Feminist Critical Analysis

Inter-University Center (IUC), Dubrovnik
May 24th to May 28th 2021

Call for Applications

The Center for Women’s Studies, Belgrade  

The Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey 

The Faculty of Media and Communication of the Singidunum University of Belgrade


are pleased to announce the next annual postgraduate course in

Feminist Critical Analysis: 

Feminism and the Left - Other Histories, Other Futures

COURSE DESCRIPTION

The course is built on the intellectual dialogue among a diverse body of scholars from different geographical locations. The participating faculty is drawn from different institutions. The program is conducted in English.

The course is co-directed by Daša Duhaček, Center for Women’s Studies, Ethel Brooks, Rutgers University, and Jelisaveta Blagojević, Singidunum University.

Our noted course lecturers are: Zillah Eisenstein, Maria Todorova, Chiara Bonfiglioli, Zorica Ivanović, Sonja Dragović, Lara Končar, Nađa Bobičić, Slavčo Dimitrov and others tbc.

The course will be held at the Inter-University Centre, Dubrovnik (www.iuc.hr) from May 24h to May 28th 2021 and it will also be organized online, via zoom. The possibility of parallel presence at IUC, in Dubrovnik will be decided depending on the situation concerning Covid 19.

COURSE PROGRAM

The course will consist of presentations on the topic Feminism and the Left, followed by interactive discussions, including but not limited to the following issues:

Day one - Basic terminology and the Theory of Social Reproduction (TSR)

The first day will be devoted to the ways in which feminism is radicalizing the left, as well as the foundations of the Theory of Social Reproduction. In that way, the course will begin with a clearly defined common framework, which we will develop over the following days.

Day two - Labor rights and the critique of neoliberalism

On the second day of the course we will discuss neoliberal capitalism and feminism in the contemporary context. We will focus especially on labor, workers’ rights and the position of women workers, as well as the critique of the relationship between feminism and neoliberalism.

Day three - Yugoslavia and socialist heritage

The key debate and the challenge of the day will be a search for ways to value womens’ emancipation within various versions of real-socialism, without falling prey to nostalgia and idealizing, but also without oversimplified critique that comes from dominantly liberal positions.

Day four - Queer & the left

This day will further explore previous good practices and future options for common struggle of queer, feminist and leftwing movements, resistance to transphobia as well as a history of conservatism in communist movements of the 20th century.

Day five - Ecofeminism and Marxism

The course will be concluded with a discussion of burning issues in the context of the pandemic - how to organize communities which in overcoming neoliberal exclusionary models of life, into feminist inclusive and ecologically sustainable communities.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE

A short narrative (up to 250 words) explaining your interest in the topic and your CV with your current complete contact information should be submitted by e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than APRIL 15th.

ELIGIBILITY AND FEES

IUC courses are conducted at a postgraduate level. Candidates with a graduate degree and/or current postgraduate students interested in the topic may apply for participation. 

There is no course fee. However, participants are expected to cover the IUC registration fee (25 EUR for online participation). If present at IUC this registration is 50 EUR, as well as expenses of travel and accommodation. Unfortunately, the organizing institutions are not in the position to offer any financial assistance, but there will be a limited number of course fee waivers. 


Topic

The crisis caused by the global pandemic has completely stripped bare the mechanisms of previous social inequalities. Women were (and are) on the front lines, both at home and at work. This is especially true of migrant women, transwomen, and women from BIPOC communities, precarious workers, and women of all generations, essential workers, and women from countries devastated by a colonial past and pressured by neoliberal colonial practices today. In addition to the health crisis, the economic crisis is only beginning, while the consequences of the ecological crisis are inconceivable. 

How can we offer an alternative to this dystopian scenario? What can feminism and the left learn from their common past in order to open up possibilities for different futures?

The relationship between feminism and the left has never been simple – initially, feminism was rejected as „bourgeois”, then the theory and practice of the “women’s question” was developed as merely one of many questions subsumed within a wider communist struggle, while second wave feminists experienced disappointment and rejection because of their comrades’ misogyny, all the way to the present moment when, it seems, feminism is readily accepted as an ally and often forerunner of leftist movements.

In this course, we will explore meeting points and reasons for divergence in the fight for women’s emancipation and workers’ struggles. Also, we will be interested in speaking about diverse feminisms and the ways in which they have responded to these challenges, whether Marxist, socialist, materialist, or feminism for the 99%.

Additionally, this relationship is complicated when one takes into account various historical, spatial, and racial and gender perspectives. How can we speak of the relationship between feminism and the left outside of dominant, western, white, heterosexual narratives? What can we learn from the experiences of women’s emancipation in the Non-Aligned Movement or countries belonging to the Eastern bloc? In which ways did BIPOC and Third World Feminists work together with leftist movements against racism? Where are the connections between the queer movement and the left? What did the confluence of women’s and leftist struggles in Latin America mean for women? How are ecological struggles of indigenous communities connecting with global feminist and leftist efforts to foster solidarity?

Is it possible and what would it look like to lay the foundations for an international leftist feminism? How can we simultaneously take into account the local context as well as the global flow of neoliberal capitalism? What are the methods for building connections, resistances, and solidarities in the context of dominant rightwing policies and increasing violence across the world?

The challenge is to conceptualize the relationship between feminism and the left as dynamic and open, while simultaneously interwoven with related questions regarding race, gender, ableism, and all other forms of inequality. We are interested in a critical view of both past experiences as well as radical demands for future societies that will be ecologically sustainable and based on complete social emancipation.