01/06/2018 – CFP: LGBT and Parenting: an emerging theme?

Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing
School of Advanced Study • University of London

Call for Papers

LGBT and Parenting: an emerging theme?

Date: Friday 19 October 2018

CFP deadline: Friday 1 June 2018

 Organiser:  Robert Payne

Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, LGBT+ parenting has gained visibility as Western countries have debated and, in many cases, legalised same-sex marriage and adoption. Although these steps challenge the assumption that kinship is ‘always already heterosexual’ (Butler 2002), opposition to LGBT+ parenting still exists, particularly the view that growing up in an LGBT+ family is somehow harmful to children. While social scientific research has consistently found that child welfare is unlinked to parental gender or sexuality (see, for example: Stacey and Biblarz 2001; Biblarz and Stacey 2010), studies of literary representations of LGBT+ parenting are generally lacking. This cross-cultural workshop aims to bring contemporary female authors and texts treating this phenomenon to scholarly attention and to explore how they resist, challenge and reinvent ideas about parenting, sexuality and the family.


Proposals are invited for 20-minute papers in English. Any language area(s) may be considered, but quotations and titles should be translated. Papers could address, but are not limited to, the following questions:

•             How does literature challenge (or defend) the “traditional” nuclear family?

•             To what extent does literature necessarily engage with socio-political debates on or surrounding LGBT+ parenting?

•             How far does literature portray LGBT+ parenting as a transgressive form of kinship?

•             To what extent does writing about non-normative family types mean writing in non-normative literary forms?

•             Are there identifiable trends or tropes in literature depicting LGBT+ parenting?


Please submit abstracts of up to 250 words to Robert Payne (robert.payne@uha.fr) by Friday 1 June 2018. Informal inquiries are also welcome.


Short Bibliography

Biblarz, Timothy and Judith Stacey, ‘How Does the Gender of Parents Matter?’, Journal of Marriage and Family, 72 (2010), 3–22

Butler, Judith, ‘Is Kinship Always Already Heterosexual?’, differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, 13 (2002), 14–44

Gibson, Margaret F. (ed.), Queering Motherhood: Narrative and Theoretical Perspectives (Bradford, ON: Demeter, 2014)

Stacey, Judith and Timothy Biblarz, ‘(How) Does the Sexual Orientation of Parents Matter?’, American Sociological Review, 66 (2001), 159–83

Weston, Kath, Families We Choose: Lesbians, Gays, Kinship (New York: Columbia University, 1991)


Organised with the support of the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing

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