicit or openly declared, and privileging the following issues (or similar ones), in literature as well as in the other arts:

  • public and private spaces: subtractions, appropriations, occupations
  • crossing the city
  • the city’s poetics
  • the city’s politics
  • colonial/postcolonial/neocolonial/decolonial cities
  • mobility and immobility
  • cohesion and cohabitation: inclusive and ‘off limits’ urban spaces
  • the city of women/ of men
  • urban space’s polisemy
  • urban multiculturalism and/or monoculturalism
  • urban crossing overs
  • rootings and uprootings
  • dead cities / living cities


Suggested Reading List

Abbas, Ackbar. 1997. Hong Kong: Culture and the Politics of Disappearance. Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press.

Augé, Marc. 2003. Le temps en ruines. Paris: Galilée.

Augé, Marc. 2013. Un ethnologue dans le métro. Paris: Pluriel.

Bauman, Zygmunt. 2003. City of fears, city of hopes. London: Goldsmith’s College.

Caldeira, Teresa. 2000. City of Walls. Crime, Segregation and Citizenship in São Paulo. Berkeley-Los Angeles-London: University of California Press.

Chambers, Iain. 1986. Popular Culture: the Metropolitan Experience. London & New York: Methuen.

Cole, Teju. 2015. “Shadows in São Paulo. On Photography”. The New York Times Magazine, August 19. shadows-in-sao-paulo.html

de Certeau, Michel. 1984. The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley-Los Angeles-London: University of California Press.

Docucity / Documentare la città

Lefebvre, Henri. 2009. Le droit à la ville. Paris: Anthropos Economica.

Miraftab, Faranak, David Wilson and Ken Salo, eds. 2015. Cities and Inequalities in a Global and Neoliberal World. New York: Routledge.

Nuttall, Sarah and Achille Mbembe, eds. 2008. Johannesburg. The Elusive Metropolis. Durham and London: Duke University Press.

Palusci, Oriana, ed. 1992. La città delle donne. Immaginario urbano e letteratura del Novecento. Torino: Tirrenia Stampatori.

Peixoto, Nelson Brissac. 2003. Paisagens urbanas. São Paulo: Editora Senac.

Sandhu, Sukhdev. 2004. London Calling. How Black and Asian Writers Imagined a City. London: Harper Perennial.

Sontag, Susan. 1977. On Photography. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.


Small Islands?
Transnational Solidarity in Contemporary Literature and Arts

Editors for this issue: Rita Monticelli and Lorenzo Mari


While revising her ground-breaking essay titled “Under Western Eyes” (1986) for Feminism Without Borders. Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity (2003), Chandra Talpade Mohanty suggested that, however difficult, the conversation between Euro-American, postcolonial and other feminist traditions still envisions the “practice of solidarity” – rather than of “sisterhood” or other related terms – as a specific, transnational form of “anticapitalist struggle”. 

Mohanty’s conception of solidarity rests on Jodi Dean’s work, where solidarity is defined by the request “I ask you to stand by me over and against a third” (Dean 1996, 3). The production of a third perspective also hints at the need to unpack “feminist solidarity” itself, by deconstructing its normative limits – producing, for example, ambivalent cases of “transphobia” within certain feminist perspectives (Namaste 2000, Hayes 2003 et al.) – and opening them up to a more inclusive discussion of gender, queer and LGBTQIA-related issues.

This expansion of the approaches to political solidarity – including feminist, gender, queer and LGBTQIA solidarity – also makes it possible to overcome identity politics. As suggested by Judith Butler, solidarity should not be based on the obliteration of the differences between identities; it should be based, instead, on the “synthesis of a set of conflicts”, or, “a mode of sustaining conflict in politically productive ways, a practice of contestation that demands that these movements articulate their goals under the pressure of each other without therefore exactly becoming each other” (1998, 37). While criticizing Laclau and Mouffe’s “chains of equivalence” (1985), which link different political signifiers together on the same horizontal axis, Butler acknowledges the potential of solidarity to disclose the “self-difference” at the core of each political position.

