Call for Submissions: Performing Lesbian Feminism

Alexis Clements is calling for writing at the intersection of performance and lesbian feminism for a special issue of Sinister Wisdom. At a time when queer theory and politics, popular culture, and ongoing misogyny have lead to things such as the Huffington Post’s live news series hosting an extended segment focused on “The End of Lesbians,” many feel not just the term lesbian but also the identities it encompasses are embattled. However, the political and theoretical legacy of lesbian feminists made significant contributions to the development of queer theory and the embodied practice of challenging gender and sexual norms, among others. Performance has long been a critical tool for lesbian feminists in celebrating, developing, and exploring ideas and identities, whether it be on stage, in bookstores and cafes, or even in the every day. This history includes many artists who have been involved in the WOW Cafe Theatre such as Split Britches (Peggy Shaw & Lois Weaver), Carmelita Tropicana, Holly Hughes, the Five Lesbian Brothers, and the Rivers of Honey series for queer women of color, to more contemporary work such as Allyson Mitchell's performance, installation, and collaboration Killjoy's Kastle: A Lesbian Feminist Haunted House or the ongoing cultural organizing taking place at the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center in San Antonio, Texas.

For this volume Clements is interested in exploring how artists and individuals are performing and/or drawing on lesbian feminism at this moment. How do we enact lesbian feminism today? What does the legacy of lesbian feminism mean to people creating work and living today, among those who were there for its beginnings as well as those who have chosen to take it up since then? How does it intersect with the larger umbrella of queerness and the contemporary understanding of and focus on the many variations of gender and sexuality? Can the performance of lesbian feminism today serve as a counterpoint and/or complement to the all-encompassing ethos of queerness? In what ways does performance also offer opportunities for critiques of lesbian feminism itself? Performance/script excerpts, short essays, creative non-fiction, brief memoirs, excerpts from art projects, visual art, poems, and other forms of expression are all welcome. Please send questions and submissions to The deadline for submissions is Dec. 31, 2015.

Alexis Clements is a performance maker, arts writer, and journalist living in Brooklyn, NY. She founded the multi-disciplinary arts project New Acquisition, and co-founded Private Commission, a queer writing group and publisher. Her creative work has been produced and published in the US and UK. Her articles, essays, and interviews have appeared in publications such as Salon, Bitch Magazine, Autostraddle, American Theatre, The Brooklyn Rail, Two Serious Ladies, The L Magazine, Nature, Frontiers, and In the Flesh. She is a regular contributor, focused on art and performance, to Hyperallergic. And currently she is working on a documentary film project titled ALL WE’VE GOT focused on the spaces where lesbians and queer women gather.

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