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Social Justice

MATERIALIST FEMINISMS IN AN AGE OF NEOLIBERALISM

Materialist Feminisms in an age of Neoliberalism; or, Would the critique of patriarchal capitalism please stand up?

A special issue of the online journal Politics and Culture (http://www.politicsandculture.org)

***Please Note: In addition to article-length contributions, we also solicit shorter interventions, provocations, or position papers (1500-2000 words) for two themed discussions 1) experiences and direction from elders in this work and 2) experiences and demands from junior scholars.

Liberal inclusion. Globalization and neoliberal crisis. Neoconservative backlash. We know that feminism has had many lives. We are especially attuned to the forms of imperialist, settler and liberal “feminism” that have motivated a great many social projects, most recently the ostensible concern over the status of women in Afghanistan that has played so well as a rationale for war. And yet, we live amidst a rapidly accelerating culture of neoliberal individualism, combined with the virulent cult of persecuted white masculinity that marks the neoconservative shift, the backlash against supposed minority gains, and the dogged attack by the state and corporate elite on the material and social protections won through decades of struggle. The need for anti-capitalist feminist foment has never been so dire.

From early noted thinkers such as Lucy B. Parsons, Rosa Luxembourg and Emma Goldman, to Marxist Feminist scholars such as Maria Mies, Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Giovanna Dalla Costa, Angela Davis and Sylvia Federici, to anti-racist and anti-colonialist scholars such as bell hooks, Himani Bannerji, Patricia Monture Angus, Vandana Shiva, Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Andrea Smith, to theorists such as Zillah Eisenstein, Wendy Brown, and Nancy Fraser, “structuralist” or “materialist” feminisms draw a lineage that views economics, capitalism and political struggles specifically through the lenses of gender, race and class, and anti-imperialist, anti-patriarchal, anti-heteronormative and anti-racist agendas. While the distinctions are far too subtle and complex to enumerate here, critical to Marxist, socialist, anarchist, materialist and other kinds of structuralist feminism is the notion that ending gender-based oppression requires (among other things) a reckoning of capitalist, colonial and patriarchal histories and organizations of power. We invite a forward-looking conversation that draws trajectories in the body of work we might broadly think of as structural or materialist feminisms.

Topics for consideration may include:
* In a neoliberal age in which the ecological collapse wreaked by capitalism’s rapacious appetite appears as an urgent horizon framing cultural politics, what is to be gained or lost by prioritizing gender as a category of analysis? What is the task ahead for materialist feminism?
* The contemporary backlash
* Where is the work of structural feminism taking place? Do you observe or practice it in the university, in the streets, in your creative work, in your everyday life relations and survival?
* Identity politics vs. anti-capitalist struggle: whose schism?
* Women and the gift, women for the land, women and the spirit
* Queer materialisms
* Is there a materialist feminism outside of struggle? And is there a struggle?
* From “Marxist feminism” to transnational, anti-imperialist, anti-racist, anti-capitalist, anti-colonial feminist?  There is a story that has been told many ways many times and yet not told nearly enough: history and future of structural feminisms? Revisiting feminist theory, women’s studies, institutionalization, ghettoization, backlash, disciplinarity

****In addition to article-length contributions, we also solicit shorter interventions or provocations (1500-2000 words) for two themed discussions 1) experiences and direction from elders in this work and 2) experiences and demands from junior scholars.

Please send 200 word abstracts and/or short queries to Alyson McCready (alyson.mccready@gmail.com) or Mary Ellen Campbell (campbeme@mcmaster.ca) by April 1st, 2011.

Submissions will be expected May 15th, 2011.
 
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Feminism