By acknowledging “self-difference” as a basic tenet, this conception of solidarity also provides the opportunity to open towards a transnational perspective – reproducing the aforementioned conversation between Euro-American, postcolonial and other traditions. This transnational perspective is not meant to eradicate the specificities of national and local debates, but rather to illuminate their constitutive complexity. This might be of help in radically different situations, such as the way in which religious and political conservatism in Italy brand “gender” as “ideology” – obfuscating the internal “self-difference” of gender itself, as well as the possibility of national and transnational gender solidarity. A further example would be the academic debate on sexual harassment leading to Sara Ahmed’s resignation (2016) from Goldsmiths, calling for a revision of theories and practices of solidarity in the national and transnational academic environment.    

More specifically, Butler’s call for solidarity as “a mode of sustaining conflict in politically productive ways” directly concerns the field of cultural production and, most of all, literary narratives of solidarity. Here, the representations of transnational encounters – as recently, but not exclusively, promoted by diasporic movements worldwide – often reproduce and/or elaborate on specific forms of (feminist, gender and/or LGBTQIA) solidarity, by anticipating or even contesting theoretical models of political solidarity.

Including very different kinds of texts – ranging from the paradigmatic case of Queenie and Hortense in Andrea Levy’s Small Island (2004) to the ambivalent relationship depicted in Crialese’s film Terraferma (2011) – solidarity might be interpreted through Dean and Mohanty’s categories, Judith Butler’s (or, conversely, Laclau and Mouffe’s) theoretical framework, as well as other approaches (Allen 1999, Scholz 2008, Hooker 2009 et al.).

Recent developments in the field have suggested that political solidarity might be conveniently applied to transnational and transcultural scenarios, enhancing, thus, “conviviality” (Gilroy 2004) or “hospitality” (Claviez 2013).

We welcome contributions investigating both the theoretical approaches and the fictional representations of political solidarity in contemporary literature, as well as in other artistic practices, which address the following issues and related topics:

-       Feminist, gender and LGBTQIA approaches to political solidarity in fiction
-       Solidarity vs. identity politics in the constitution of different political subjectivities
-       Feminist solidarity and transphobia
-       Feminist, gender and LGBTQIA solidarity in the diaspora
-       Solidarity: hospitality and/or conviviality?

Download the call for papers PDF


Suggested Reading List

  • Ahmed, Sara. 2016. “Resignation”. Feministkilljoy (blog), 30 May 2016.
  • Allen, Amy. 1999. The Power of Feminist Theory: Domination, Resistance, Solidarity. Boulder: Westview Press.
  • Butler, Judith. 1998 [1997]. “Merely Cultural.” New Left Review, 227: 33-44.
  • Claviez, Thomas. 2013. The Conditions of Hospitality. Ethics, Politics and Aesthetics on the Threshold of the Possible. New York: Fordham University Press.  
  • Dean, Jodi. 1996. Solidarity of Strangers. Feminism after Identity Politics. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Gilroy, Paul. 2004. After Empire: Melancholia or Convivial Culture? London/New York: Routledge.
  • Hayes, Cressida J. 2003. “Feminist Solidarity after Queer Theory: The Case of Transgender.” Signs, 28.4: 1093-1120.
  • Hooker, Juliet. 2009. Race and the Politics of Solidarity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Laclau, Ernesto and Chantal Mouffe. 1985. Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics. New York/London: Verso.
  • Mohanty, Chandra Talpade. 1986. “Under Western Eyes. Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses.” Boundary 2, 12.3: 333-358.
  • Mohanty, Chandra Talpade. 2003.  Feminism Without Borders. Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. Durham: Duke University Press.
  • Namaste, Vivian. 2000. Invisible Lives. The Erasure of Transsexual and Transgendered People. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Scholz, Sally. 2008. Political Solidarity. Philadelphia: Penn State University Press.


Humosexually Speaking
Laughter and the Intersections of Gender

Giuseppe Balirano and Delia Chiaro (Eds.)

