NWSA 2018 “Protected Subjects”

deadline for submissions: 
February 16, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Rachel Elin Nolan, University of Connecticut
contact email: 

National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) Conference 2018

November 8-11, Atlanta, GA.

Proposed Panel: "Protected Subjects"

The concept of “protection” has never been stable within feminist discourses. Progressive women activists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries lobbied the government to legally protect women’s status as mothers. Over the course of the twentieth centurymembers of the radical and reformist left elevated claims to equality over claims to special protections for women as caregivers. During the same period, calls for protection were vocally issued from women on the right, who sought to reaffirm women’s protected status within frameworks of male domination that hinge upon a production-reproduction division of labor. Most recently, #MeToo activists protesting sexual assault have issued a call for greater protections for women in the workplace. 

This proposed panel for the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) Conference in Atlanta, GA in November 2018 seeks to interrogate the many uses and political dimensions of protection. Questions we may address include: How has protection been employed ideologically? Who is owed protection at any point in time and how do individuals and communities protect themselves in these contexts? How has protection been deployed historically? From whom is protection necessary? In what ways does protection enhance or inhibit solidarity? Is protection compatible with feminist revolutionary and utopian projects? Can we have protection without paternalism? All critical approaches are welcome.

Please send a 250-word abstract and a brief CV to Rachel Elin Nolan (rachel.e.nolan@uconn.edu) and Abigail Fagan (abigail.fagan@engsem.uni-hannover.de) by Friday, February 16, 2018. All proposals will be acknowledged.