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Why Gender?
University of Jyväskylä 9th-10th of October 2009

Call for Sessions, deadline 30th November 2008

The two-day international conference entitled 'Why Gender?' aims to
bring together both Finnish and international scholars from a number
of different disciplines to participate in intellectual discussion
regarding future directions gender theory could take. The conference
is conceived as a starting point for future networking on this

The continued importance of gender as a social category in the late
modern world prompts us to ask the oft-forgotten question: why? As
researchers in the humanities whose studies are firmly grounded in
empirical data, we are primarily concerned with how gender is
theorized within our disciplines, as well as how gender researchers
can both draw upon and contribute to theories in areas outside the
humanities, for example social studies. The conference organizers
would like to see more theoretical work on gender, this most elusive
of social divisions, which combines the insights made within women's
studies, men's studies, feminist studies, queer studies, and the
anthropological study of gender.

The organizer of the conference is the project “Strategic Practices:
Hidden Histories of Gender in Finland 1880–2005”, funded by the
Academy of Finland’s research programme Power in Finland. We are a
multidisciplinary team of seven researchers (ethnologists, historians
and folklorists) from University of Jyväskylä and University of
Helsinki. The project director is Prof. Laura Stark from the
Department of History and Ethnology, University of Jyväskylä. 

In our view, current theories of gender which assume women’s
universal inequality and male dominance in social life take as their
point of departure that which actually needs to be investigated,
including hierarchies and use of power within women’s groups and
within men’s groups. Even after several decades of valuable work
uncovering the socially-constructed nature of gender, we are still
not questioning deeply enough our basic assumptions regarding the
inevitability of gender.

The conference will consist of lectures by keynote speakers and
thematic sessions. The keynote speakers are:

Dr Wendy Cealey Harrison, University of Greenwich, UK, author of e.g.
“Beyond Sex and Gender” (2002)
Prof. Jeff Hearn, Svenska handelshögskolan, author of e.g. “Men in
the Public Eye. The Construction and Deconstruction of Public Men and
Public Patriarchies” (1992) and “The Violences of Men. How Men Talk
About and How Agencies Respond to Men's Violence to Women” (1998)
Dr. Sally Hines, University of Leeds, UK, author of e.g.
“TransForming Gender: Transgender Practices of Identity, Intimacy and
Care” (2006)

Guideline for session organizers

The abstracts of the proposed sessions should be in English, not
exceeding 250 words. The abstract should include the title of the
session and the names of the organizer(s). 
Deadline for session abstracts is 30 November 2008. Send the abstract
as an .doc or .rtf file to pasi.saarimaki at campus.jyu.fi and
heli.niskanen at campus.jyu.fi . The accepted sessions will be announced
in December 2008. The call for papers will be announced in January

The sessions might, for example, focus on following themes (but are
by no means limited to these):

-Intertwining of gender, sexuality and power
-The practice and performativity of gender
-What sorts of social phenomena reinforce the significance of gender
and what weaken it
-What kind of discourses legitimate gender 
-Definitions and micro-mechanisms of patriarchy 
-Rethinking nature vs. nurture: new ways to redefine and understand
the complex and multiple connections between what we call biology and
-What is this social distinction we call gender really about and why
does it exist and persist?

If you have any questions, please contact Pasi Saarimäki
(pasi.saarimaki at campus.jyu.fi) or Heli Niskanen
(heli.niskanen at campus.jyu.fi).

More information about the conference and our project:
http://research.jyu.fi/strategicpractices/indexeng.html (in English)
http://research.jyu.fi/strategicpractices (in Finnish)

Ilmoituksen lähetti: Pasi Saarimäki <pasi.saarimaki at campus.jyu.fi>
Ilmoitus vanhentuu: 01.12.2008
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