The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has been a world-altering event, one with fatal health, economic, political, and interpersonal consequences. It has also fundamentally disrupted – if not completely shattered – the ways in which many individuals and groups previously made sense of how they/ we understand and inhabit various locations. Here at Engenderings, we have been thinking about how the pandemic has shifted the ways in which we understand, experience, navigate, and interact with the idea of “location”. “Location” is imagined in the widest possible sense; we are thinking not only geographical, but also digital, emotional, phenomenological, physical, bodily, and political. Viewing this as an expansive site of intervention and discussion, we are excited to launch a new series for the Engenderings blog: “Location: Interrupted”.
Location – in its multitude of meanings – has been a key vector of analysis for feminist scholars, activists, and artists creating work at different times and from different places, in a range of disciplines, moving towards diverse political projects, and mobilising a variety of conceptual lexicons. Feminist scholars of geography have naturally interrogated the concept to think about topics as varied as the violence of border controls, spatial theory, and how location is a dynamic process amenable to disruption and change. Feminist and queer of colour literature has given us the concept of a “politics of location”, which provides a grammar to process how identity determines perspective and everyday experiences of power; trans* feminist theorists have written of the body as itself the primary location through which “we” as embodied subjects exist, bringing questions of bodily phenomenology and materiality to the centre in feminist analyses; postcolonial and indigenous feminist scholars have developed a theoretical lexicon to talk about colonised, pillaged, and stolen locations, and the effect such a location has on the people who occupy – or find themselves occupied in – it; feminist economists from the early days of marxist feminism have used it as a means by which to theorise women’s labour, and seen the public/ private space divide as a structuring belief of patriarchal oppression. As such, at Engenderings we believe that the political, theoretical, and epistemological project of gender studies has long been and remains bound up with questions of location.
This special series is motivated by the belief that the pandemic has altered and interrupted the experience of location. In thinking through how this has evolved, been enacted and experienced, we have identified a number of common themes and discussion points: restrictions on movement (across borders, around countries, outside our front doors); geographical re-worlding by means of vaccination politics and discrimination; increased time spent in domestic space; living in a body in the time of pandemic; isolation, intimacy, and distance as affective markers of location; how political identities have been affected by the pandemic, etc. This is far from an exhaustive list, however it is the generative potential of these topics that have persuaded us of the need for a space to think through the question. Taking up these themes, and the many other pandemic consequences not listed here, we invite submissions on topics such as (but not limited to):
– restrictions on movement
– forced migration
– extreme localisation
– research and fieldwork disruptions
– the working-from-home phenomenon
– class/generational divide of the “home office”
– the shadow pandemic of domestic violence
– vaccination politics / vaccination passports
– living through/with covid and long covid
– fear of covid and its results
– disrupted routines (exercise, beauty, etc) and how we recognise our body now
– where pandemic was not the only marker of disruption with ongoing political conflicts and coloniality
We are inviting traditional academic blog style articles, which should be 500-1500 words, but also (and not limited to): poetry, photography projects, creative writing, narrative non-fiction, and video essay submissions. All submissions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Pieces are accepted on a rolling basis and will follow the normal editorial process described in the ‘Notes for contributors’ section of the Engenderings website, and will then be published accordingly. As an ongoing political intervention, we are planning to continue this blog series and are aiming to extend it into a special issue for an academic journal and possibly a one day conference and/or workshop at the LSE.