NWSA: Performative Feminisms and Outsider Interventions (Feb 26, 2010; Nov. 11-14, 2010)

full name / name of organization: 
Basuli Deb/University of Nebraska-Lincoln
contact email: 

NWSA Conference: Nov. 11-14, 2010, at Denver, Colorado
Proposals Due by Feb 26

Performative Feminisms and Outsider Interventions

This session is an attempt to engage in difficult dialogues around the sub-theme of " 'Outsider' Feminisms." It aims to explore the feminist possibilities of the performative arts, largely positioned outside the realm of conventional feminist theories and practices, and asks why performance feminism remains largely an untheorized and neglected area within feminist scholarship. The idea is to uncover how "outsider" epistemologies of gendered performance have often become strategies to resist diverse power-structures like imperialism, state violence, ethnic conflicts, gendered divisions of labor, class power, gender normativity, and able-bodiedness, age, among many others. The activist potential of performative arts has often expressed itself through the specificities of regional cultures as well as through transnational strategies of feminist resistance as performance troops have traveled across geographies to showcase their art. This session invites speakers to present not only on the politics of the performative as outsider feminisms, but also on the relationship among diverse and often contestatory modes of such feminisms. The session is also interested in papers that examine how such oppositional modes of performance can forge meaningful and productive relationships with each other across various contexts of disenfranchisement. How can we avoid reductive politics in an area that remains largely nascent in its theoretical prospects within feminism? Finally, this session is invested in thinking and reinventing the position and role of outsider feminisms like performative feminisms within the structures of the academia.

Topics might include, but are not confined to:
• Various genres of activist performances like dance, theater, musical concerts, various modes of street performances like marches, street plays, street corner music, etc.
• The role of visual culture like films, internet, photography, etc. in feminist performances.
• The role of women's and gender studies programs and the university administration in promoting the outsider feminist potential of the performative arts through various.
• How do outsider feminist scholars within the academia negotiate with colleagues and administrators within a framework of scholarship in which performance studies is in an asymmetrical relationship with more institutionalized areas of feminist inquiry? How do we theorize such power differentials and how do we strategize for a more equitable terrain of feminist inquiry?
• How do we theorize the performative as outsider feminism by drawing on the cumulative scholarship of feminism, but without losing its resistive potential against conventional modes of feminist thinking?
• Performative feminism as it intersects with other marginalities of academic scholarship--race, class, ethnicity, nation, religion, sexuality, disability, age etc. From the point of view of institutional, curricular, and pedagogical relationships of women's and gender studies, what is fostered or hindered in such intersectional thinking across academic margins?

To participate in this session, please send the following information by February 26, 2010 to Basuli Deb at bdeb2@unl.edu

Name, Institutional Affiliation, Snail Mail, Email, Phone, Title of your talk, a one-page, a one page double-spaced abstract of your presentation indicating how it will be relevant to this session. Every speaker will present for around 15 minutes, and we will have a discussion at the end.