Contributors from the African continent and other developing countries are invited to write on the topic above – addressing the theme of Gender and – 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

Alternately you could e-mail abstracts to

No later than 26 August 2013

GUEST EDITORS: Dr Nyna Amin and Dr D (Betty) Govinden

Conceptual Rationale:

Against the marginalisation and silencing of women by the dominant male depictions of life and lived experiences, feminist writing has sought to cut across an androcentric and mono-dimensional view of the world. The question of who speaks and who can speak for whom have and continue in the present to raise the issue of unequal power relationships between women and men and different groups of women in the act of writing by women. The contexts from which women write are diverse and situated in relation to class, race and gender. Women’s feminist writing seeks to speak back to dominant narratives which erase their voices, in relation to the North/South and the metropole/periphery. The critical practice of deconstructing and challenging mainstream versions of history has disallowed the possibility of apolitical or neutral interpretations of women’s lives under patriarchy. Agenda as a feminist project therefore encourages voices from the margins and the narratives of women’s struggles to organise against gender oppression and other forms of inequality in Africa.

Agenda believes it is timely to revisit the very core foundation of feminist history; namely the material and lived experiences of women that have offered unique insight into individuals, institutions, and communities. We invite coverage on life writing in a variety of forms. Life writing has in some ways become a term that has supplanted its related forms —biography, autobiography, auto/biography, memoir, journals, diaries, letters, testimonies, trauma accounts, prison narratives, coming-out stories, and works in media other than print (photo essays).

We are also particularly interested in how life-writing forms are being deployed to make sense of the fraught and traumatic historical and political conditions of postcolonial Africa. In what ways does African life writing challenge northern forms of life writing? How does life writing reflect the varied experiences of being a woman (wife, mother, widow, single women, daughter, etc)? How does social class, race, age, ethnicity and other cultural differences shape and influence life writing? What is the interface between the public and private domains in the construction of life writing? Can we fully recover “lost lives” in life writing?
Taking a broad multidisciplinary approach to the theme, we envisage a strong edition that will include unpublished writing (including those from oral contexts) that offers new and fresh perspectives on African lives in its broadest possible feminist dimensions. We encourage papers that also cover a variety of media (film, graphic, text, writing, image, performance; including online life writing).
This edition calls for papers on writings on [or by] individuals from across the spectrum of lived experience, and encourages contributors to cast a wide and inclusive gaze. We invite robust engagement with new perspectives on autobiography, biography, life writing, including theories of life writing.
The Special Issue invites critical reflections related to memory work and memory making in respect of identity construction, heritage, personality, political, social and religious conscientisation in the context of being gendered. This is an opportunity to rescript old anxieties and refashion new constructions of identity, self and action. Contributors may consider some of the critical issues and discourses in gendered and feminist life writing.
The edition invites new perspectives on gender and feminisms through the following suggested categories, among others:

• autobiography
• biography
• life writing
• theories of life writing
• writing as memory work
• writing as therapy
• writing as healing
• writing as transgression
• writing as aesthetics
• writing to disrupt
• writing as fragmentation and assemblage
• writing as reconstruction
• writing as deconstruction
• writing as political
• writing as personal
• writing as rewriting
• writing and language
• uses of life writing for other forms of research

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 in Agenda.

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