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FEMINISM & CRITICAL THEORY SOCIAL AND POLITICAL THOUGHT CONFERENCE

Datum: 2015-06-20 - 2015-06-21
Plats: Sussex
Arrangör: Studies in social & political thought
Typ: Conference

FEMINISM & CRITICAL THEORY SOCIAL AND POLITICAL THOUGHT CONFERENCE

In the face of enforced austerity, rampant and increasing inequality, systemic crises of political, economic and environmental organisation, and violence and injustice on a global scale, there has been a resurgence of interest in both feminism and critical theory, as ways of understanding and criticising the world as it is. That such disasters disproportionately affect women is not, of course, new, nor are they differentiated solely through gender – race, sexuality, dis/ability, class and nationality also come into play. Yet many have detected an increase in violence, both (and often simultaneously) material and symbolic, directed against women and gender non-conformists across the world. Examples range from the ‘pornification’ of an increasingly misogynist popular culture (and equally misogynist ‘moral panics’ about the threat posed to society by deviant sexualities), to brutal cuts to already embattled women’s services, to continued institutional discrimination and institutionalised abuse (Yarl’s Wood is just one site).

This has been met with resistance in a variety of forms, on the ground in social movements and protests, and in many recent theoretical developments both scholarly and popular, including: the republication of many classic Marxist and socialist feminist texts of the 1970s and 80s; important contemporary debates, situated within both analytic and continental philosophy, on how to challenge the patriarchal nature of philosophy as a discipline and as disciplinary ideology; the emergence of innovative new journals such as the materialist feminist LIES; and scholarly reappraisals of radical twentieth-century figures like Shulamith Firestone, Claudia Jones and Rosa Luxemburg.

This year’s Social and Political Thought conference will investigate the relationship between feminism and other critical social theories in light of these developments. We begin by recognising that the different schools (and historical ‘waves’) of feminist thought are themselves often divergent and opposed. Furthermore, we recognise that there is a certain level of ambivalence attached to the term ‘critical theory’. In the narrow sense, it can refer to theory influenced by the Frankfurt School and the work of Adorno, Horkheimer, and Marcuse (and, on some interpretations, Habermas and Honneth). In the broad sense, on the other hand, it can refer to a group of interrelated, sometimes competing, social theories directed against the status quo, of which feminist thought is one strand. We view this ambivalence and its relationship to feminist theory and practice as potentially productive, and encourage submissions that deal with all kinds of feminism and their relationship to critical theory in both the narrow and broad senses of the term, including feminism as critical theory.


Keynote Speakers:

Stella Sandford (Kingston University)
Lorna Finlayson (University of Cambridge)