Humour can be a very dangerous activity, especially if laughter works at downplaying minority groups. People will generally laugh at anything despite the fact that somebody – or some specific groups – may be insulted by being the butt of a joke. The biased image which tends to pass through humour construes LGBTI people within negative representations, encompassing illness and death, but also depicting them as sex maniacs or perverts. Through humour, these features are often taken for granted by the whole of society, constituting the origin of prejudices which are commonly based upon the rejection of the targeted group. The repetition of the very same biased representation can lead to the formation of accepted discourses in various societies bringing jaundiced ideological representations to the status of semiosis, therefore no longer visible as negative or exclusionary ideologies.

Focusing on the social function of humour in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities in postcolonial settings, we wish to posit that humour also has the power to constantly strengthen and re-interpret the social, cultural and legal exclusion of some fully-fledged members of society.

Homosexuality in humorous discourses is a very hot topic. However, there has been very little systematic investigation into the relationship between humour and LGBTI people, and in particular, there is no consistent research about the issue in postcolonial contexts. 

We invite original contributions on theoretical reflections, as well as analytical exploration into the language of jokes, stand-up comedians, internet blogs, films, TV series and other written and/or audiovisual materials connected with the themes identified and produced in English speaking countries. Intercultural and interdisciplinary approaches are most welcome.


Suggested Reading List

Balirano, Giuseppe. 2007. The Perception of Diasporic Humour: Indian English on TV. Catania: AG Edizioni.

Chiaro, Delia. 2008. “Translation and Verbally Expressed Humour.” In A Primer in Humor Studies, 569-608. Berlin, Mouton De Gruyter.

Chiaro, Delia. 1992. The Language of Jokes. Analyzing Verbal Play. London: Routledge.

Chiaro, Delia and Raffaella Baccolini, eds. 2014. Gender and Humor: Interdisciplinary and International Perspectives. New York: Routledge.

Cohen, Jaffe, Danny McWilliams, and Bob Smith. 1995. Growing up gay: From left out to coming out. New York: Hyperion.

Davies, C. E. 2006. “Gendered sense of humor as expressed through aesthetic typifications.” Journal of Pragmatics 38: 96-113.

Gaudio, R. P. 1996. “Funny Muslims: Humor, Faith, and Gender Liminality in Hausa”. In Gender and Belief Systems: Proceedings of the Fourth Berkeley Women and Language Conference, edited by Natasha Warner et al. Berkeley: Berkeley Women and Language Group.

Hay, Jay. 2000. “Functions of Humor in the Conversations of Men and Women.” Journal of Pragmatics 32: 709-742.

Painter, Dorothy S. 1980. “Lesbian Humor as a Normalization Device”. In Communication, Language and Sex, edited by Cynthia L. Berryman and Virginia A. Eman, 132-148. Massachusetts: Newbury House Publishers, Inc.

Reichl Susanne, and Mark Stein, eds. 2005. Cheeky Fictions: Laughter and the Postcolonial. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi.

Rice, Laura. 2007. Of Irony and Empire: Islam, the West, and the Transcultural Invention of Africa. Albany: State University of New York.

Solomon, William. 2003. “Secret Integrations: Black Humor and the Critique of Whiteness.” Modern Fiction Studies 49.3: 469-495.

Stanley, Julia, and Susan Robbins. 1977. “Lesbian Humor.” Women: A Journal of Liberation 5: 26-29.


