Volume 1, Issue 2Welcome to the second issue of Assuming Gender (1:2). Building on the success of our first publication (Spring 1:1), this issue ushers in exciting new changes to our online presence, which coincide with a new collection of interdisciplinary articles and reviews ranging across the field of gender and queer studies. Several new articles continue – and also directly engage with – conversations launched in our debut issue. Sasha Garwood’s article on Elizabeth I’s body at court (1:1) informs the arguments made by Johann Gregory and Alice Leonard in their exploration of the gendering of the Elizabethan stage and its audience(s) (1:2). A broader dialogue also emerges between Jonathan Perez’s investigation of the queering of the urban spaces in New York (1:1) and Jake Buckley’s discussion of the queer body in relation to the industrial and commercial landscapes of the Ford car industry (1:2).
Our new location at www.assuminggender.com brings with it a number of added features couched in a slightly adapted aesthetic: the website now features a contributors’ page; links to the publishers of reviewed books; an index of keywords; and integrated Twitter announcements. As part of our remit to provide a timely analysis of contemporary issues, we are committed to incorporating new technologies and social media into our activities and the journal’s online home. We hope that this more dynamic site will help profile much of the exciting work in the field of gender studies taking place across the globe. At Cardiff University, Assuming Gender has continued its own contribution to such debates. In December 2010, Professor Mandy Merck of Royal Holloway, University of London delivered the second Assuming Gender Annual Lecture on ‘The Question of Caster Semenya: Gender and the Level Playing Field’ to a large audience of staff and students from a number of universities and institutions. A three-day conference on the theme of ‘Gender and Difference’ at Gregynog Hall, Wales in June 2010 also saw much productive discussion on topics close to the journal’s interests. A selection from these proceedings will constitute the next, special issue of Assuming Gender.
The range of methodologies put to work in the four articles of this issue continue to profile the interdisciplinary scope of the Assuming Gender project. Jake Buckley emphasises the need to take the body into account in post-industrial narratives of automobile production, and proposes the category of ‘Queer Fordism’ as a way of conceptualising links between the body, the car, and the industrial landscape. In the light of recent critical interest in Mary Wollstonecraft’s engagement with Islam, Samara Anne Cahill offers a reassessment of Wollstonecraft’s orientalism in the context of her attitudes towards historical progress expressed in the foundational feminist text, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) as well as her lesser-studied A Vindication of the Rights of Men (1790). Johann Gregory and Alice Leonard jointly explore the historical compilation and complications of the assumptions surrounding the gender of the Elizabethan audience in their discussion of first performances of Shakespeare’s Hamlet (c.1600) and Trolius and Cressida (c.1601-2). Katie Rose Guest Pryal offers a theorised memoir of her experience as a female academic in the university classroom. Drawing on the work of bell hooks and Jane Gallop, Pryal suggests that pedagogical rhetoric is intimately connected to ideas of embodiment and eros.
Finally, Assuming Gender is very pleased to publish its first recorded interview with an artist or academic whose practice is aimed towards finding new ways of conceptualising and expressing gender and identity. Cecilia Gordano interviews the Spanish visual and new-media artist Jaime del Val, whose work is indebted to Deleuze, Butler and Freud. Del Val’s installations and photographs attempt to capture the indeterminacy of the posthuman body. We continue to honour our premise to review new and provocative books emerging from the field of gender studies. Both books featured here stake a personal interest in representing the voices of marginalised or disadvantaged groups. Michelle Iwen reviews Minae Inahara’s Abject Love: Undoing the Boundaries of Physical Disability (VDM Verlag, 2009), and A. Nicole Pfannenstiel reviews Sassafras Lowrey’s edited anthology, Kicked Out (Homofactus Press, 2009), a collection of short stories and essays concerning Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) homeless youth.
Between now and the next issue of Assuming Gender, the project will continue to promote important news on the subjects of gender and sexuality via its presence on Twitter and Facebook, as well as through the journal website and its integrated portals. We hope that www.assuminggender.com will operate not only as a location for journal issues, but as a centre for academic discussion. With this in mind, we invite you to submit any letters or commentary relating to the content published by Assuming Gender to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope that you enjoy this issue.
The Editorial Team
Jennifer Dawn Whitney
David Andrew Griffiths