WSQ, Call for Papers: Special Issue


Guest Editors:  Alyson Cole, Queens College & the Graduate Center, CUNY

*Victoria Hattam, NSSR, New School*

Worlds of work are changing. The 2008 recession amplified the growing sense of a crisis as unemployment rates, gini co-efficients, and debt soared, while organized labor and stock markets crashed—and throughout wages stagnated (Piketty; Krugman). Some activists and scholars view the ?third industrial revolution? optimistically, seeing new possibilities within the ruins of old economic forms as earlier divisions of labor between design and production, home and work, urban and rural, reproductive and productive labor transform (Anderson; Lindtner; Zimmer).

Others see precarity as the dominant motif, manifesting in underemployment, deskilling, and the absence of living wages. As the neoliberal state transfers responsibilities formerly under its purview to corporations, corporations further erode benefits, job security and pensions. While still a contested neologism, some have argued there is a new class formation, the ?precariate? (Standing; Milkman). New insecurities reproduce and exacerbate older conceptions of devalued labor as always already raced, gendered, and inadequately compensated (Boris, Nadasen). The neoliberal state?s relationship with business also redistributes and reconfigures citizenship (Ong). And, longstanding feminist concerns are reanimated ? the relationship between home and work alter again, reshaping gendered divisions of labor. As work changes, issues of power and authority are being reworked, or perhaps simply repackaged.  Do we require a profound reorientation to work? Should we question our love of work itself rather than worrying about whose work, for what purposes, and at what price (Weeks)? And, what social transformation might less work yield?

Precarity and vulnerability have become keywords. In what ways have these terms displaced earlier assessments of exploited workers and alienated labor? How does precarity intersect with the increased attention given to design and creativity as catalysts of economic growth? What has been gained and what lost in these semantic shifts? Is there a longer history of precarity? The politics of the economic and material fuels the preoccupation with precarity, but too often remains in the background. This issue of WSQ aims to shift focus by bringing front and center the political work of precarity and the precarity of work itself.

We invite submissions that address the question of precarious work, in the humanities as well as social sciences.  Scholarly articles, fictional
pieces, poetry and artwork should engage with gendering, broadly construed.  Academic and fictional pieces that treat contemporary questions concerning women, gender, sexuality, feminism, LGBTQ issues and/or disability studies are especially welcome. Themes include, but are not limited to the following:

– Precariate, proletariat, lumpen, alienated labor
– Working wage, living wage, minimum wage
– Care work, affective labor/emotional labor, women?s work
– Divisions of Labor, design and production, home and work, rural and urban
– Wages of Whiteness, slave labor, sweatshops
– Artistic production, creative work, collaborators on collaboration
– Undocumented workers, migrant labor, domestic workers
– Day labor versus salaried labor, contingent labor, adjuncting
– Maker movements/ ?Live, Work, Play?/ artisanal manufacturing
– Off-Shoring/reshoring/co-locating
– Deskilling, locavore
– Sex Work, surrogacy, trafficking
– Labor unions, freelancer unions, workers? collectives
– Homework, housework, shitwork
– Global supply chains, global care chains
– Contract labor, sexual contract, racial contract, commodified labor
– Leisure, relaxing, not working

Scholarly articles and inquiries should be sent to guest issue editors Alyson Cole and Victoria Hattam at [email protected]com. We will give priority consideration to submissions received by September 15, 2016. Please send complete articles, not just abstracts. Submissions should not exceed 6,360 words (including un-embedded notes, works cited, and a 100-word abstract) and should comply with the formatting guidelines at

Poetry submissions should be sent to WSQ’s poetry editor, Patricia Smith, at WSQpoetry [at] by September 15, 2016. 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 [email protected] by September 15, 2016. 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.

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