Sunday, April 1, 2012

CFP: Feminists Face the State: A Berkeley Symposium on Politics, State Power and Gender

CFP: Feminists Face the State:
A Berkeley Symposium on Politics, State Power and Gender
November 7, 2012
9 am – 5 pm

How does state power organize, and is organized by, gender? This conference will build a sustained dialogue around the intersection of gender, politics and the state. It aims to recuperate the notion of “facing” the state as a form of active, feminist critique vis-à-vis state power. By “facing the state,” we hope to both explore the different gendered forms of power implicated in the multifaceted nature of the state as well as “face” – as feminists – the intractable and deeply ambiguous relationship between the state and the project of feminism. In doing so, this conference will serve as a forum to collaboratively build approaches that critically think beyond existing state-related structures and practices and reimagine the possible.

With this line of inquiry in mind, we call for papers that provide feminist analyses of the state and/or analyze the relationship between the state and feminism. Possible topics might include: What does a comparison of the welfare, neoliberal and security state paradigms reveal about the state as a gendered institution as well as the possibilities for feminist critique? In what ways does the state act as a privileged institution for gendering social structure and practice, or does it merely reproduce, and perhaps amplify, the gendered fall-out of the market and other social institutions? What might a “feminist” state look like – is it an oxymoron? To what extent does focusing on “masculinity” provide a useful – or limiting – framework for understanding the state? How might we “face” the state from an intersectional perspective? How is feminist critique expanded by looking beyond the modern Western capitalist state to other state formations across time and place?

This all-day symposium will take place on November 7th, 2012 (appropriately the day after the U.S. Presidential Elections), and it is funded by the Department of Sociology at UC Berkeley.

This symposium is organized by Abigail Andrews, Nazanin Shahrokni and Jennifer Carlson. If you are interested in participating, please contact Jennifer Carlson, at by Monday, April 30th, with a 200-word abstract.