CFP: Disturbing Differences: Feminist Readings of Identity, Location and Power (Finland) (1/31/07; 5/18/07-5/19/07)

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Sari Miettinen
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Call for papers:

Disturbing Differences. Feminist Readings of Identity, Location and
Power - conference
Centre for Women's Studies, University of Turku, Finland
May 18-19, 2007

Confirmed keynote speakers:

Professor Elizabeth Grosz, Rutgers University
Professor Sara Ahmed, Goldsmiths College
Dr Leena-Maija Rossi, University of Helsinki
Dr Susanna Paasonen, University of Jyväskylä

The concept of difference implicates plurality and multiplicity, and has
been within feminist research regarded as providing a necessary antidote
to unquestioning uses of unified terms. Difference has been seen as
offering means to analyse complex sets of meanings linked to identity
formations and oppressive systems. By challenging identity labels, it
has been seen to transcend classifications, and therefore suggest
alternative subject formations. Since the 1990s, however, the language
of multiplicity and difference has been increasingly considered as
imprecise, even reductive. As a consequence, especially the Nordic
countries have seen a boom of discussions about 'intersectionality'. At
this conference, we wish to take stock of the current theoretical and
methodological debates this 'new' concept has raised. Is the notion of
intersectionality more than yet another term for acknowledging
multiplicity? What are the qualitatively new questions that it enables
and encourages?

In the wake of this feminist 'intersectional turn', we invite
reflections on the current challenges for feminist knowledge production
that focuses explicitly on differences/intersections of subjectification
and identities. The conference calls for discussions of identities as
asymmetrical and permeated by power-relations, asking how to address
simultaneous but distinct axes of subjectification, and to analyse them
interactively. Within the overall framework of feminist knowledge
production, we wish to address issues of positionality and location,
investigating how intersectional knowledge production necessarily
foregrounds certain identities while others are pushed into the
background. In what ways may the intersectional perspective challenge
hegemonic positions within feminist knowledge production, decentring
normative knowing subjects?

We welcome papers that challenge fixed identity demarcations and,
instead, focus on the in-between spaces of identity axes, on hybridity
identities as well as on the movements, processes and trajectories of
identity differentiation. The interaction of social categories being
dependent on the fluctuations of sameness and difference, which occur in
historically and culturally diverse contexts of power relations, we also
want to reopen and rethink feminist discussions on the concept of
sameness and the issue of ontology (e.g. new materialism).

Possible paper topics for 20-minute presentations might include but not
be limited to the following:

- Production of knowledge across difference
- Intersectionality and historicity
- Intersectionality and interdisciplinarity
- Sameness within intersectionality
- Ontology and intersectional identities
- Feminist politics of reading
- From relativism to multiple interpretative practices
- Queer differences and queer readings
- Affectivity and emotional investments in feminist knowledge production
- Ethics and feminist knowledge

Abstracts of no more than 500 words in English should be sent to
Conference Secretary Päivi Valotie - paivi.valotie(at) - by
January 31, 2007. Information about accepted papers will be announced by
the end of February 2007. Participation is free of charge.

The conference is organised by:
- The research project: "Disturbing Differences. Feminist Readings of
Identity, Location and Power", financed by the Academy of Finland and
headed by Professor Marianne Liljeström at the Centre for Women's
Studies, University of Turku
- The Doctoral School for Women's Studies in Finland.

More information on the Disturbing Differences -research project:

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Received on Fri Dec 15 2006 - 20:16:10 EST