Boundaries, Mobility and Mobilisation at g16
What’s the theme of g16 going to be? Genus.se talked to Wibke Straube, one of the members of the scientific committee, about this and about which keynotes have been confirmed for the conference.
‘We decided on a theme we call Boundaries, Mobility and Mobilisation because of the current political situation and all the people who are suffering as a result of it. Gender in particular is a key determinant of who is suffering, who can go where, who has access to what and so on,’ says Wibke Straube, Centre for Gender Studies at Karlstad University, referring to Europe closing its borders and thereby shutting out what Europe is identifying as the migrating ‘other’.
‘Rather than just focusing on for example feminist methodology, we wanted to make a political statement with the title and by giving this topic a lot of attention at the conference. We have also asked the keynote speakers to address these issues.’
As a researcher, Straube specialises in transgender studies. Straube is a member of the scientific committee for the conference and also works as a coordinator at Karlstad University for the GEXcel International Collegium.
The streams of refugees through Europe is an obvious topic of discussion in gender research, but Straube points out that the issue of boundaries and discrimination in relation to the setting of boundaries and nationality is important in Swedish society and the entire Scandinavian region also in a historical perspective.
‘When we arrange a feminist conference in a national context in Sweden, which for the most part is a safe country that offers good economic conditions, we must also address that there is a strong ambivalence between privilege and alienation. The colonisation and cultural marginalisation that the Sami people have been exposed to and are still suffering the consequences of is also something that of course will be discussed at the conference.’
Besides issues related to racism, exclusion and the setting of boundaries, there will be a focus on environmental policy, gender studies and the production and communication of knowledge.
Alternative formats to stretch the boundaries
G16 will have more keynote speakers and presentations in English than previous g-conferences. In order to challenge white, cis and traditional forms of academia, the scientific committee has seen it as important to include transgender and postcolonial perspectives, and the keynotes have been selected accordingly.
To facilitate transdisciplinary dialogue and open up feminist studies to a more self-reflective type of knowledge production, where the researchers are aware of their own position and make it visible, the keynote speakers have been asked to create alternative presentations in groups of two or more.
‘The idea is to problematise the conventional format and the academic code. They can for example put on some type of performance or do a dialogue. It can also involve the audience – we leave it up to them to figure out. I think they will come up with something very interesting and experimental. They will not only talk about highly current issues in feminist theory, but also find new formats for their keynote presentation.’
The organisers hope that also people without an academic background who want to listen to a keynote or participate in a discussion will feel welcome and included.
‘The conference will appeal to a broader audience than the traditional academic one. Maybe these alternative formats will make it easier for researchers in other fields, as well as people not involved in the academic sphere, to enter the debate.’
Whereas the conference in 2014 was oriented towards gender equality, addressing issues of power in relation to for example the labour market, g16 will have a stronger focus on the development of the field of gender studies.
‘Gender equality is an important topic, but since there was a lot of focus on it at g14, we saw it as important to focus on other important issues.’
Will gender equality workers find the conference interesting?
‘Yes, definitely, since it will address gender inequalities in a much broader context than for example within an organisation. So it will be a learning experience, although it might not be directly applicable to the field of gender equality.’
Keynote groups ready for the conference
The organisation of the conference is well underway. All paper presentations are due 18 March! Keynote speakers are still being recruited in a few areas. At this point, the following keynote groups can be confirmed:
Title: Environmental c* (change/challenges/crisis)
Participants: May-Britt Öhman and Pirjo Elovaara will moderate the discussion. The list of other participants has not been finalised.
This dialogue aims at creating an internationally unique platform for interaction between feminist technoscience perspectives/feminist post-humanism and indigenous perspectives/indigenous methodology and indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge, perspectives and methods in the discussion on the environment, activism and negotiations about the right to land and water, as well as challenges in relation to our shared future.
Title: Feminist imaginaries
Participants: Jinthana Haritaworn and Mara Lee
With experiences of oppression, at all levels, due to racism, sexism or cissexism, gender exclusion or other forms of discrimination, it is always important to visualise a ‘somewhere else’, to visualise the world as changed and how it can be different.
Mara Lee is a researcher, author and artist based in Gothenburg. She defended her PhD thesis in 2014 and discusses feminism, intersectionality and racism in all of her works. Jinthana Haritaworn, a transgender person, grew up in Germany and lives in Canada. As a researcher, Haritaworn specialises in homophobia and queer policy in relation to the neoliberal regime.
Title: Black feminism and navigating through difference
Participants: Moderator Victoria Kawesa and others.
Victoria Kawesa is a PhD student at Tema Gender, Linköping University, which is hosting the conference. She will organise this keynote group on racism in a feminist context. The list of other participants has not been finalized.