“Thinking Through Time and History in Feminism”
Birkbeck, University of London, 23 March 2012
Rebecca Coleman (Sociology, Lancaster University) & Lynne Segal (Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck)
There has been an emergent call within the field of gender and feminist studies to consider themes
that might be broadly situated under the umbrella term of “temporality”. Nostalgic and apocalyptic
narratives of feminism abound in both popular culture and academic writing, with feminism’s death or
out-datedness being the dominant narrative. Countering these narratives is crucially about unravelling
the logic that makes them viable as well as interrupting their production. Explorations of alternative
narratives have productively emerged from work in the field of collective and personal memory, new
technologies as they impact feminist organizing, and creative activism and archival practices. There
is a continued political need to explore alternative mechanisms of telling feminist time, alternative
relationships to be forged with the recent and historical past and alternative means for considering how
feminism might forge a future for itself both in and out of the academy.
This colloquium aims to provide the opportunity for an interdisciplinary, creative and exploratory
approach to time and history in feminism. We welcome contributions from academics, artist and
activists working in the area. Contributions could include but are not limited to, paper presentations,
digital media, photography, film, poetry and performance. Contributions could consider, but are by no
means limited to, some of the following questions:
– How does the personal, social and collective memory of the feminist past create, sustain, or
challenge feminism in the present?
– How might we forge relationships between temporal periods that resist generational affects of
duty or shame?
– How might remembering and forgetting occur not only within the spaces of activism and the
institution, but also between them?
– How can we think critically about how, for example, citing, course building, and curating are
practices of remembering and forgetting?
– How might feminist activists, artists and theorists respond to the narratives of ‘the death of
feminism’ or the ‘post-feminist’ era?
– How does time, and the various ways we think of it, both enable and constrain politics?
– Is the time of activism the same as the time of the institution?
– What are the theoretical and methodological challenges of working within feminist archives?
– How can we account for the multiple and diverse voices that comprise ‘feminism’ and the
relationships between these voices? How can the use of creative methodologies enable the
exploration of these issues?
Please submit a 200 word abstract by 25 November 2011 to Carly Guest and Sam McBean at
bisrcolloquium2012. If you have any questions, please contact us.