WSQ, Call for Papers: Special Issue
Amin Ghaziani, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of British Columbia
Matt Brim, Associate Professor of Queer Studies, College of Staten Island, CUNY
Queer Studies is experiencing a methodological renaissance. In both the humanities and the social sciences, scholars have begun to identify research protocols and practices that have been largely overshadowed by advances in queer theory. The fall 2013 “Queer Method” conference organized by Heather Love at the University of Pennsylvania indexed this shift toward methods by reframing the question “what is queer theory?” to “how is the work of queer theory done?”
Evocative in this regard are David Halperin’s works How to Do the History of Homosexuality and How to Be Gay, along with the 2010 collection Queer Methods and Methodologies: Intersecting Queer Theories and Social Science Research, edited by Kath Browne and Catherine Nash. These efforts have pioneered a new conversation, one that links an account of a situation (or “theory”) with a set of guidelines about how to gather evidence to explore or test those particular propositions (or “methods”). Genny Beemyn and Susan Rankin’s large-scale empirical study, The Lives of Transgender People, exemplifies how queer methodologies can allow scholars to envision a world that is otherwise obscured by traditional approaches. Despite these early advances, however, vast opportunities for exploiting the innovations of queer methods remain. This issue of WSQ will take up some of the most pressing of those yet-unaddressed queries as it explores the queer take on research methods in the humanities and social sciences.
The question of method inevitably incites a discussion of disciplinarity, since theories generally precede and largely determine particular research strategies. Yet queer studies, much like women’s and gender studies, stakes its claims by working at once within, against, across, and beyond disciplinary boundaries, which provocatively blurs distinctions between “the field” and “its methods.” If inter-disciplinarity, multi-disciplinarity, and even anti-disciplinarity are all hallmarks of queer and feminist theories, then what promises and pitfalls inhere in the development of queer methods? What inferential and interpretive possibilities are afforded to scholars when we think about queer methods as a distinct analytical approach? How can we queer established protocols while generating new queer methodological possibilities? Finally, borrowing from Valerie Traub, how might traditional disciplinary-specific approaches to methodological scrupulousness and exactitude allow us to be precise about the imprecisions of queer?
While this special issue understands theory and method to be in close conversation, it focuses on the methodological parallels to queer theory. To do this, it will create a forum among qualitative and quantitative scholars from the humanities and the social sciences to discuss either methodological challenges that arise when applying traditional methods to LGBTQ populations or innovations in methodology that can inform further theorizing on the epistemological distinctiveness of gender and sexuality. Conducting research with sexual and gender minorities raises a host of issues pertaining to recruitment (how can we reach hidden populations?), ethics (what are the potential negative impacts of unpopular findings on the communities of study?), measurement (how can scholars operationalize the many modes through which people think about the origins, mutability, and stability of sexual orientation categories?), and meanings (what is the significance of engaging in particular sexual practices?), along with implications for challenging normative conceptions of what constitutes positivist, post-positivist, essentialist, constructionist, interpretivist, and queer social research.
We solicit paper proposals that are theoretical, conceptual and/or empirical on a wide range of topics relating to queer methods, including but not limited to the following:
*What are similarities and differences between queer and feminist methodologies?
*How can queer methods, like feminist methods, overcome biases that inhere in traditional social scientific and humanist approaches? How can they bring about social change?
*When is a queer method/intervention called for?
*What interdisciplinary methodologies are employed by queer studies? In what ways is this methodological whole greater than the sum of its disciplinary parts?
*How can humanities and social science scholars use scientific studies in their work?
*How can humanities and social science scholars use humanist approaches in their work?
*What do we gain and lose by queering established protocols versus generating new queer methods?
*Is queer theory itself a method of inquiry, and if so, what kind?
*How can we count the non-heterosexual and non-cisgender population? And are there ways to approximate random sampling?
*What practices and protocols can we establish for constructing queer archives? And how can we index or historicize the ways queer methods change over time and across locations?
*What methods and techniques can advance queer library sciences? Performance studies? Dis/ability studies? Trans* studies?
*How can “big data” produce queer subjectivities, bodies, and populations?
*What procedures should we employ for queer oral histories? Queer reading strategies?
*How can we queer the case study approach?
*What are the links between queer research methods and critical pedagogies?
*How might the institutionalization of queer studies affect how we conduct queer inquiry?
*How might we queer “best practices” for research?
*How can we assess queer pedagogies?
*What methodologies can we devise for conducting LGBTQ campus climate surveys?
Scholarly articles and inquiries should be sent to guest issue editors Amin Ghaziani and Matt Brim at WSQqueermethodsissue [at] gmail.com. We will give priority consideration to submissions received by September 15, 2015. Please send complete articles, not abstracts. Submissions should not exceed 6,360 words (including un-embedded notes and works cited) and should comply with the formatting guidelines at http://www.feministpress.org/wsq/submission-guidelines.
Poetry submissions should be sent to WSQ’s poetry editor at WSQpoetry [at] gmail.com by September 15, 2015. Please review previous issues of WSQ to see what type of submissions we prefer before submitting poems. Please note that poetry submissions may be held for six months or longer. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable if the poetry editor is notified immediately of acceptance elsewhere. We do not accept work that has been previously published. Please paste poetry submissions into the body of the e-mail along with all contact information.
Fiction, essay, and memoir submissions should be sent to WSQ’s fiction/nonfiction editor, Asali Solomon, at WSQCreativeProse [at] gmail.com by September 15, 2015. Please review previous issues of WSQ to see what type of submissions we prefer before submitting prose. Please note that prose submissions may be held for six months or longer. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable if the prose editor is notified immediately of acceptance elsewhere. We do not accept work that has been previously published. Please provide all contact information in the body of the e-mail.