3rd Annual Conference

May 9-11, 2014

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Gender and Crises in Global Politics

Link to Final Program

 Speakers included: Jack Halberstam, J. Ann Tickner, Jacqui True, Sandra Harding, Cynthia Enloe, Cynthia Weber

If one is to believe what newspapers, news media, and even IR’s journals suggest, the global political arena is (again) in a time of crisis. The Global Financial Crisis still reverberates and is producing the Debt Crisis. The continued violence in Syria, the tensions between Israel and Palestine, the aggression of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the risk of Iran’s proliferation and other militarily volatile situation have been characterized as crises. Environmentalists warn of ecological crisis, health scholars warn of a disease crisis, cyber-security specialists suggest a coming information crisis, and migration experts warn of population crises. On the other hand, a range of issues are excluded from the categories of crisis. Why, for example, is rape in the Democratic Republic of the Congo not a crisis? Taken together, these present-day presumed crises and non-crises sit beside a history of global politics that is often told as a connection of crises – wars, depressions, diseases, and natural disasters.

Feminist work in International Relations has addressed many of these crises, both historical and contemporary, yet there is more to be done. The thematic focus of this year’s conference is on feminist theorizing of crisis, as well as of crises. We hope papers will address some of the following questions, both theoretically and empirically:

  • How does an event or social situation come to be constituted and represented as a crisis? What do gender and/or queer lenses tell us about what we recognize as crisis and how we read those crises?
  • Whose suffering constitutes a crisis, and what reactions are warranted? How does crisis policy behavior allow for the omission of concerns and needs of people at the margins of global politics? What do feminist and/or queer approaches to the politics of crisis representation look like?
  • Who/what is the subject of crisis politics? In crises, who is protected, saved, or forgotten? Whose crises demand attention? Whose are ignored?
  • What do gender and/or queer lenses tell us about analyzing crisis in global politics? What unique methods do feminisms bring to identifying and understanding what constitutes crises?
  • Are there feminist and/or queer approaches to crisis management? What challenges do crises present differently from ‘everyday politics’ as traditionally understood? What might a gendered/queer analysis of ‘means and ends’ tell us about crisis? Do gender and/or queer lenses tell us something about crisis strategy generally and/or disaggregate their analyses by types of crises?
  • How does feminist and/or queer theorizing deal with characterizations of 'times of crisis’? Does feminist and queer work in history, sociology, geography, and politics provide contextualization of such characterizations?
  • What if anything does it do to look at theorizing crisis as in crisis? How do gender/queer lenses think about crises in theorizing – of crisis itself and of specific concepts in crisis located in political economy to security?