Canadian Society for Women in Philosophy Conference 2007

Oct 24, 2007 Jun 07, 2008

University of Alberta, Edmonton
Conference Program (PDF)

Communicating Feminisms

Feminist scholarship continues to contribute massively to knowledge across the disciplines, to public policy formation, and to popular discourse. Yet as feminist research has become more diverse and developed, perceptions of it are often reductive or one-sided; this has tended to limit the extent to which feminist methods and insights are communicated in extra-academic contexts. This conference seeks to develop new strategies for representing feminism and communicating feminist research to audiences within the academy and beyond. How can feminist theorists be in conversation with empirically-minded scholars? How can scholars of feminist philosophy draw on the experiences and insights of the world outside the university to make better theory? How do feminists of different theoretical schools and political persuasions collaborate across our intellectual differences? What connections might be drawn between extra-academic feminist political practice and feminist philosophy?

Keynote lecture by Dr. Moira Gatens

Australian Research Council Professorial Fellow
Department of Philosophy, University of Sydney
"Feminisms, Communication, and Social Imaginaries"

There are good reasons for thinking that - in comparison with the past - the conditions of life for some women have improved. However, there also are good reasons to continue to critically engage with practices and worldviews that are judged to be harmful to women. But what are the terms in which, or the 'instruments' through which, critical engagement and social change proceed? How have feminisms communicated their commitments and aims in the past? And how might this task be continued in the present? Taking an interdisciplinary and historical approach, this paper will argue that feminists always have faced difficulties in their attempts to engage dominant social imaginaries in order to promote women's freedom and autonomy. From the strident 'declarations', or 'vindications', of women's rights offered by Olympe de Gouges and Mary Wollstonecraft in the late 18 th century, to the struggles over women's rightful 'place' and entitlements in contemporary times, there appears to be what might be termed a 'failure of communication'. Might an appreciation of the resilience of the social imaginary - and a preparedness to work with that resilience - result in better communication between feminists and their 'opponents'? Or, does this suggestion merely encourage a path of action whose ultimate destination is conservatism? This question will be posed through an analysis of George Eliot's fiction.

Conference Information

The conference will open with the keynote lecture on Friday afternoon, and conclude on Sunday lunchtime.


The conference registration fee for all non-students (including presenters) is $75 (Canadian) before September 30, or $100 up to Friday October 12. (The keynote lecture only is free and open to the general public.) There is no registration fee for students, but advance registration is still required. To register, download and complete this PDF and mail with your cheque or money order. See here for more information.

Travel and Accommodation

Participants will want to arrive in Edmonton in time for the keynote lecture starting at 4pm on Friday October 12. The conference closes at 12:30pm on Sunday October 14. The closest airport is Edmonton International (YEG). There is a regular shuttle from the airport to the conference hotel, which takes about 30 minutes.

The conference hotel is Campus Tower, conveniently located on the edge of the University of Alberta campus, and just a 10 minute walk from the conference venues. To make reservations, call toll free 1-800 709 1824, or 1-780 439 6060. Conference rooms have now been released, but you can still make reservations at regular rates.

Additional Conference: Philosophical Conceptions of Sexual Difference and of Embodiment

October 11-12 2007 a workshop on Philosophical Conceptions of Sexual Difference and of Embodiment will be held at the University of Alberta. Guests will include Alia Al-Saji and Marguerite Deslauriers from the Department of Philosophy at McGill University, Amy Allen (Dartmouth College), Moira Gatens (University of Sydney), Gail Weiss (George Washington University) and Carolyn McLeod (University of Western Ontario).

This workshop will precede Communicating Feminisms, the 2007 meeting of the Canadian Society for Women in Philosophy, also to be held at the University of Alberta October 12-14.

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