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Solveig Roth and Dagny Stuedahl

Abstract

In this article, we examine the case history of a young multi-ethnic Norwegian girl, whom we call Anna, from the age of 15 to 17 to show how her self-understanding of positionings within her educational transitions illustrates how gendered expectations in a Norwegian context influence girls’ future trajectories. We use the concepts of social positional identities in figured worlds and performativity to explore self-understanding. Anna's case history illustrates how gender performativity comes about out of a complex web of family, school, and societal expectations. We discuss the tensions Anna experienced in her educational trajectory and the changes in her performative positioning when she entered upper secondary school. We consider the ways in which this had implications for her future life trajectory and offer suggestions to educators on how to understand and support the different learning trajectories of multi-ethnic students.

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Queer Girlhoods in Contemporary Comics

Disrupting Normative Notions

Mel Gibson

Abstract

In this article, I look at how comics aimed at young readers can serve to disrupt normative notions, gendered binaries, and fixed designations through featuring, or focusing on, queer girlhoods. In doing so I consider two contemporary series, Ms. Marvel and Lumberjanes. I contextualize these titles against aspects of the publishing of comics, before analyzing some of the narratives and characters in the texts in relation to queer girlhoods. I conclude that the comics offer different approaches and, therefore, differentiated reading experiences for the young readers who engage with them, but that they also form part of a wider grouping of titles that offer diverse images of young people embracing affiliations going beyond family and nation.

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Marie Puysségur

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In this article, I explore the use of space in Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank and Céline Sciamma's Bande de Filles, two films that depict the experiences of 15-year-old girls in a British housing estate and a Parisian banlieue respectively. The spatial motifs related to identity that circulate throughout the films establish a regime of flux, ambiguity, and reversibility that contributes to a depiction of female adolescence as unfixed and unsettled. I argue that both films, in their focus on the lived experience of their protagonists, investigate the landscape of economically and socially peripheral spaces to develop a specifically female approach to contemporary coming-of-age narratives that takes into account the difference that gender makes.

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Claudia Mitchell

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Where to from Here?

Emerging Conversations on Girls’ Literature and Girlhood

Dawn Sardella-Ayres and Ashley N. Reese

Abstract

In this article, we seek to articulate a genre theory-centered definition of girls’ literature, and interrogate its subgenre, the girl's bildungsroman, as contextual, cultural sites of rhetoric regarding girls and girlhood. By exploring English-language North American girls’ literature, we identify it within a framework of genre as social action, tracing the protagonists’ maturation into the socially determined roles of wife and mother. We explore the ways in which the girl's bildungsroman follows a home-away-home model, but with the end result of socially acceptable community integration, rather than the boy's bildungsroman's culmination in heroic independent identity via quests and adventures.

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Beyond the Body Count

Field Notes as First Responder Witness Accounts

Patricia Krueger-Henney

I position critical ethnographic researcher field notes as an opportunity to document the physical and ideological violence that white settler states and institutions on the school-prison nexus inflict on the lives of girls of color generally and Black girls specifically. By drawing on my own field notes, I argue that critical social science researchers have an ethical duty to move their inquiries beyond conventions of settler colonial empirical science when they are wanting to create knowledges that transcend traditions of body counts and classification systems of human lives. As first responders to the social emergencies in girls’ lives, researchers can make palpable spatialization of institutionalized forms of settler epistemologies to convey more girl-centered ways of speaking against quantifiable hierarchies of human life.

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BlackGirl Geography

A (Re)Mapping Guide towards Harriet Tubman and Beyond

Loren S. Cahill

Blackgirls have a long subaltern legacy of being geographers. We have complicated the settler-colonial project of cartography uniquely through our radical placemaking efforts towards achieving safety, inclusion, and liberation. In this autoethnographic article, I trace my own socio-spatial-sensory reflections that I experienced during my visit to Harriet Tubman’s Homeplace, Senior Home, and Grave Site in Auburn, New York. I attempt to unsettle the undertheorized renderings of Tubman by interrogating her personal freedom dreams, liberation geography, and womanist cartography. I then map the intergenerational solidarity that Blackgirls have forged with Tubman more contemporarily through their own space making. I conclude by unpacking what ontological lessons both knowledge producers and organizers can glean from Tubman’s geographic sacredness and savvy.

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Claudia Mitchell

The concerns addressed by the authors in this issue point to the need for a reimagining of girlhood as it is currently framed by settler and carceral states. To quote the guest editors, Sandrina de Finney, Patricia Krueger-Henney, and Lena Palacios, “The very notions of girl and girlhood are embedded in a colonial privileging of white, cis-heteropatriarchal, ableist constructs of femininity bolstered by Euro-Western theories of normative child development that were—and still are—violently imposed on othered, non-white girls, queer, and gender-nonconforming bodies.” Indigenous-led initiatives in Canada, such as the Networks for Change: Girl-led ‘from the Ground up’ Policy-making to Address Sexual Violence in Canada and South Africa project, highlighted in four of the eight articles in this issue, along with the insights and recommendations offered in the articles that deal with the various positionalities and contexts of Latinx and Black girls, can be described as creating a new trail. In using the term trail, here, I am guided by the voices of the Indigenous researchers, activists, elders, and community scholars who participated in the conference called More Than Words in Addressing Sexual and Gender-based Violence: A Dialogue on the Impact of Indigenous-focused, Youthled Engagement Through the Arts on Families and Communities held in Montreal. Their use of the term trail suggests a new order, one that is balanced between the ancestors and spiritual teachings on the one hand, and contemporary spaces that need to be decolonized on the other with this initiative being guided by intergenerationality and a constant interrogation of language. The guest editors of this special issue and all the contributors have gone a long way on this newly named trail.

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Imagining Alternative Spaces

<em>Re-searching</em> Sexualized Violence with Indigenous Girls in Canada

Anna Chadwick

“Sisters Rising” is an Indigenous-led, community-based research study focused on Indigenous teachings related to sovereignty and gender wellbeing. In this article, I reflect on the outcomes of re-searching sexualized violence with Indigenous girls involved with “Sisters Rising” in remote communities in northern British Columbia, Canada. Through an emergent methodology that draws from Indigenous and borderland feminisms to conduct arts- and land-based workshops with girls and community members, I seek to unsettle my relationships to the communities with which I work, and the land on which I work. I look to arts-based methods and witnessing to disrupt traditional hegemonic discourses of settler colonialism. I reflect on how (re)storying spaces requires witnessing that incorporates (self-)critical engagement that destabilizes certainty. This position is a critical space in which to unsettle conceptual and physical geographies and envision alternative spaces where Indigenous girls are seen and heard with dignity and respect.

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Love as Resistance

Exploring Conceptualizations of Decolonial Love in Settler States

Shantelle Moreno

In this article, I weave together connections between notions of decoloniality and love while considering implications for decolonial praxis by racialized people settled on Indigenous lands. Through a community-based research project exploring land and body sovereignty in settler contexts, I engaged with Indigenous and racialized girls, young women, 2-Spirit, and queer-identified young adults to create artwork and land-based expressions of resistance, resurgence, and wellbeing focusing on decolonial love. Building on literature from Indigenous, decolonizing, feminist, and post-colonial studies, I unpack the ways in which decolonial love is constructed and engaged in by young Indigenous and racialized people as they navigate experiences of racism, sexism, cultural assimilation, and other intersecting forms of marginalization inherent in colonial rule. I uphold these diverse perspectives as integral components in developing more nuanced and situated understandings of the power of decolonial love in the everyday lives of Indigenous and racialized young peoples and communities.