Feminist Theory and Gender Studies

A blog to facilitate the communication of the Feminist Theory and Gender Studies Section (FTGSS) of the International Studies Association (ISA) concerning their research, activities, conferences, and thoughts.

Friday, April 04, 2008

ISA 2009 Organizing

This post is a place where you can post things you are working on for ISA 2009 to find others that might be interested in putting together panels for the conference. Be sure to list your name and a way to contact you. If you don't want to put your email address on the blog, feel free to list mine, and then I will forward it to you when I receive anything interesting. Also, check back regularly for reply posts.

ISA 2009 Call for Papers

Feminist Theory and Gender Studies Section

Call for Papers, ISA 2009

“Exploring the Past, Anticipating the Future”

Submission Deadline: May 30, 2008 (submit to ISA)

Laura Sjoberg, Program Chair


The 2009 ISA Call for Papers emphasizes the context of the landscape of international relations research, linking the past to the future with a wide variety of ontological, epistemological, and ontological perspectives. It looks at various questions of continuity and change in international relations. The theme, “Exploring the Past, Anticipating the Future,” inspires our section to continue important conversations that we have been having, to push the boundaries of our current scholarly interests, and to move forward conversations both across subfields of International Relations and across scholarly disciplines.

What insights do gendered lenses provide for exploring the past and anticipating the future? How can we use feminist insights to create productive conversations about text and context? Can we use questions of continuity and change to get included in conversations which generally omit gender concerns, and include a larger audience in our conversations? What do diverse perspectives contribute to our work, and what do we contribute to others? How has our work dealt with difference in the scholarly world and in the world of global politics? Does it have something to contribute to the theme’s mission to explore the “twin pitfalls of over-predicting and under-predicting change? How does our work dialogue with that of others in our section, our departments, our universities, and our worlds? What can we do to create that dialogue, at ISA and beyond?

These “new” conversations could occur not only between members of the FTGS section and others within ISA, but also between our members themselves. How would the serious study of change make our conversations different? Or the serious study of context?

This theme, combined with the location of the conference, also provides the unique opportunity of pulling people who normally do not come to ISA into our discussions. What do sociologists, psychologists, geographers, and others study and argue that has relevance to our work? What would a dialogue with those people look like? What do practitioners think about these questions as they relate to our work? Could we include members policy communities (e.g., the United Nations; the NGO working group on Women, Peace, and Security; Women in International Security; the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom?) What would they say about our work, and what insight might we have into theirs?

The convention theme is also presents a challenge to our section – as the themes of the past few years have emphasized concerns traditionally salient in FTGS (bridging divides, the politics of scholarship, etc). As it is worded, the ISA call for papers includes terms familiar to feminist work – context, continuity, and change – but uses them in ways different than we imagine them applying; mostly in reference to system-level processes. This challenge, however, is both a difficulty and an opportunity – an opportunity to share our interpretations of continuity/change and the structure/agent debate with those unfamiliar with feminist theory and gender studies. Recently, there are those who have argued that scholars can study gender in the terms of the mainstream, without a concern for feminists’ interest in gender subordination. How does our work answer that argument? How would a feminist study the “gender gap” or civilian immunity or the rational design of international institutions? What would we say to other IR scholars about the empirical and theoretical focuses of their work? Given that, can we construct those dialogues? If we do construct those dialogues, how can we make sure that we are heard?

The Feminist Theory and Gender Studies section invites panels and individual papers from diverse perspectives, including those examining globalization, democratization, human rights, security, gender mainstreaming, disciplinary and physical borders, indigenous issues, security, nationalism, terrorism, interstate and intrastate conflict, and post-conflict societies. Questions that can be addressed include:

  • What are the perspectives feminist theory and gender studies can add to the “mainstream” on the questions of continuity and change in the international system? What are the ways that our work interrogates whether these are the right questions to ask or the right assumptions to start with?

  • There’s “context” in terms of history, then there’s context in terms of surroundings. In what context, in the section, in the discipline, or in the policy world, do we do our research? How is it reliant on our context? How can it transform it?

  • How does exploring the past of feminist theory and gender studies (as a scholarly endeavor and/or as a section) help us anticipate its future?

  • How does feminist scholarship see, account for, and deal with change in international relations? In gender relations? Are gender relations changing in global politics? If so, how?

Continuing the trend of previous years, we are also interested in panels that create productive conversations across ISA sections, and the IR discipline across the board. For example, interdisciplinary panels that engage questions of security, environment, and gender; global development, international political economy, and gender; Information and Communications Technologies and gender; panels which address an issue-area from differing research traditions; panels that create conversations across different approaches within FTGS.

Also, continuing a successful request from last year, we are interested in encouraging participation from scholars and practitioners who work from areas beyond the North American and/or European academes. We are particularly interested in papers by authors who are co-authoring across these geographies. Scholars new to ISA or to the Feminist Theory Gender Studies section are particularly encouraged to apply.

Further, FTGS encourages you to email program@femisa.org for help finding people to be on a panel with and for help with your innovative ideas. We remind you that you can use our blog – ftgss.blogspot.com in order to communicate with other members of the section. Also, we remind you that you need to submit your panels and papers and roundtables to two sections when you fill out the form on the ISA website.

Finally, there are some changes that will take place at ISA 2009. First, ISA will be running five sessions every day – without a scheduled break for lunch. Second, ISA 2009 begins on Sunday and ends on Wednesday, with Saturday being set aside for workshops. Make sure that you remember this when making your travel plans. Third, BOTH THE ISA PROGRAM CHAIRS AND I WILL BE ENFORCING PARTICIPATION MAXIMUMS ON ALL MEMBERS. You can present twice (papers and roundtables) but no more than twice. This is because the conference will be smaller next year than it was this year, and ISA wants to make sure that the most people have the opportunity to participate. Keep in mind, though, that discussant roles do not count against this maximum, and FTGS appreciates your continued service as discussants.