Friday, 21 June: Dr Nirmal Puwar
‘Space Invading As Protest’
The tension between bodies and space has played a productive part in feminist protests. Calling on different moments of feminist protest, the very ways in which space invading has been a central feature of protest will frame the direction of this presentation. The knotted and entwined character of nation, bodies and stone in protest will be mapped using different methods of investigation. The discussion will foreground the notion of artistic experimentation and institutional disruptions, space and the somatic norm to oxygenate discussions of protest in relation to gender, class and race. Working against the grain of melodramatic postures which too easily characterise protestors as heroines or victims, this conversation will work from the more muddled plane of politics in place.
Saturday, 22 June: Prof Nadje Al- Ali
‘Revolutionary Moments – Reactionary Processes: A Feminist Reflection on Protest, Mobilization and Change in the Middle East’
This talk will reflect on the gendered processes and outcomes linked to what has been coined “the Arab Spring”. Historically and cross culturally, women’s contributions to and participation in revolutions and revolutionary processes have frequently been side-lined in their aftermath: struggles for the “common good of all” are being privileged over women’s specific demands and interests. We have seen instances of marginalization of feminist demands, particularly in the Egyptian context. But what are the strategies and choices of feminists in the region in the current political moment? How have different historical trajectories affected the social and political spaces available for those local actors mobilizing for women’s rights? I will be building on my experiences of working on and with Iraqi women’s rights activists over the past ten years to reflect on current tensions and contradictions emerging, particularly in the context of Egypt.
Sunday, 23 June: Prof Diane Elson
‘Challenging austerity through feminist analysis’
My talk will focus on feminist challenges to cuts to public services and social security in the UK, highlighting the work of the UK Women’s Budget Group (WBG), a network of academics and activists that analyses the impact of austerity on women in the UK, and advocates for alternative economic and social policies. I will discuss the collective methods of work used by the WBG (of which I am Chair), present some WBG findings about the impact of austerity, and discuss the problems of trying to make a difference to national economic and social policy. More can be found about the WBG on http://www.wbg.org.uk