Call for Papers

Australian Feminist Law Journal: A Critical Legal Journal. Volume 47.1, June 2021

Special Issue Editors: Dr Gina Heathcote, Dr Paola Zichi, Alice Finden

This special issue will bring together research addressing hygiene, coloniality and law, and their instrumentalisation as regulatory tools of governance. Discursive understandings of morality and sexual mores were central in Victorian biopolitical rendering of societies and the colonial regulation of Empire. This manifested as the demonisation of gendered, racialised and classed communities through laws regulating homosexuality, sex work, marriage and citizenship, practices of eugenics and social cleansing orders. Central to these legal regimes were the depiction of ‘immoral’ subjects and areas as unhygienic, uncivilised and contagious. Moral panics cast disease as straddling the bodies and minds of anti-colonial resistors while justifying ‘necessary’ violence through emergency laws. This often paralleled the imposition of colonial laws to regulate sexuality and legal transplants that were assumed civilised through gender reforms targeting the regulation of women’s sexuality.

Today, these constructions of morality are still central to much contemporary law making in former colonising states, former colonies, and settler colonies. This is made evident in neoliberal austerity and gentrification measures and the labelling of certain aesthetics and practices as extremist, irrational and immoral. Immorality and extremism in contemporary counter-terrorism discourses, for example, is often pathologised as a genetic ‘contagion’ whereby a ‘patient zero’ can be identified as contaminating others in close proximity. Bodily torture and violence is allowed for through types of law that render certain subjects as infected and anti-democratic. At the same time transnational regimes around trafficking, sex work mobilities and migrations, health/ sanitation controls and labour rights continue to centre regressive understandings of sexuality that perpetuate entwined medical, legal and moral discourses.

This special issue will draw together interdisciplinary papers that address hygiene, coloniality and law, with continuities that might dislodge progressive legal time. Hygiene and morality cut across technologies of race, gender, class and sexuality and so are helpful in understanding how law functions through managing certain characteristics. Dislodging the hegemonic narrative of a progressive and civilising legal temporality is crucial for imagining resistance and alternative futures. We encourage submissions that think through these themes through engagements with queerness and sexuality; temporalities and spatialities of law; legal transplants and colonial legal remnants; medical legal anthropology; creative and interrogative methodologies; history; feminist science fiction; hybridity.

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted to by July 31 2020.  Manuscripts will be due by 1 October 2020.  Earlier submissions are welcome.

As an international Critical Legal Journal the AFLJ publishes research informed by critical theory, cultural and literary theory, jurisprudential, postcolonial and psychoanalytic approaches, amongst other critical research practices. 

The Australian Feminist Law Journal referees all manuscripts submitted for publication and follows the double-blind refereeing procedure. Referees will be selected with expertise in the author’s area of scholarship. Authors are requested to place their name and affiliation on a separate page, and eliminate any self-identifying citation of one’s own work. This can be done by leaving such citations or reference material blank or otherwise referring to the work in a way that disguises the name of the author. The journal will not accept manuscripts for consideration that are already under consideration by another journal.

The Australian Feminist Law Journal is published by Routledge/Taylor and Francis UK. Please direct general academic journal enquiries to the Editor in Chief: or the Managing Editors at An electronic version of the journal style guide can be found on the AFLJ Griffith University website. For subscription enquiries, email

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