Organised by: Centre for Women's Studies, Bodoland University In collaboration with : Department of English, Bodoland University
To be a male is to be read as masculine and to be a female is to be read as feminine. Gender roles force people to make choices which otherwise they wouldn’t have. The fear of social ostracisation, which has the capacity to produce the same effect as punishment, make people perform socially assigned gender roles. To deviate will be to risk being treated as ‘unnatural’. The nineteenth century social theorists, Durkheim, Marx or Weber, inspite of their extensive examinations of social forces that affected modern society, seemed to pay little attention to the subject of inequalities that arise due to gender differences. Durkheim thought of the distinction between ‘sex roles’ as a functional, biologically based evolution. Weber also saw women’s dependent social position as fundamentally determined by ‘the normal superiority of the physical and intellectual energies of the male’. Weber also saw women’s dependent social position as fundamentally determined by ‘the normal superiority of the physical and intellectual energies of the male’. (Mary Holmes. What is Gender?/2007. P.3-4). Thus women’s subordinate positions were considered nothing but natural.
Although there have been scattered texts in protest against women’s subordination and social status, women’s movement as an organized movement began in the mid-nineteenth century America, drawing inspiration from the movement to abolish slavery. And it was in the later part of the twentieth century, beginning in the 1960s against the backdrop of civil rights movements, that women’s movements made major headways in raising critical awareness to the female experience and subjectivities of women. Challenges on the issues of race, class, religion, sexuality and gender which have been raised continue into the twenty-first century academic concerns. Gender theorists like Judith Butler began to raise questions on the interconnections between sex, gender and sexuality stating that “the cultural matrix through which gender identity has become intelligible requires that certain kinds of ‘identities’ cannot ‘exist’—that is, those in which gender does not follow from sex and those in which the practices of desire do not ‘follow’ from either sex or gender” (Gender Trouble, 1990/ 2006). Thus, if one is a feminine, woman-bodied heterosexual, it is an identity that is easily culturally understood. However, to attempt to mix this up is to portray a gender that is unintelligible to mainstream American or European cultures, which, according to Butler creates the potential for “gender trouble.” Gender then becomes a performance, where: acts, gestures, and desire produce the effect of an internal core or substance, but produce this on the surface of the body, through the play of signifying absences that suggest, but never reveal, the organizing principle of identity as the cause.
With increasing visibility of black and third world feminisms, mainstream feminism and women’s movements are challenged and interrogated. Talking on the black woman experience, bell hooks points out: “Although the women’s movement motivated hundreds of women to write on the woman question, it failed to generate in depth critical analyses of the black female experience” (Ain’t I a Woman?/ 2015). On similar lines, Sharmila Rege interrogates Indian feminist historiography which is defined by brahmanical, middle class biases. Her essay “Dalit Women Talk Differently: A Critique of Difference and Towards a Dalit Feminist Standpoint Position” opens up debates on the possibilities of revisioning feminist standpoints and explores spaces for non-dalit feminists to “reinvent themselves into dalit feminists” while acknowledging the unresolved debate on whether or not a non-dalit feminist can speak ‘as’ or ‘for’ dalit women. These multiple challenges have reassured possibilities of plural feminist standpoints that in turn have had a bearing on the shape of Women’s Studies so that its boundaries have expanded and crossed over seamlessly into different disciplines of study, which includes interrogations of normative hegemonies and perspectives on the broader area of gender.
The webinar invites papers based on the following broad areas of study: ● Gender and history
● Gender and literature ● Gender and environment ● Gender and politics ● Gender and economy ● Women and health ● Gender and medical discourses ● Gender and media ● Gender and pandemic ● Gender and religion ● Gender and education ● Gender, science and technology
Abstract submission deadline: 25th February 2022
Abstract acceptance: 28th February 2022 Registration: From 1st to 6th March 2022 only
Abstracts may be submitted to: firstname.lastname@example.org
7086242363 (Zothanchhingi Khiangte)
9864410027 (Manab Medhi)
7002317289 (Pratusha Bhowmik)
Patron: Vice-Chancellor, Bodoland University Adviser: Rector, Bodoland University Chairperson: Director, CWS, Bodoland University Convener: Dr. Zothanchhingi Khiangte, CWS, Bodoland University Co- Conveners: Dr. Manab Medhi & Dr. Pratusha Bhowmik, Dept. of English, Bodoland University Coordinator: Dr. Debajyoti Biswas, Head, Department of English, Bodoland University
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