CFP -- SLSA 2018 Panel -- Matter as Womb, Mind as Matter: Idealism, Materialism, and Feminist Theory

deadline for submissions: 
March 10, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
SLSA 2018 - "Out of Mind" Toronto (Nov. 15-28)
contact email: 

Society for the Science, Literature, and the Arts (SLSA) 2018 "Out of Mind" Conference

Call for Papers for SLSA Panel

Panel Title: Matter as Womb, Mind as Matter: Idealism, Materialism, and Feminist Theory

“Bodies have all the explanatory power of minds” –Elizabeth Grosz, Volatile Bodies (1994)

“Mind” and “man” share a common genealogical lineage. The noun “mind” traces back to proto-Indo-European root of “men,” which means “to think,” while the Sanskrit manas means "mind, spirit.” Despite the philological intertwining between “mind” and “man”—the marker of the “human”— this panel resists the idea that one can ever be out of mind. One may be outside the connotative associations that have come to represent the human mind, but this, however, is not the same as being out of mind once and for all.

This panel marks itself as an explicitly feminist exploration of the way “mind” has been historically linked to the masculine, and how this association forges a dualism relegating “matter” to the “subordinated” feminine. While Western masculinity historically and philologically connects to mind, consciousness, or spirit, the feminine links to passive, inert, and unanimated matter; the envelope or receptacle through which the driving force of logos, form, or generation moves and takes shape. This hierarchy between masculine and feminine echoes the hierarchy between form and matter and the dualism between mind and body. Contemporary feminist philosophers seeking to explode these dualisms between mind and matter, or mind and body, are doing so in order to reclaim the subordination of the feminine.

In solidarity, this panel explores the ways matter itself has the capacity to be mindful rather than being the opposite of mind. We examine how matter is not simplya womb for the gestational activities of an immaterial masculine “mind” but thinks itself. Moreover, thinking matter which composes the material universe frames itself out of something immaterial rather than in opposition to it. We offer readings of matter as the site for that which has the potential to actualize. This means recasting or redefining “mind” as the movements of matter’s possibilities of becoming. In this feminist panel, we imagine how matter is mind to the extent that it has the capacity to self-assemble, to spontaneously generate, and to self-organize.

If interested, email paper title and 250 word abstract to by March 10, 2018.