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1er sept. 2016, Chicago : Querelles des femmes, or, the Long History of Feminism

This conference will examine feminist and gender thought as manifested across historical, linguistic, cultural, political, and disciplinary boundaries. As our historical point of departure, we aim to explore the medieval roots and long history of the so-called Querelle des femmes, or Quarrel about/among women, often historically situated in the seventeenth century, but with clear antecedents in both legal and literary medieval and early modern texts. The conference will also interrogate modern and contemporary feminist and gender issues and theory, with a particular focus on comparison between French and Anglo-American approaches and paradigms.

Today the Querelle is most often treated as a cultural phenomenon distinct from the emergence of first-wave feminism rooted in declarations of rights and in early-twentieth-century suffrage movements. We intend to consider the issues raised by the Querelle, as well as the ways in which these problems are reimagined in, or eventually disappeared from, histories of feminist thought.

The conference will also explore the reception and transformation of the conceptual category of “gender,” as it has travelled between the American and French contexts, and the resulting disciplinary configurations of gender studies and related fields. Collectively we will consider the fortunes of the category of gender and the field of gender studies in recent French thought, from work in the humanities and social sciences to the recent political backlash against the supposedly nefarious American import, “le gender.” An analysis of the convergences and divergences between French and Anglo-American understandings of gender will bring to light broader fault-lines in the contemporary understanding of the relationship between feminism and gender studies, biology and culture, and gender and sexuality.

We hope to foster dialogue among scholars who might not normally encounter one another by including papers from a range of disciplines, time periods, and institutional settings. To that end, we invite proposals from scholars concerned with gender and feminist studies, intellectual history, French or Anglo-American literature, political science, human rights, sociology, and law.

In order to make the conference as fruitful as possible for the participants, we would like to create a seminar-style event rather than the more traditional series of panels. Participants will be asked to post their papers (in French or in English) to a conference website in advance, along with a short (under 5 pages) primary source document that is connected to their research and that may constitute an additional object of discussion and analysis. Organized into 1.5-2 hour sessions of 2-3 people, participants will present or situate their papers in 10-15 minutes, followed by a respondent who will speak for c. 5 minutes, with the rest of the session devoted to general discussion and conversation.

Please send abstracts (250 words) and a short cv to Daisy Delogu (ddelogu chez uchicago.edu) and Alison James (asj chez uchicago.edu) by September 1, 2016. Participants will be invited by October 1, 2016.

Date of the conference: April 21–22, 2017
Lieu : University of Chicago