doinasmall

Call for Papers

PLEASE NOTE CALL FOR PAPERS HAS NOW PASSED.

Panel: Sexuate sustainable practices and ecologies
Convenors: Dr Peg Rawes (UCL), Professor Gail Schwab (Hofstra University, NY)

To construct only in order to construct nevertheless does not suffice for dwelling. A cultivation of the living must accompany a building of that which does not grow by itself...For a human, the two do not seem separable. To cultivate human life in its engendering and its growth requires the elaboration of material and spiritual frameworks and constructions. These should not be opposed to the becoming of life, as they have too often been, but provide it with the help indispensable for its blossoming.
Luce Irigaray, The Way of Love (New York: Continuum, 2002), 144.

Ecological thinking is not simply thinking about ecology or about the environment: it generates revisioned modes of engagement with knowledge, subjectivity, politics, ethics, science, citizenship, and agency, which pervade and reconfigure theory and practice alike. First and foremost a thoughtful practice, thinking ecologically carries with it a large measure of responsibility. . . . [As to] how it could translate into wider issues of citizenship and politics, . . . the answer, at once simple and profound, is that ecological thinking is about imagining, crafting, articulating, endeavoring to enact principles of ideal cohabitation.
Lorraine Code, Ecological Thinking (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 24.

Luce Irigaray’s ‘sustainable’ thinking and Lorraine Code’s ecological thought highlight the importance of developing sexuate futures through sustainable modes of social, poetic and political practice and theory. Taking the terms ‘sustainability’ and ‘ecology’ to encompass the complex social, political and cultural formation of our environments, societies and futures, as well as the physical consequences of human interaction with biological, animal and environmental realms, this panel will explore how sexual difference can aid our responsibility for nurturing the sustainable ecologies of our local and global communities, environments and interactions; our health and well-being; the impact and expressions of social justice and citizenship; and our public and private poetic lives. It will examine the ‘eco-subjects’ (Conley, 1997) which sexed ecological and sustainable thinking and practice bring to these debates, for example:  What new eco-subjects and political imaginations does sexuate thinking enable? What new sexed models of ecology can enable sustainable modes of living that nurture and generate our poetic, political and ethical lives? How do sexed approaches to sustainability transform it from its association with the damaging globalisation of technological and economic monocultures into new productive ethical models of ecological thinking? How can positive and cautionary sexuate eco-imaginations, narratives and poetics enable processes of social justice and political change for environmental and human sustainability?

Responses to these questions are invited from across the humanities, visual arts and design disciplines, the social sciences and the biomedical and physical sciences, as well as from individuals, collectives and organisations that research and practice in these issues. Disciplinary and interdisciplinary research and practices that demonstrate how poetic and political sexed thinking can inform new modes of sustainable ecologies are particularly welcomed. Approaches may include:
- ecocriticsm and ecofeminism
- social justice and ecological activism
- sustainable psycho-physical ecologies and approaches to mental health well-being
- sexuate approaches to biomedical research and practice, including, synthetic biology, epigenetics, family planning, women’s and child health
- micro-economics
- sexuate technologies

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Panel:  Lot’s Wife: The imperatives of disobedience and the spectacle of violence.
Convenor: Tamar Garb (UCL)

When Lot’s wife disobeyed the patriarchal injunction against looking back at the destruction of Sodom, she was punished by being turned into a pillar of salt. In a way, one might argue, she became the phallic substitute for the law she flouted. Whether conceived as an ossified tear – the weeping of women has often been used to symbolise grief, loss and mourning – or a memorial to an obliterated past, the question of women’s position in relation to violence is posed by this episode from Genesis.

It begs many questions:
Why did Lot’s wife (who is never named for herself but only in relation to her husband) look back, why was she punished, what did she see, why was the punishment ossification and what informed her view of the destruction of her home? Central to this biblical narrative is the question of women’s relationship to violence and loss.

The turning to look of Lot’s wife is an act of disobedience which resulted in death. There are many myths and narratives which end in such punishment. Helene Cixous, for example, narrates in ‘Castration or Decapitation’ a Chinese story about the beheading of a woman who laughs in the face of military discipline. The price of non-conformity to languages, behavioural codes and dominant injunctions can and has been annihilation.

And yet, women as agents – artists, critics, writers – have and continue to address the question of violence and conflict from their positions as women, despite the cost.  What is the responsibility of women to ‘look back’ as well as  ‘sideways’, to narrate stories which counter dominant narratives and to imagine languages which transgress conventional borders and boundaries, the sites of conflict and oppression? How can or have women’s critical and creative energies been harnessed to confront anger, guilt, shame and aggression? How can art and newly imagined poetic/formal languages provide a way out of the impasse of political conflict?

These are the questions this panel will address – looking in particular at the recent past in Africa (South Africa and Rwanda offer particular instances of retrospection, reconciliation and reflection) and the Middle East, in particular the ongoing conflict in Israel/Palestine. Papers that address these localities from a feminist perspective will be welcomed. Women’s relationship to conflict and the role of art and poetics in making sense of and shifting our understanding of present and past acts of aggression and violation will be the subject of this panel.

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Panel: Understanding Difference: why poetry matters
Convenors: Professor Timothy Mathews (UCL), Dr Sharon Morris (UCL).

