CfP – NWSA 2009: Difficult Dialogues

Difficult Dialogues: NWSA 2009 will examine how feminist intellectual, political, and institutional practices cannot be adequately practiced if the politics of gender are conceptualized (overtly or implicitly) as superseding or transcending the politics of race, sexuality, social class, nation, and disability.  

Despite claims that “everyone” now “does” (or has always “done”) WS from intersectional and transnational perspectives, many of the ways in which the politics of both race and nation have been taken up in the field have been more nominal than transformative.  Despite widespread changes in the WS curriculum, in feminist scholarship, and in WS institutional formations, there remains an ongoing struggle over what constitutes the legitimate terrain of feminist theory and inquiry, past and present. 

The Difficult Dialogues theme builds on Johnnella Butler’s essays (beginning with her 1989 article in the Women’s Review of Books) about the contested relationship among and between Black Studies, Ethnic Studies, and Women’s Studies in the U.S. academy. Butler pinpointed a reluctance to engage questions of gender and sexuality in Black Studies and Ethnic Studies, and a reluctance to engage with questions of race and class in Women’s Studies. 

NWSA 2009 identifies several thematic areas in which ongoing and new difficult dialogues across differences are urgently needed but frequently avoided, consciously or unconsciously:

•    Thinking, Speaking, and Working Margin to Margin; 
•    Intersectionality as Theory, Method, and Politics; 
•    Reconceptualizing Women’s Studies within the Transnational; 
•    Negotiating the Politics of Memory; and 
•    Women’s Studies 40 Years Later: Where Are We Going, Where Have We Been?

NWSA invites all of those interested to submit proposals for panels, papers, workshops, and performances that represent the wide rage of intersectional and transnational scholarship in the US and beyond.  Please note that all submitted proposals must address one of the five themes above.

For further details, please visit:


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