The University will host an international conference titled “Global Feminisms: The Role of Women in Building States and Societies” March 30-April 1.
The conference will bring together an interdisciplinary group of scholars — from as far away as Europe, Africa, South America, South Asia and the Caribbean — to spotlight the role of women, feminism and feminists in building and rebuilding states and societies in many different parts of the world. Disciplines such as psychology, sociology, law, theology and anthropology will be represented.
The conference is free and open to members of the WUSTL community.
“By bringing together a variety of feminist perspectives, the conference will explore historically and culturally specific ways women around the world reconfigure power relations and resist domination not necessarily from men but from globalization, capitalism and forms of violence,” said Shanti Parikh, Ph.D., assistant professor of anthropology and African and African American Studies, both in Arts & Sciences, and a conference organizer.
Co-organizers are Mary Ann Dzuback, Ph.D., associate professor of education in Arts & Sciences, and Priscilla Stone, Ph.D., executive director of international programs in Arts & Sciences. Sponsors include Women and Gender Studies, International and Area Studies and the Center for Joint Projects in the Humanities and Social Sciences, all in Arts & Sciences.
Parikh hopes the conference will illuminate three questions:
• How do women figure into society and nation-building projects?
• What are women’s roles in restructuring and redefining power, especially patriarchal power, and culture in increasingly diverse societies?
• What role does feminism play in these processes, and how are feminisms articulated in different contexts?
“Problems today are no longer confined to regions or countries but have an impact on the global community and global politics,” Parikh said. “As capitalism and violence emerge as key forms of governance in the 21st century, women have become more marginalized from centers of power and global decision-making.
“Simultaneously, women’s bodies have become sites for aggression between groups and crucial for a cheap, disposable work force. Yet women are not just victims to globalization and capitalism; they are creating new ways of negotiating their positions.”
She added, “This conference intends to highlight various ways women of different socioeconomic statuses, ethnicities and roles actively rebuild societies and states in often unrecognized ways.”
Presenters on three different panels — “Feminism and Government”; “Conflict, Gender Violence and Memory in Social and State Reconstruction”; and “Feminism, Citizenship and Diversity: Feminist Contributions to Cultural and Political Conflict and Resolution” — will offer empirical data from their research projects, situated in specific areas and specific contexts.
“We want to stimulate dialogue about how to incorporate international issues on gender into the curriculum, student life and student learning, as well as into our own work,” Parikh said. “To keep the University relevant in today’s world, the conference organizers recognize that we need to more aggressively highlight critical gender analysis in International Studies and global dynamics and inequalities in Gender and Women’s Studies.”
For more information and a schedule, call 935-5102.