Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Call for Participants: Feminist Epistemologies // Rethinking Gender

18 March 2022

An interdisciplinary workshop on the production of knowledge within contemporary feminist, gender and sexuality studies (9:30-5:30, 11 May 2022, UCL) Participants wanted to contribute an informal ‘think piece’ towards a mapping of the field. Deadline for submissions: 4th April.

Two women walking past a yellow wall, GFRN people page image

Call for participants to contribute an informal ‘think piece’ towards a mapping of the field.

Please submit a brief description of your ideas by Monday 4th April to Alex Hyde, a.hyde@ucl.ac.uk.

Feminist Epistemologies: Rethinking Gender aims to explore the production of knowledge within contemporary feminist, gender and sexuality studies. The event takes the work of Linda Alcoff in her 1991 essay ‘The Problem of Speaking for Others’ as its critical starting point, connecting also to the 1993 collection of essays Feminist Epistemologies: Thinking Gender, edited by Linda Alcoff and Elizabeth Potter. More than thirty years on from these significant interventions, the workshop will explore the relevance of feminist philosophies of knowledge for addressing questions of gender and the politics of representation today.

In ‘The Problem of Speaking for Others’ (1991), Alcoff considers questions of social location, authority and the possibilities of erasure, as well as accounting for the self in speaking ‘for’ or ‘about’ others. Alcoff’s refusal of the mastery of knowledge shows how meaning is embedded in the lived realities of our social, political and cultural relations. In this sense, the politics of representation go beyond one’s credentials to speak, or the content of speech, and extend to “where the speech goes and what it does there”.

This event is conceived as an opportunity for conversation around these multifaceted and interlocking questions of positionality and representation. Grounded in an appreciation of feminist frameworks such as standpoint theory and marginality, the workshop will question their relevance for current inquiry into topics such as: feminist intersubjectivity, decolonial knowledge practices, online visual cultures, technology and digital representation, embodiment and experience, forms of life writing and reflexivity. An overarching concern of the workshop will be to develop an approach of ‘critical enablement’, a proposition for adapting critical analysis towards a constructive and enabling outlook for social change.

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The workshop will comprise a mixture of panel discussions, inviting participants to present a short, informal ‘think piece’, followed by smaller group activities and plenary discussion. The workshop is oriented towards developing ideas for a written research output or further series of events.

Feminist Epistemologies: Rethinking Gender is supported by the UCL Gender & Feminism Research Network and funded by a grant from the IAS Octagon Small Grants Fund.