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Call for Papers: Marxist Feminist Conference in Sweden

Sandra Lindberg

From the Historical Materialism listserv. The method and the topics of this conference really appeal.

3rd International Marxist-Feminist Conference 2018 – Call for participation

/Transforming our lives. Transforming the world./

The Third International Marxist-Feminist Conference will take place at

Lund University (Lund, Sweden), October 6-7, 2018.

The format of the Conference

In March 2015 over 500 scholars and activists participated in the first
international Marxist-Feminist conference in Berlin exploring topics such as
neoliberalism, intersectionality and social reproduction. The Second
International Marxist-Feminist Conference took place in Vienna in 2016 under
the title: Building Bridges – Shifting and Strengthening Visions –
Exploring alternatives. It had the same number of participants but was more
international with attendees from 29 countries from 6 continents. Discussions
focused on concepts such as labour and care-work, intersectionality, new
materialism, and ecofeminism, as well as Marxist-Feminist analyses of
motherhood, fundamentalism, racism, education, and many others. Activists and
researchers from Brazil, Turkey, Argentina, South Africa, the USA, and a
number of European countries presented the different ways in which Marxist or
Socialist Feminists organise under diverse conditions.

Like the organizers of the first conference, the organizers of the second
received much positive feedback but also criticisms for having a programme
that was too dense and did not allow for participation of everybody who was
present. As a result, a larger group of participants and organizers convened
in Germany in May 2017 and after a two days’ discussion decided to
substantially change the format of the next conference.

Instead of hosting sessions where papers are presented and then followed by
discussion limited to a small number of comments or questions from the
‘public’, we intend to organise a conference in which the projects and
papers presented are further developed collectively. In this way, we would
break up the dichotomy between ‘presenter’ and ‘audience’ and at the
same time expand methods of learning, teaching and social transformation.
Therefore, we propose a format where we have a limited number of keynote
papers by speakers invited to speak on the conference theme of social
reproduction. These sessions will be open to the wider public in the
university and the city of Lund. However, the conference will predominantly
consist in participatory workshops where we take as our point of departure
that everybody is an intellectual and that we need to find ways of
transforming our lives and our world.

This requires that the major part of the conference adopts a workshop
methodology, whereby participants are invited to present a project or topic
they want to explore with other participants and to propose a method through
which they want to explore their question/project in a participatory manner..

/One example/ for such a participatory method, which will be showcased at the
conference, is what Frigga Haug calls a ‘Politicised Memory work’. Within
memory work two points are decisive: the researcher is included as a subject
in the research herself, she is one among other participants; during the
discussion in the workshop participants explore the decisive contradiction in
their field of research, which will drive the process of understanding and
knowledge production further.

The workshop is organised by three researchers/students, two presenting the
subject of the workshop and one taking minutes. One has prepared a short
paper (not more than three pages) in which the research question and its
relevance is explained. Everybody in the workshop gets this paper and reads
it in advance. The second person interviews the first as to the research
method, the inclusion of the researcher herself and her ideas and as to first
results and planned procedure, doubts, gaps, contradictions, etc. The
exchange between these two organisers is limited to 15 minutes. After this,
the discussion goes to all the workshop members, who reflect on the proposed
research project, its advantages and possibilities. They discuss among each
other, without the intervention of the organisers. In this way, the
collective knowledge of as many participants as possible can be garnered in a
short time. This can advance the project in question as well as the
understanding of all participants. This discussion should not take longer
than 50 minutes. After this, it is time for the organisers to discuss what
they have learned from the discussion of the reflecting group. The group then
summarises its findings and agrees the points that should be presented at a
final event, where all the ideas, solutions, perspectives developed in the
workshops come together and generate new perspectives and probably new
solutions, which can be useful for all.

Other workshops are encouraged and invited to work with other methods for
participatory learning and researching, like the Theatre of the Oppressed by
Augusto Boal, games, non-verbal discussions, fishbowl, body-work, etc. We
invite scholars and activists to suggest workshops using the method they
prefer and have used successfully. Each workshop has one hour and a half at
its disposal.

Themes of the Conference

Feminist scholarship has increasingly returned to focus on capitalism for an
exploration of how gender regimes operate globally. Both scholarly work and
activist knowledge production show a revitalization of the tradition of
Marxist-Feminist thought through a critical dialogue with indigenous, Black
and queer inspired feminist traditions.

The main experience haunting feminist Marxists today (and not only them) is
the experience of crisis. Forced migration and widening inequality across and
within countries in the north and south are the most palatable manifestations
of a human crisis. The crisis of nature is visible in an ever-increasing
number of natural catastrophes, which hit predominantly poor and vulnerable
populations. The related economic crisis is analysed under the notion of
‘financialisation’, which aims to emphasise intensified profiteering and
inequality during this phase of neo-liberal capitalism.The legacy of the
economic crisis is one of ‘permanent austerity’. While vulnerabilities
abound, the possibilities to care for those who are most vulnerable are
decreasing, rather than broadening – a process analysed by feminists as the
crisis of care. Whether these crises have different causes and feed off each
other, or whether they are seen as different facets of one and the same
crisis is an open debate. What we can observe though, is that they lead to
the strengthening of conservative, nationalist, racist, and misogynist
movements across the globe.

Thus, one of the central questions we as Marxist-Feminists have to answer is
how we can stem this tide of increasing right-wing radicalism and translate
those crises into Marxist-Feminist strategies for a transformation of
ourselves and the world, two processes, which, as Marx formulated, constitute
two sides of the same coin:

/The materialist doctrine concerning the changing of circumstances and of
education forgets that circumstances are changed by people and that it is
essential to educate the educators. (…) The simultaneity of changing the
circumstances and of the human activity or self-changing can be conceived and
rationally understood only as revolutionary practice./

We think that the method we suggest for this third Marxist-Feminist
Conference is appropriate, or maybe even necessary for the task lying ahead,
namely transforming ourselves and transforming the world.

This broad call can be broken down into a wide number of sub (and
related)-themes, of which we name but a few:

* Social Reproduction and the Relations of Production
* Nature, Capitalism and Gender.
* The Crisis of Care – A Feminist Issue – or Gender Relations as
Relations of Production?
* The Critique of Everyday Life: a Form of Reproducing the Structures of
Capitalism or a Source of Resistance?
* Transnational Feminist Struggles. Working Agendas.
* A Marxist-Feminist Frame for Understanding the Crisis of Solidarity in
* Conceptualising and Learning from Resistance. Epistemological and
Practical Challenges.
* Feminist Collective Work towards Real Utopias.

The conference organizers invite submissions for workshops related the topics
of multiple crisis, the right wing xenophobic backlash and practices and
visions of democratic and inclusive social transformation (s). Proposals
should be 300 words long and should include a question, or a theme and a
method. The proposals should also indicate the names, affiliation and e-mail
addresses of the organizers.

The main languages of the conference will be Swedish and English. However, we
will be working to enable translations in all workshops into and from
different languages wherever possible. To enable this, we would like to ask
all participants to note the languages from and to which they could

Deadline for submissions: 28 February, 2018

Decisions about submissions: end of April 2018

Distribution of programme: 30 June 2018

Please send your submissions to all the three organisers:

Diana Mulinari (Diana.mulinari [a] genus.lu.se)

Rebecca Selberg (Rebecca.Selberg [a] genus.lu.se)

Catia Gregoratti (catia.gregoratti [a] svet.lu.se)


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