Calls for Papers

Special Issue on Emancipation:
Rethinking Subjectivity, Power and Change

February 15, 2014

Volume 30, Issue 3, Summer 2015
Guest Editor: Susanne Lettow, University of Paderborn (Germany)

Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy seeks contributions for a special issue on “Emancipation: Rethinking Subjectivity, Power and Change.” ‘Emancipation’ is one of the most iridescent concepts of political language and has – from the late eighteenth century on – inspired feminist politics, theory and critique. While the concept of emancipation almost vanished from political discourse in the wake of the critiques of the ambivalent legacies of the Enlightenment and Modernity, the concept resurfaces again in the present which is shaped by the multiple and highly gendered crises of politics, economies, nature and culture. A re-evaluation of ‘emancipation’ and its political and philosophical implications from a feminist perspective is thus imperative.

From the early nineteenth century on, women’s movements and feminist theorists have used the concept of emancipation in order to articulate struggles for social and political change as well as for transformations of subjectivities and modes of living. At the same time, feminists have been highly critical about philosophical and political assumptions about subjectivity, power and change underlying modern narratives of emancipation. Within different historical, cultural and political contexts, feminist uses of the concept of emancipation have both challenged and intersected with ideas of emancipation as articulated by other social and cultural movements – be it the struggles for Jewish Emancipation in the early 19th century, abolitionism, the socialist movements of the 19th and 20th centuries or anti-colonialism. In light of the rich and ambivalent history of the concept, the question raises in how far ‘emancipation’ could be today specified as an intersectional concept.
In particular, a fresh debate about the ideas of subjectivity, power and change that have shaped modern narrations of emancipation, as well as feminist critiques of these narrations, will contribute to a re-evaluation of the concept and help feminist theory and politics address current political and philosophical challenges.
Hypatia welcomes contributions from history of ideas, social and political philosophy, ethics, aesthetics, and other areas of philosophy and feminist theory. Papers that explore the ambivalences, problems and possibilities from within or with regard to diverse cultural and geopolitical contexts, and discuss the various intersectional aspects of ‘emancipation’ are highly welcome. Possible topics may include:

  • Emancipation and subjectivity
  • Emancipation and emotions
  • Emancipation, desire and sexuality
  • Emancipation, power and domination
  • Emancipation, democracy and the state
  • Emancipation, empire, and imperialism
  • Emancipation, war and peace
  • Emancipation and religion
  • Emancipation and race
  • Emancipation, slavery and abolitionism
  • Emancipation and the economy
  • Emancipation and (global) mobilities
  • Emancipation, history and time
  • Emancipation and feminist utopias
  • Emancipation and nonhuman nature
  • Emancipation, science and technology

Papers should be no more than 8000 words, inclusive of notes and bibliography, prepared for anonymous review, and accompanied by an abstract of no smore than 200 words. For details please see Hypatia’s submission guidelines.

Please submit your paper to: When you submit, make sure to select “Emancipation” as your manuscript type, and also send an email to the guest editor indicating the title of the paper you have submitted: Susanne Lettow (