Feminist Media Histories: An International Journal 

Special Issue on Gender, Media, and Developmentalism Guest Editors: Dalila Missero & Masha Salazkina

With this special issue of Feminist Media Histories we invite contributions that explore the historical role of gender within media production explicitly engaged in developmentalist projects. As an ideological and political framework, developmentalism became especially prominent between the 1950s and the 1990s to conceptualize, discuss, and tackle global inequality. Based on the certainty that economic growth inevitably leads to social progress and modernization, it has been a dominant paradigm driving state and inter-governmental support for various institutional media projects, especially in the context of Asia, Africa, and Latin America on both sides of the Iron Curtain. In a more latent way, developmentalist discourses and representational regimes—as well as their critiques—have also been central to much film and media production in these regions, from radical, grassroots, or independent media collectives to commercial filmmaking. With the inauguration of the United Nations Decade of Women (1975-1985), the issue of gender inequality became increasingly central in developmentalist debates and policies, in tandem with and in response to the agenda of the international women’s movement. Media representations and infrastructures have played a key role in shaping these intersecting processes in a way that remains to be fully explored in media history.

Analysis of developmentalist media, especially with regards to questions of gender, are  also in continuity with post-colonial and intersectional inquiry across and beyond film and  media studies. The rejection of the basic tenets of developmentalism embedded in the  colonial matrix of power (key among them universalism and the belief in economic  indicators as a measure of progress) form the core of the decolonial critique, which  emerged around the same period. The status of indigeneity as a distinct epistemological  position, political project, and a way of life likewise stands in sharp conflict with developmentalist projects promoted by states and international institutions intended to  overcome “underdevelopment.” Bringing these perspectives together, decolonial  feminism’s attention to patriarchal, misogynistic, and homophobic tensions at work in anti-colonial and anti-capitalist struggles has foregrounded intersectional forms of oppression and shifted the locus of knowledge production to the concrete experiences of women’s struggles across the Global South, with indigenous women often offering the most compelling alternatives to the dominant epistemological paradigms.

Investigating media projects that resulted from the inevitably contradictory intersection of  global developmentalist politics (which have increasingly focused on women and  indigenous communities) and on-the-ground women’s movements in Asia, Africa, and  Latin America therefore presents a particularly productive area of transnational decolonial feminist media scholarship. Such gendered understandings and narratives of  developmentalism, diverse venues of media production, circulation and reception  advancing these notions, and local and transnational responses to them, however, have  certainly not been limited to the recent decades. Research on the broader history of  intersections of gender, media, and developmentalism is yet to be integrated within  feminist media historiographies.

To this end, this special issue seeks to foster new knowledge and develop shared theoretical and methodological frameworks for exploring this topic. We welcome  scholarship on different types of media (film, television, radio, digital media, etc), situated  within a wide historical period, and from a variety of geographic and geopolitical positions. Contributions may focus on specific case studies as well as on broader methodological and theoretical questions. Possible topics include:

  • Representations of gender, indigeneity, coloniality, and global inequality in  developmentalist media
  • Feminist (mediated) responses to developmentalism
  • Queer and trans activism and developmentalist media
  • Developmentalist media and social, political, and anti-colonial movements
  • Differences and similarities in gender politics of developmentalism across the Cold War divides and their corresponding media forms and ideologies
  • Archives, counter-archives, technologies, and infrastructures of developmentalist  media
  • Developmentalism and mediated representations of the future
  • Institutions and agencies (United Nations, UNESCO, the World Bank) as well as governments and NGOs as production sites of media content on gender and  development
  • Developmentalism in the context of contemporary sustainability and environmental programs (i.e., SDG 2030 agenda), and its intersections with today’s ecofeminist movements and digital media practices
  • Comparative and/or transnational studies of developmentalism and media

Interested contributors should contact guest editors Dalila Missero and Masha  Salazkina directly, sending a 500-word proposal and a short bio no later than February  1, 2024 to and; contributors  will be notified by March 1, 2024; article drafts will be due by October 1, 2024 and will  then be sent out for peer review.

Feminist Media Histories publishes original research, oral histories, primary documents,  conference reports, and archival news on radio, television, film, video, digital technologies, and other media across a range of historical periods and global contexts. Inter-medial and  transnational in its approach, Feminist Media Histories examines the historical role gender and sexuality have played in varied media technologies, and documents the engagement of women and LGBTQ community members with these media as audiences, users and consumers, creators and executives, critics, writers and theorists, technicians and laborers, educators, activists, and librarians. More information is available here: