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Gender Campus

International Exploratory Workshop "Imagine Otherwise: Connecting Debates, Moving Beyond"

The interdisciplinary five-day workshop "Imagine Otherwise: Connecting Debates, Moving Beyond", is organized jointly by researchers from the Zentrum Gender Studies of the University of Basel and the Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für Geschlechterforschung of the University of Bern, in close collaborations with the Network Gender Studies Switzerland. The workshop brings together leading Switzerland-based and international researchers and young outstanding Switzerland-based doctoral/postdoctoral researchers across a wide range of disciplines in Gender Studies.

The workshop engages with cutting edge debates in the areas of postcolonial studies, affect studies and intersectionality theories as central conceptual frameworks to build new theoretical and methodological ground for fundamental conditions and alternative possibilities of critique as a constitutive element of Gender Studies. By focusing and connecting these most relevant research areas, the workshop will push forward key aspects of theory and methodology in the field of Gender Studies in Switzerland and spur on the development of powerful analytical instruments to address pressing global issues such as the effects of globalizing neoliberal economies, migration and the rapidly expanding War on Terror.

The core question of the workshop will be:

Which fundamental contemporary conditions of critique can be outlined by combining most relevant theoretical debates in Gender Studies, in order to address multifaceted global crises in a multidimensional way?

The overall objectives of the workshop are:

  1. To think across and beyond cutting edge theoretical and methodological debates in the fields of Gender Studies that have been central to research within the Network Gender Studies Switzerland.
  2. To reflect on and discuss alternative and visionary forms of critique that outline paths to alternative developments and conditions of feminist critique beyond persistent dichotomies and tensions in current gender studies and feminist theory.

These objectives can only be achieved by assembling excellent researchers from different disciplines and geographical contexts who work with various approaches within these fields of research, and who have addressed the challenges mentioned above:

  1. Feminist activism – academic feminism (Monday)
    Following the feminist concepts of situated knowledge and standpoint theory, this thematic focus considers the epistemological frameworks and power geometries of knowledge production in the realm of academia, and hence critically engages with the persisting dichotomy between academia and activism within feminist debas.
  2. Agency & power relations/ Postcolonial Theory (Tuesday)
    Introducing current research from gender and postcolonial studies, the second day questions the persisting theoretical dichotomy between individual/subjectivity and structure/collectivity with regard to questions of agency. The discussions specifically aim at further developing new concepts of the individual as already related to the collective as a starting point for critique.
  3. Affective relations (Wednesday)
    New concepts of collectivity and coalition – like affective solidarity – are central for debates evolving around the so-called ‘affective turn’. Concepts of affect try to rework prominent and still powerful dichotomies of rationality/emotion, materiality/the social. Therefore, the affective/emotional dimension of the social will be addressed and discussed in relation to other dimensions, such as sexuality and race
  4. In the name of gender (Thursday)
    Having set the aim of developing visions of alternative conditions, the workshop will finally discuss the (mis-)use of categories – such as gender – and investigate the tensions between theoretical and methodological concepts and their implementation in research and politics.

The workshop topic and program are the result of a collaborative effort of both senior and young researchers from Basel and Berne. On the one hand, the workshop is geared towards enabling these highly skilled young academics to connect their research projects to contemporary international debates in their own and related fields of research and hence to further enhance the quality and scope of their work; to provide a context in which they can extensively network with renowned international experts in their fields, as well as with like-minded peers from across Switzerland; and to gain experience in the organization of scientific panels and events. On the other hand, the workshop creates a unique opportunity for outstanding international scholars to connect to current feminist thinking in Switzerland; to engage with ground-breaking theoretical and methodological debates in-depth and forward them; and to network with renowned international colleagues and young scholars. For all participants, this workshop explicitly also seeks to promote the planning of joint publications and further events.

The workshop is on invitation only. More information: andreamaria.zimmermann @unibas.ch