No later than: 22 October 2012

Contributors from the African continent and other developing countries are invited to write on the topic above – addressing the theme of Love: Gender, Sexuality & Power – from either a research or an activism perspective. Abstracts and contributions must be written in English and in a style accessible to a wide audience.  Please submit abstracts to or

Conceptual Rationale:

In much of Africa, ideas about love rarely feature in research and debate about gender and sexuality. Under the surveillance of HIV and women’s vulnerability to sexual violence much of scholarship, has remained concerned with structural inequalities and economic misery shaping the dominant view of a painful sexuality in Africa. Yet at the same time, love in Africa is everywhere, in sight and sound, in the everyday sighs, gasps, thrills and excitements through which men and women express intimacy. Recognising this missing dimension, Cole and Thomas (2009), in their book Love in Africa, ask the question, ‘why is there so little scholarship on love in Africa?’ Taking a cue from this omission of research on sexualities in Africa, this special issue of Agenda pays attention to the question of love, and seeks papers that explore love as a domain of exploration, agency and thrills whilst recognizing the structural circumstances through which love is produced.

Love is not easy to define. It is often associated with affection and pleasures; sometimes it is defined as lust. It involves suffering, heartbreak and loss. Love does not stand outside heternormative power through which alternate forms of sexuality are regulated. Religious and cultural meanings powerfully produce the idealized women within hetero-patriarchy. Love is always gendered as feminine virtues of passivity and male sexual prowess are prized. Within sexual and gendered economies, love and money become intricately intertwined and questions about whether love is money seep through sexual relations. But love is not only about domination. It is not exclusively determined by structural inequalities although inequalities of power do matter to how love gets meaning.

This special issue seeks contributions that provide comprehensive understanding of the sexual spectrum bringing together localized understandings of sexual desires, love and excitement on the continent. What constitutes love in Africa? Where do our ideas of love come from? How is gender manifest in the expressions of love and desire? How is power embedded? How is love used as a tool, a strategy to contest and resist gender roles? What are the particular cultural and social forces that shape love and through which actors express love? The special issue serves to correct the glaringly absent focus of intimacy and love in Africa as it considers a variety of papers, stories, narratives, songs, folklores in different contexts across the continent. Contributions should focus on the complex relationship between love, power, gender and social and economic circumstances, as well as develop our vocabularies for understanding of romance, intimacy, desires and the expressions of sexual intimacy.


Submission Guidelines for Agenda Journal

The following guidelines are intended to assist authors in preparing their contributions.


Agenda invites contributions from feminist and gender scholars, activists, researchers, policy makers, professionals, educators, community workers, students and members of women’s organizations and organizations interested in and concerned with gender issues.

Submissions should contribute to developing new thinking and fresh debate on women’s rights and gender equality in Africa and other developing countries.


Writers need to:

  • Write in an accessible and understandable style;
  • Inform, educate or raise debate;
  • Try to pin down reasons for contradictions and point out differences of opinion;
  • Provide an analysis and an argument;
  • Be logical;
  • Be sensitive to but not uncritical of how gender, class and race affect the reporting of an event;
  • Ensure the introduction encapsulates the contents of the piece and that it attracts the reader’s attention by either making a controversial statement, providing a thought-     provoking or new insight into the subject;
  • Utilize a gender or feminist lens.


We publish articles in various formats, which range from 6,000 words for more theorized articles, which form the main reference pieces in an issue, to shorter pieces with a minimum of 1,500 words.


Formats of Contributions

  • Article (6 000 words max) should be based on new research and contain analysis and argument.
  • Briefing is an adaptable format for writers to write on a wide range of subjects (2 500 – 4 000 words)
  • Focus examines an aspect of a chosen theme in detail (4 500 words max)
  • Profile looks in detail at an organisation, project or legislation, or a person (2 500 – 3 500 words)
  • Report-back covers reports on meetings, conferences workshops etc
  • (1 500 – 4 000 words)
  • Review typically reviews books or films (1 500 – 3 000 words)
  • Interview can record a conversation among a group of people or a one-on-one interview in which the writer asks the interviewee/s questions on a subject (1 500 – 3 000 words)
  • Open Forum is a vehicle for debate and argument, or pieces which deal with argument and difference of opinion on a subject/issue (2 500 – 4 000 words)
  • Perspective is an adaptable format in which writers are able to use a more personal reflective, narrative style (1 500 – 3 000 words)


Contributions should be submitted in the following format:

File type:         Microsoft Word

Font:                Arial

Size:                 10 pt

Line spacing:   single

Justification:    left

Referencing:   Harvard style


All submissions should have the following:

Abstract:          200 – 300 words

Keywords:        approx 5 keywords

Bio:                  100 – word author biography, including email address

Bio picture:     head-and-shoulders photo in 300 dpi jpeg format

Contributors are encouraged to provide photos and/or graphics to illustrate their submission


Selection and Editing Process

All submissions are peer reviewed. Articles, briefing and focus pieces go through a double blind peer review process, while all other contributions are reviewed by at least one member of Agenda’s Editorial Advisory Group.


Reviewers comment on the suitability of a text for publication in the Agenda journal, as well as provide comments to help develop the piece further for publication if required. Contributors will be asked to rework the paper accordingly.


On resubmission, the piece will be assessed by the Agenda editor and a final decision made regarding its publication in the journal.

Please note that Agenda reserves the right to edit contributions with regard to length and accessibility or reject contributions that are not suitable or of poor standard.

Agenda also invites the submission of poems on the topic of women’s rights and gender.


Please note, as per Agenda’s policy, writers who have published within the last two years WILL NOT BE ALLOWED to publish – to allow new writers to publish for Agenda.


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