Special issue of Contemporary Southeastern Europe: ‘The Eurovision Song Contest at 60: Gender and Geopolitics in Contemporary Europe’

Call for papers: special issue of Contemporary Southeastern Europe on ‘The Eurovision Song Contest at 60: Gender and Geopolitics in Contemporary Europe

In the last two decades or so, issues of gender at Eurovision have become increasingly visible. Often these have related to the (stated or perceived) sexuality, gender identity or gender expression of performers, but also to a broader notion the contest is an affirmation of camp and queer, which certain host cities and broadcasters have even integrated into the hosting of the event (for instance in Sweden and Denmark).

Diverse representations of gender are not the preserve of Western European entries, however, and countries such as Serbia, Ukraine, Slovenia, Israel and Russia have sent performers who garnered attention for reasons of (claimed or perceived) gender non-conformity, ambiguity or queerness. Yet in recent years the song contest has formed a discursive space around which to discuss human rights, in particular LGBT rights, often in terms of an East/West binary.

The global economic crisis has accentuated North/South divisions in the Eurozone and impacted upon participation in recent Eurovision Song Contests. Nonetheless a purported “East/West” binary remains both tangible and topical with regard to attitudes towards sexual and gender diversity, giving rise to discussions of a “liberal West” and a “conservative East”. Such discourse crystallised in the wake of the victory of Austria’s Conchita Wurst in May 2014 with high-profile negative reactions from individuals from “Eastern” states. Contrary to this, however, the Austrian winner scored solidly amongst “Eastern” televoters.

The open access journal Contemporary Southeastern Europe based at the University of Graz is planning to publish a special issue edited by Catherine Baker (University of Hull) to coincide with the Eurovision in Vienna in May 2015 (see current issue at: http://www.suedosteuropa.uni-graz.at/cse/en/current_issue). We are seeking contributions that deal with issues of gender and geopolitics at Eurovision, with particular reference to Southeastern Europe, though there is scope for some papers in the issue to have a different geographical focus.

Please send a short abstract (max 400 words) and biographical note (max 200 words) to Catherine Baker at cbakertw1@googlemail.com by 10 December 2014. Selected papers will need to be submitted by 20 February 2015 to allow for the completion of double blind peer review, possible corrections and formatting. (Deadlines need to be strictly adhered to in order to ensure the volume is published to coincide with the Eurovision next May).