Call for Papers

The Unexpected Caribbean

for a special guest-edited issue of Women, Gender and Families of Color

A superficial understanding of the Caribbean often gets proliferated by the travel industry, mainstream media, and even the current president of the United States, who reportedly referred to Haiti and other developing nations as “sh*thole countries.” Tourist forays to the tropical beaches of the Caribbean, humanitarian and missionary operations, pop culture representations of “voodoo,” and quests by businesses seeking low-cost locations, materials, and laborers exemplify some of the most recognizable ways that citizens of the Global North conceptualize the region. However, far from being exotic and isolated islands suitable only as vacation destinations or the sites of natural disasters, epidemiological crises, and charity work, Caribbean societies have long been sites of intellectual and artistic production. The region has also been integral to the advancement of U.S. and European histories, economies, and cultures. This guest-edited issue of Women, Gender, and Families of Color seeks to expand understandings of the Caribbean as a complex geographical and geopolitical space—a place of surprises and often astonishing developments, historical events, artistry, cultural contacts, and social dynamics.

For this special issue of Women, Gender and Families of Color, we intend to highlight specifically the roles and contributions of women, configurations of gender, and issues pertaining to families in the Caribbean and its diasporas. We invite interdisciplinary work in the humanities, the arts (including visual arts, music, dance, literature, drama, and film), and the social and behavioral sciences. Among the possible topics to be considered:

  • parent-child relationships (i.e. mother-daughter, mother-son, father-daughter, etc.)
  • representations of women, femininities, masculinities, children, and/or families in Caribbean/diaspora art
  • women musicians / women in music
  • women filmmakers / women in film
  • gender roles in religious organizations
  • LGBTQI movements
  • queer respectability narratives
  • humanitarianism and foreign aid in the Caribbean
  • family responses to trauma or disaster in the Caribbean
  • women maroons / conceptions of the female fugitive in the Caribbean
  • women in politics and protests / leadership styles
  • forgotten figures in history and herstories / Caribbean women in the archives
  • women in architecture / gendered spaces
  • the education of children in the Caribbean / the education of Caribbean children in the diaspora

This list is by no means exhaustive. We welcome all unpublished essays that adhere to the theme of “unexpectedness” and apply a gender-focused lens to the investigation of the Dutch, English, French, or Spanish Caribbean and/or their diasporas.

Please send detailed abstracts of approximately 500 words along with a short biographical statement (200 words) to by Friday, November 15, 2019. Authors will be contacted for initial drafts of selected papers (10-15 pages) by Wednesday, January 15, 2020 and notified about the status of their submission by the beginning of February. Full drafts (20-25 pp) will be due in mid-May 2020 for an anticipated publication date of Spring 2021.

Women, Gender, and Families of Color is a multidisciplinary, peer-reviewed publication that centers the study of Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian American women, genders, and families. It welcomes comparative and transnational research as well as analyses of domestic social, cultural, political, and economic policies and practices within the social and behavioral sciences and the humanities. Issues are available in libraries through Project MUSE and JSTOR. WGFC is published electronically and in hard copy in the spring and fall. It is sponsored by the University of Kansas and published by the University of Illinois Press.

For more information about “The Unexpected Caribbean” guest-edited issue, please contact Dr. Cécile Accilien at or Dr. Giselle Anatol at

Giselle Anatol is a professor in the Department of English and affiliated faculty in the Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies at the University of Kansas. She currently serves as the president of the international Association of Caribbean Women Writers & Scholars. She co-organized The Unexpected Caribbean Symposium in October 2018 with Cécile Accilien.

Cécile Accilien is an associate professor in the Department of African & African American Studies and the director of the Institute of Haitian Studies at the University of Kansas. She also serves as the associate director of KU’s Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies. She co-organized The Unexpected Caribbean Symposium in October 2018 with Giselle Anatol.