Aria S. Halliday (ed.). 2019. The Black Girlhood Studies Collection. Toronto: Women's Press.
The Black Girlhood Studies Collection
Desirée de Jesus
Race, Gender, and Embodied Aquatic Histories
During the early part of the twentieth century, Black girls in the United States attended Young Women's Christian Associations (YWCAs) where they received instruction in sports and physical activity. Using archival research, in this article I examine the role of swimming in Black girls’ sports and physical activity practices in Northern YWCAs. With a focus on the construction of Black girlhood, health, and embodiment, I trace how girls navigated spatial segregation, beauty ideals, and athleticism. I highlight the experiences of Black girl swimmers—subjects who have often been rendered invisible in the historical and contemporary sporting landscape.
Looking Outward from/with IGSA@ND
Angeletta KM Gourdine, Mary Celeste Kearney, and Shauna Pomerantz
We are proud to introduce this special issue that was inspired by the 2019 International Girlhood Studies Association (IGSA) conference at the University of Notre Dame (IGSA@ND). At that time, we were not yet acquainted with each other beyond exchanging pleasantries and knowing of each other's academic profiles. Yet we came together as three co-editors and scholars committed not only to the diversification of girlhood studies but also to the larger project of social justice for all. We want to promote such work through this special issue and, in the process, expand perspectives and practices within the field of girlhood studies, as many before us have done.
Southside Girls: Growing Up in the Great Migration
Marcia Chatelain. 2015. Southside Girls: Growing Up in the Great Migration. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
A Praxis-in-Process of Black Girlhood
This is a performative engagement with the theory and practice of Black girlhood. I begin with an excerpt from my play-in-process, crushed little stars, which is itself a meditation on the sad Black girl. I share this process of play not only to present play making as a powerful epistemological tool, but also to blur the boundaries between what constitutes theory as opposed to practice. I (re)imagine Black girl sociality as a site of restoration and healing against the racist, sexist, and ageist world with which Black girls are forced to contend. Accordingly, this project contributes to the diversification of girlhood studies, challenging the disciplinarity of the field by extending ethnographic and sociological perspectives to include the vantage point of performance and creative practice.
A Discursive Analysis of Elena of Avalor
Bringing together discourses of Latina girlhood and ambiguity, in this article I interrogate Disney Junior's specific and ambiguous Latinidad in three key episodes from the first season of Elena of Avalor. This type of intersectional analysis is seldom found in Disney scholarship, despite the relative abundance of existing work on Disney-generated cultural production. By analyzing the ambiguity () and unambivalent structure of ambivalence () present in Disney's deployment of animated Latina can-do girlhood (), in this article, I provide an intersectional approach to the study of Disney Junior animated content and Latina girlhood in contemporary popular culture. I argue that Elena of Avalor is the result of Disney's avowed and disavowed dedication to the construction of Latinidad and can-do girlhood. The result of this is a fluctuation and flexible navigation between specificity and ambiguity within one narrative franchise.
The Impact of Class on Girls in Swedish Secure Care
Maria A. Vogel
Historically, the regulation of girls through institutionalization has been guided by bourgeois norms of femininity, including virtue, domesticity, and motherhood. Using a Foucauldian perspective on the production of subjects in Swedish secure care, I investigate whether or not middle-class norms of femininity, centered today around self-regulation, still guide the regulation of working-class girls. By analyzing data from an ethnographic study, I show that even though secure care is repressive, it is also permeated with the aim of producing self-regulating subjects corresponding with discourses on ideal girlhood. However, since working-class girls are rarely made intelligible within such discourses, thereby making the position of self-regulatory subject inaccessible, the care system leaves them to shoulder the responsibility for resolving a situation that is shaped by structures beyond their control.
While fandom is a dominant girlhood trope, few accounts examine faith in the context of girls’ fandom. Addressing this gap, using a feminist poststructural analysis, I draw on interviews and participant observation to locate fan communities as a space in which Muslim girls can enact citizenship. Combining youth cultural studies, girlhood studies, and fan studies, I explore how Muslim fangirls of the Norwegian teen web-drama Skam (2015–2017) draw on their desire for recognition and their creativity as cultural producers to engage in participatory storytelling that challenges popular representations of Muslim girls. This process enables the production of communities rooted in shared interests, experiences, and identities. I suggest that fandom should be recognized for its capacity to generate new meanings of citizenship for minority youth.
Defining Girlhood in India: A Transnational History of Sexuality Maturity Laws
Iris Chui Ping Kam
Ashwini Tambe. 2019. Defining Girlhood in India: A Transnational History of Sexuality Maturity Laws. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
When the Light Is Fire: Maasai Schoolgirls in Contemporary Kenya
Heather D. Switzer. 2018. When the Light Is Fire: Maasai Schoolgirls in Contemporary Kenya. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.