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Call for abstract submissions: Expanding Intersex Studies Edited Collection

Deadline for submission of abstracts for consideration: April 2nd 2024.

Please submit an abstract of 400-500 words, indicative references (not included in the word count), to expandingintersexstudies@gmail.com


Intersex studies are an emergent field that developed in the 1990s and early 2000s, mainly as a critical response to the pathologisation of intersex people (Chase, 1998; Fausto Sterling 2000; Grabham, 2007; Cabral Grinspan & Benzur, 2013[2005]; Malatino, 2019). This field has changed the ways intersex people and their bodies are addressed, moving from being considered as medical objects of research to becoming active subjects that perform research as well as activism (Monro et al., 2021). As such, intersex studies articulate the debate and bring into focus issues such as rights, autonomy, subjectivity and social movements, among others. It insists on intersex people’s knowledge and epistemologies and questions the medical authority over intersex bodies (Cabral Grinspan & Benzur, 2013[2005]). This growing body of literature in sciences and humanities has started a new conversation on intersex issues, arguably one directed towards a more ‘critical’ approach that goes beyond the scope of medical practises and clinical research (Montenegro, et al., 2024).

As social movements and researchers highlight, for the larger part of the 20th century, intersex people have only been seen and understood through medical lenses, which has also impacted how legislation is articulated and how society has perceived intersex people. From the ‘optimal gender policy’ to the Chicago consensus statement, intersex bodies have been institutionalised within the medical discipline. Intersex people face numerous challenges and barriers throughout their lives. Among the main abuses and claimsare the unnecessary and non-consensual medical interventions aimed to ‘normalise’ their bodies, lack of equality before the law, and a lack of recognition of their human rights as well as stigma and discrimination (Carpenter, 2018; Bauer et al., 2019; Crocetti et al., 2020).

Despite this emerging field of enquiry, intersex-related research has mostly focused on the medical and clinical fields, leaving other approaches behind, or invisible, until recently.

Emerging critical intersex studies aim to demonstrate how the medicalisation of intersex bodies and the jurisdiction of medical power classify intersex variations as ‘disorders’ and intersect with other systems of oppression such as gender, race, class, disability and religion which restrain the rights and autonomy of intersex people. Made of a community of scholars, activists and researchers, critical intersex studies are creating knowledge from their own lived experience or ally position (Wolf et al., 2022; Monro et al., 2021), aiming to better represent the experiences, needs and aspiration of intersex people.

Collection aims

This collection aims to bring together scholars, advocates, activists and other experts from a variety of disciplines and approaches to explore the various aspects of intersex rights recognition, including the legal, medical, social and cultural aspects.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Intersex people’s lives, experiences and subjectivities.
  • Theories related to intersex issues.
  • The emergence of intersex activism, advocacy and politics.
  • Protection of intersex human rights and the rule of law and policy.
  • Intersex children and families; Intersex medical treatments, consent and interdisciplinary approaches.
  • The representation of intersex experiences in the media, arts, culture and religion.
  • Intersex inclusion in sports, education and other public areas.
  • Intersex research and ethics.
  • Innovative intersecting research approaches.