Luce Irigaray’s feminism urges us to believe in the power we have as individuals as well as communities to reorganize our lives on the basis of mutual understanding rather than conflict. As sexuate subjects, for Irigaray we have the uniquely human opportunity to understand each other in terms of what divides and separates us. Sexual difference is insurmountable, our bodies speak this truth to anyone who will hear. But sexual difference, specifically, fundamentally, allows human interaction of respect, rather than domination, appropriation or assimilation. Her work distinguishes itself from the other major theorists of her generation, especially in French, in refuting notions of an inevitable pull, both ideological and psychoanalytical, to one-ness, to cultural and institutional narcissism in all its forms. Nor does Irigaray accept a purely metaphysical account of difference which deprives it of the living, bodily reality of sexed, human relations. Her understanding of sexual difference and sexuate being has the power to reorientate social interaction towards freedom and understanding, in domains including education, the environment, architecture, cultural and inter-cultural relation as well as the loving relation itself. But it is an understanding which depends on nurturing a poetic way of thinking, hearing, seeing, feeling; depends on it, calls on it, requires it, reminding people all the time of their capacity for it. If sexual difference is a given, existentially, biologically, then the freedom it affords us is also beyond our understanding, beyond our capacity to see beyond our own body. And still we know the difference separating men and women.

Poetry allows that difference we know but cannot grasp to be understood; not only understood, but shared. This strand will delve into the power of poetry to create understanding of what lies beyond the understanding of any one person, thinker, practitioner. It will engage with the poetic qualities of Irigaray’s own writing: the unique rhetoric of her theory and its ways of engaging with readers; and the voice of her own poetry. It will also engage with the experiences of translation: inter-lingual translation, as well as the light translation can shed on the passages from bodily to verbal experience. It will also explore the necessary part of poetry in the work of other theorists and thinkers of the human.

Papers, poetry performance and fine art proposals (including moving image, installation) are invited from scholars and practitioners that address: the poetic qualities of thought itself; the movement of thought; the mobility of the ways in which difference is represented and understood. Work on poetry in thought about difference will be showcased alongside the work of creative artists addressing sexuate being in their practice: in their materials, in their ways of engaging with viewers or readers.

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Panel:  Whirlwinds
Convenors: Professor Jane Rendell (UCL), Dr Ana Araujo (Chelsea College of Art and Design, University of the Arts, London).

It is already getting around – at what rate? in what contexts? in spite of what resistances? – that women diffuse themselves according to modalities scarcely compatible with the framework of the ruling symbolics. Which doesn’t happen without causing some turbulence, we might even say whirlwinds, that ought to be reconfined within solid walls of principle, to keep them from spreading to infinity. Otherwise they might even go so far as to disturb that third agency designated as the real – a transgression and confusion of boundaries that it is important to restore to their proper order.

Luce Irigaray, ‘The “Mechanics” of Fluids’, This Sex Which Is Not One (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, [1977], 1985), 106.

It is over 30 years since the publication of This Sex Which Is Not One by the influential French thinker and writer Luce Irigaray. Her political writing on sexual subjectivities and spatialities has had a remarkable influence on feminist theory and practice in architecture and the spatial arts.

The chaotic nature of the contemporary context positions the term ‘whirlwinds’ in an already turbulent scene. We are surrounded by disasters – environmental, economic and political – some actual, others immanent – the so-called ‘war on terror’, climate change, peak oil and the ‘credit crisis’. What kind of response is feminism capable of making today?

This is a call to those whose work has responded, however tangentially, to the themes and issues of sexual ethics and difference raised by Irigaray and her understanding of the experiential, material and conceptual construction of space.

We are looking for works (300 words plus up to 3 images), which articulate the production of a particularly feminine or feminist space-time as a way of responding to current conditions. The proposal needs to be defined in terms of intention, location, duration, interaction and materiality: it could be an intervention, a paper, a reading, a performance, an exhibit, a workshop, a walk.

FATALE, a group of researchers and educators at the School of Architecture, KTH, pursuing research and education within, and through, feminist architecture theory, will organise a a salon as part of Whirlwinds.

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Panels:  Open call for panels/papers
Convenors: The Luce Irigaray Circle

The Irigaray Circle announces its Fifth Annual Conference hosted by UCL. The Circle invites submissions that are inspired by or engaged with any aspect of Irigaray’s work. We welcome submissions from all disciplines.
Possible themes include
• The history of philosophy
• Epistemology
• Ethics
• Ecology, environmental ethics, and sustainability
• Architecture and the built environment
• Political theory
• Multiculturalism
• Psychoanalysis
• Bioethics
• Medicine, health, and the body
• Language, literature, and the arts

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Lecture: The Karen Burke Memorial Prize
The Irigaray Circle invites submissions for The Karen Burke Memorial Prize. The award honors our late colleague Karen Burke, who was a gentle philosopher and founding member of the Luce Irigaray Circle. The award recognizes excellent work by a graduate student on or inspired by Luce Irigaray. In addition to receiving a prize of $500, the winner will present the third annual Karen Burke Memorial Lecture at the 2010 meeting of the Luce Irigaray Circle at UCL, December 3-5, 2010.
We invite papers from all disciplines that engage with any aspect of Irigaray’s work, such as:
• The history of philosophy
• Epistemology
• Ethics
• Ecology, environmental ethics, and sustainability
• Architecture and the built environment
• Bioethics
• Medicine, health, and the body
• Political theory
• Multiculturalism
• Psychoanalysis
• Language, literature, and the arts

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