Call for Papers QJB 17 (english)

Thema: Anonymity and Gender. On the History and Topicality of Namelessness

Call for papers

Particularly in Western culture, the unambiguous identification of a person by a name fulfils a range of functions in social interaction, which are circumvented or disturbed by programmatic or forced anonymity. As current debates about 'real name enforcement' on the internet show, the possibility to legally, economically, and morally hold people responsible for their actions and statements is above all part of this, or positively: being able to assign and ascribe a person’s own achievements to them (e.g. for copyrighting purposes).

The history of anonymous publication shows that complete anonymity could seldom be maintained; under the conditions of electronic communication and networking, it becomes almost impossible. It only seems like a paradox that, considering this situation, the need for namelessness or masking could grow: anonymity becomes a political issue, which is connected to irresponsibility on the one hand and to democratic participation and power of the (internet-) collective on the other hand.

Ever since a study by Barbara Hahn, it is known which consequences it had for the passing on of women's cultural achievements that naming rights, which were established for centuries, caused ambiguities regarding female name identities: marriages, divorces, and remarriages lead to often confusing name changes. Thus, it was not uncommon for women, e.g. in literary history, to be referred to and passed on only with their first name (‘die Bettine,’ ‘Rahel,’ ‘Caroline’) –if at all. The alleged stability of first names does, however, raise different issues. Recent queer and transgender studies have called attention to the significance of name giving for the construction of gender: the choice of a first name is – although not always and everywhere – connected to the constraint to specify the gender. German law regarding the right to a name, for example, generally requires unambiguously male of female connotated first names, unlike the US-American law regarding the right to a name, gender-neutral place or plant names are not permitted. However, it has been known for centuries that the evaluation of public action, the appraisal of political, social, artistic, or scientific achievements does not happen gender-neutrally. As Susanne Kord, among others, was able to show for literary history, it was not uncommon for women to react to this situation with the strategy of anonymizing their publications.

In the 21st century, anonymity is increasingly defined as unidentifiability, a state, which seems both unattainable and appealing regarding modern technical possibilities. At the same time, traditional identifying characteristics dissolve: additional (partly gender-neutral) encodings, such as customer IDs, credit card numbers, insurance numbers, and IP-addresses have been added to the system of identification via names; tracking systems are able to clearly identify a person or their mobile devices based on an electronically detectable movement profile. At the same time, the possibilities for communicating electronically with ‘fictional’ or ‘borrowed’ (gendered) identities grow. Specifically fading out the category gender in anonymity is also the goal of, for example, anonymous application and assessment procedures. Research in the field of social sciences, which suspects that there is an influence of gender on certain phenomena, is supposed to transport gender affiliation or attribution maybe even despite the subjects’ unidentifiability. In all cases, this raises the question of when a work/an action is separated from the name and who is able to combine this information again.

The proposed volume 17 of the yearbook Querelles wants to analyze the dimensions and consequences of these developments. Paying particular attention to gender historical and gender theoretical aspects of name giving, the yearbook wants to ask for the, on the one hand liberating and on the other hand problematic, aspects that anonymous speaking, writing, and acting has or can have. Furthermore, it should above all be examined whether the historical and current function of anonymity/ unidentifiability allows new insights into the meaning (or meaninglessness) of gender constructions in different cultural and social contexts.

The following aspects could be considered in particular:

  • Changes regarding the dichotomy of publicity and privacy through anonymity/ unidentifiability
  • Anonymity and pseudo-anonymity in scientific publication
  • Namelessness and name changes in historical perspective
  • Anonymity as makeshift, protection, and/ or strategy when dealing with the requirements of publicity in political, social, and cultural contexts
  • The function of anonymity/ unidentifiability in various stages and spheres of life, life crises (anonymous funeral, baby hatch, HIV test)
  • Anonymity and (professional) career (e.g. assessment and application procedures)
  • Anonymity and justice/ necessity for legal regulation
  • The play with gender roles in anonymous (web-) publications and social networks
  • The play with gender roles in anonymous disguise (masquerade ball, uniform, etc.)
  • Anonymity and responsibility: individual and collective name giving
  • Anonymity and crime: rights of victims and perpetrators
  • Gender differences in dealing with recent possibilities for anonymization and collective authorship (‘swarm intelligence’)
  • Anonymity and sexuality
  • Social/political action in groups, participation opportunities, anonymous leaders/spokespersons
  • Surveillance and data protection, dangers for anonymity
  • Anonymous witnesses: in court, as historical witnesses, etc.
  • Post data protection: gender dimensions of the post-privacy-time; transformation of the historical public-private-dichotomy

All contributions have to be submitted via the yearbook’s content management system; a submission via e-mail or regular mail is not possible. The submissions will undergo peer review.

The deadline for all submissions is on May October 31, 2013. Earlier submission is possible and appreciated.

Contributions evaluated positively in the peer review process will be continuously published following proofreading and editing. The volume 17 of the yearbook Querelles will consist of all accepted contributions.

Querelles is place for a methodically open dialogue in the tradition of the Querelles des Femmes. It was founded in 1996 as the first interdiscplinary Yearbook in this field and aims to historically contextualize the contemporary development of topics and methods in as well the critical (self) reflection on gender research. Central topics are addressed through a disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary approach. Additionally, the history of science and the humanities is analyzed as gender history using selected examples. With the conversion to an open access periodical in 2011, the Yearbook implements another innovation. This process is financially supported by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.

Guidelines for Submissions:

  • Contributions should normally be written in German. Please contact the editors in advance if you wish to submit a contribution in English (if possible please send an abstract when contacting).
  • The editors will make efforts to provide translations to English.
  • Contributions should neither be under consideration for publication nor published elsewhere.
  • Written contributions should not be longer than 50,000 characters (incl. blank spaces).
  • A brief abstract (max. 1500 characters) describing the primary argumentation is to be submitted with each contribution.
  • The use of image, audio, and video quotations is greatly appreciated. Please pay attention to the appropriate usage of copyrighted material.
  • The submission of contributions in other formats than text, particularly as audio or video submissions, is possible and highly appreciated. Questions regarding formatting should be discussed with the yearbook’s editorial team.
  • We ask you to strictly follow the Yearbook guidelines for formatting and references.
  • The contributions and the whole volume will be published under the Creative Commons Namensnennung 3.0 Deutschland licence.

Questions and Feedback

The editors of this volume are available for any questions regarding content or organization of volume 17. For any general and technical questions, particularly regarding possible formats and submissions procedures, feel free to use the contact address (anita.runge@fu-berlin.de).