Critical Studies Conference
"Spheres of Justice"
of the Panel: Feminist Perspectives on Justice
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Kašić Rethinking Feminist
Perspective or How to Radicalize Responsibility
María do Mar Castro Varela Envisioning Justice: Recognition and Redistribution
Nikita Dhawan Transnational
Feminist Alliances and Gender Justice
presentation will endeavor to explore potentials of justice nowadays having in
mind both feminist arguments around the care/justice dichotomy as well as
feminist ways in seeking alternative justice. In this regard women’s active
response and engagement against different types of violence and sexual assault
such as rape and trafficking in post/conflict countries of former Yugoslavia can
offer a platform for confronting numerous dilemmas around approaches and
solutions (ethical, social, juridical etc.) when such complex issues
Although in my analysis I will focus primarily on the questions of how justice is ‘engendered’ and to which extent it is reachable at all, and how specific models of justice (such as public hearings, alternative courts for justice, etc.) affect women’s sense of survival and dignity, there is a need to broaden the epistemological and ethical horizon.
A core dynamic of “truth versus justice” which is the basis of the constant tension of the postwar aftermath in terms of ‘normalization’ of human relations, in the case of sexual violence and exploitation of women not only goes beyond the human rights framework, but to the utmost boundaries creates various constraints around forgiveness, reconciliation and self-esteem on an individual and social level and thereby searches for a wider social restorative approach. The examples of testimonials by women from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Rwanda and Korean women before the Tribunal Court in Tokyo fifteen years ago speak significantly about this.
Many questions need to be addressed: What is the political realm when discursive confessional testimonials of women are in question? What are the juridical and political implications of witnessing possibilities for the continuation of life for women survivors? Or, in an opposite direction, is the translation of women’s pain into the language of legal rights possible at all? Or, within a wider frame, what are the feminist responses to the conditions of human vulnerability that follow from events such as war, political trauma, colonization, exploitation, torture, modern slavery, rape, disappearance?
In short, I will try to embrace arguments for radicalizing responsibility referring to Judith Butler’s syntagm of radicalizing desire for security of humans by highlighting an urgent need for a new ethical practice. Within a contemporary social frame this implies questioning the conditions of gendered power systems, social injustice and capital destructiveness to the most extent.
Dr. Biljana Kašić is a feminist theorist and activist in Croatia. From 1995 to 2006 she was the coordinator of the Centre for Women’s Studies in Zagreb. She currently teaches at the University of Zadar / Department of Sociology as an ass. professor and as a guest lecturer at various universities in Croatia and worldwide. She is co/author and co/editor of numerous books, studies and papers including Teaching Subjects in Between: Feminist Politics, Disciplines, Generations (2006), Gyné politiké or about Woman as Political Citizen (2004), “Féminismes ‘Est-Ouest’ dans une perspective postcoloniale”. Nouvelles Questions Feministes, Vol.23, (2004), ACTIVISTS ‘Spelling Out’ Theory, (2000), Women and the Politics of Peace (…) (1997). She draws exceptional power from her feminist and peace activism theorizing and searching for alternative justice and peace.
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María do Mar Castro Varela Envisioning Justice: Recognition and Redistribution
On the one hand, the intersection of gender with other categories including race, class, caste and sexuality needs to be explored and on the other hand, it is important to address issues of redistribution and recognition. Current discussions on the issue of social justice are increasingly employing the model of intersectionality, which tries to explain and demonstrate how different forms of discriminations overlap and intersect and thereby produce ‘marginalized’ subject positions who are vulnerable to power structures in a very specific way. Herein power is understood to have multiple sources and to take many forms even as these diverse forms of power interact, manifesting themselves in context-specific ways to produce particular conjunctures of oppression. This model helps challenge uni-dimensional, essentialist notions of power and violence and helps rethink the issue of resistance. In my paper, I will present some feminist models of intersectionality and interrogate their effectiveness to assess their relevance for achieving gender justice. , thinking about gender and power from a transnational perspective allows one to redefine the nature and practice of feminist projects. Transnational perspectives on gender justice raises challenging questions regarding the future of feminist alliances. The panel seeks to critically examine issues of gender justice with the aim of exploring new visions of justice.
María do Mar Castro Varela was Maria-Goeppert-Mayer Guest Professor at the Institute of Political Science, Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, Germany (Winter Semester 2006-2007). She holds a doctorate in Political Science from the Justus Liebig University Giessen, and a double degree in Psychology and Pedagogy, both from the University of Cologne, Germany. She is co-founder of the Institute for Migration and Inequality Studies (IMUF). Her research specializations are migration studies, antidiscrimination politics and feminist postcolonial theory. Recently she published “Untimely Utopias. Migrant Women between Self-invention and Learned Hope”. The edited volume “Social (In)Justice: Antidiscrimination, Decolonization and Democratization” is in preparation. (both publication are in German).
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Nikita Dhawan Transnational Feminist Alliances and Gender Justice
The interplay between gender and power is at the heart of feminist theory and practice. In my talk, I will investigate how thinking about gender justice from a transnational perspective allows one to redefine the nature and practice of feminist projects. Previous nation-bound models are being replaced by transnational approaches that draw on the knowledge and experiences of women and about gender in a global perspective. I propose to analyse how transnational feminist organising moves away from the 'global sisterhood' position. In my reading of contemporary transnational feminist politics, I will critically evaluate the relationship between women and nation; between gender and globalization; and between feminist theory and practice. The objective of this lecture is to explore the challenges and future of transnational feminist theory and its relation to gender justice. Thinking about gender and power from a transnational perspective allows one to redefine the nature and practice of feminist projects. Transnational perspectives on gender justice raises challenging questions regarding the future of feminist alliances. The panel seeks to critically examine issues of gender justice with the aim of exploring new visions of justice.
Nikita Dhawan was Maria-Goeppert-Mayer Guest Professor for International Gender Research at the Institute of Political Science, Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg (Winter Semester 2006-2007). She received her doctorate in philosophy at the Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany. She holds a double M.A. in German Literature and Philosophy, both from Mumbai University, India. Her research specializations are feminist postcolonial theory and transcultural philosophy . Recent publications are “Impossible Speech: On the Politics of Silence and Violence” and “Postcolonial Theory. A Critical Introduction” (jointly with María do Mar Castro Varela) (in German).
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