(de)gendering the postcolonial
Postcoloniali e generi – postcoloniali degeneri

Eds. Marta Cariello and Serena Guarracino

For the first issue of de genere, we intend to open the discussion on a broad range of topics which we hope will recur in future issues, in order to set a framework of intervention for the dialogue this newborn journal intends to activate. Postcolonial and gender, both in theoretical elaboration and through literary and artistic practices, have been in an ongoing conversation after the inception of what Chandra Talpade Mohanty called Third World feminism (1988). Yet in the intervening years gender has become a more multifaceted concept (see Butler, Muñoz, Preciado), although gendered bodies are still radically informed by their own location as well as by transnational power discourses. At the same time, while postcolonial literature and art have both, in a sense, gone ‘mainstream’ (as Sandra Ponzanesi’s recent monograph shows), neocolonial imaginaries shaped by contemporary international politics have renewed the challenges of neo-orientalist hegemonies (Appadurai, Balibar, Gandhi, Yegenoglu).
We welcome contributions investigating the ways in which the postcolonial emerges as a gendered discourse, and how contemporary gender elaborations take into account the complex layerings of postcolonial temporalities. Our intention is to map (albeit tentatively) the ways in which gender and postcolonial theories and narratives interface without necessarily coalescing. Their intertwined and/or divergent trajectories can be traced in theoretical frameworks as well as in literature and artistic practices, addressing the following issues and related topics:

● The postcolonial gendered body in literature and the arts
● The sexual politics of postcolonial writing
● Gender and postcolonial: intersecting theories, divergent practices?
● Narratives of transition: resignifying identities in migration
● Whiteness and blackness as gendered narratives
● Genre/gender: a postcolonial écriture féminine?
● Performing gender, performing race
● The threatened male body / the male body as threat

Suggested reading list

● Ahmed. Sara. 2014. Willful Subjects. Durham: Duke University Press.
● Alexander, Jacqui M. and Chandra Talpade Mohanty. Eds. 1997. Feminist Genealogies,
Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures. London and NY: Routledge.
● Appadurai, Arjun. 1996. Modernity at Large. Cultural Dimensions of Globalization.
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
● Balibar, Etienne. “Is there a ‘Neo-Racism’?” In Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities,
eds. Etienne Balibar and Immanuel Wallerstein. 1991. New York: Verso, 15–28.
● bell hooks. [1984] 2000. Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center. Cambridge. South End
● Butler, Judith. 2003. Undoing Gender. New York: Routledge.
● Curti, Lidia. 2006. La voce dell’altra. Scritture ibride tra femminismo e postcoloniale,
Roma, Meltemi.
● Djebar, Assia. [1980] 1992. Women of Algiers in their Apartment. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia.
● Gandhi, Leela. 2006. Affective Communities: Anticolonial Thought, Fin-de-Siècle
Radicalism, and the Politics of Friendship. Durham: Duke UP.
● Gender in Literature. Virtual issue of the Journal of Gender Studies (July 2013):
● Hawley, John C., ed. 2001. Postcolonial, Queer: Theoretical Intersections. New York: State University of New York Press.
● McClintock, Anne, Aamir Mufti, and Ella Shohat. Eds. 1997. Dangerous Liaisons: Gender,
Nation, and Postcolonial Perspectives. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
● Mohanty, Chandra Talpade. 1988. “Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses.” Feminist Review 30.
● Moore, Lindsey. 2008. Arab, Muslim, Woman: Voice and Vision in Postcolonial Literature
and Film. New York and London: Routledge.
● Muñoz, José, E.. 1999. Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics.
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
● Preciado, Beatriz. “Moltitudini Queer” (, testo originale in Multitudes 56 (2014)
● Ponzanesi, Sandra. 2014. The Postcolonial Cultural Industry. Icons, Markets, Mythologies,
New York, Palgrave Macmillan.
● Spivak, Gayatri C. 1988. "Can the Subaltern Speak?" In Cary Nelson and Lawrence
Grossberg (eds.), Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture. Urbana: University of Illinois
● Suleri, Sara. 1992. “Woman Skin Deep: Feminism and the Postcolonial Condition.” Critical
Inquiry 18.4: 756-769.
● Yegenoglu, Meyda. 1998. Colonial Fantasies: Towards a Feminist Reading of Orientalism.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
● Young, Robert J.C. 1995. Colonial Desire: Hybridity in Theory, Culture and Race.
● Yuval-Davis, Nira. 1997. Gender and Nation. London: Sage.