“LEFT” IN THE DARK?
POSTCOLONIAL CONVERSATIONS ON LAW, NEOLIBERALISM AND QUEER-FEMINIST FUTURES
OCTOBER 16-18, 2014
JINDAL GLOBAL LAW SCHOOL
O.P. JINDAL GLOBAL UNIVERSITY
“In the dark times will there also be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing about the dark times.”
“Where should we go after the last frontiers?
Where should the birds fly after the last sky?
Where should the plants sleep after the last breath of air?”
The dark times of neoliberalism are not only about the devastation that hyper-capitalism has unleashed on the living and labouring “precariat” (Guy Standing: 2011). It is also about the ways in which neoliberalism and its misogynist vicissitudes in imperial-militarism are appropriating the agendas of left movements, marking the emergence of their own dark sides. Many left movements – particularly the queer and feminist movements – have been at the receiving end of a sophisticated co-option of their politics by the seductions of neoliberal capital and secular law, especially in postcolonial and settler colonial nation-states.
Choice, autonomy and pleasure continue to be the queer-feminist emancipatory buzzwords, just as their articulation is being increasingly decorated in the celebratory attire of individuation and responsibilization (Cossman: 2007). In addition, collective action in queer-feminist politics, and its alliances with other social justice movements have been deeply fractured through neoliberalism’s assaults, as well as through its complicity in neoliberal agendas. As a result, there is a sense of despair that has overtaken the ranks.
The complicities and contradictions of queer-feminist politics demands a revisiting of its positions as well as a taking account of its failures. This requires a committed engagement in the task of asking and answering (at least attempting to) hard questions: why have progressive political projects produced so little in terms of change and transformation, while the neoliberal market and state legalism appears to be offering so much more to formerly stigmatised and oppressed groups? Is queer-feminism partly to blame for the current disconnect between the goals of its progressive politics and the options afforded by the market? Have we reached a moment when, as Janet Halley has written, it is time to take a break from feminism (Split Decisions, 2006)? Or is it time to take a break from specific kinds of feminism? Anglo-American Feminism? Dominance Feminism? Omnipotent Feminism? Should we also take a break from similar conservative avatars of queer politics: from queer imperialism? Queer Islamophobia? Queer racism? Queer orientalism? From ‘Pinkwashing’ and ‘Homonationalism’? (Puar: 2007; Schulman: 2012)
What are the possibilities then for queer-feminist activism and theory in accounting for failure: To what extent do they remain sites of both excitement as well as trouble? While refusing to relinquish engagement with the terrain of gender or sex, what theoretical possibilities exist to recapture the radical/disruptive or affective dimensions of these notions? How do we rethink our politics in the neoliberal academic space while intellectually engaging with queer-feminism on the one hand, and serving the ends of global capital on the other?
This international conference seeks to address these concerns by entering into a conversation about sex and gender politics in post/ settler colonial spaces, in neo-liberal times. While law, legalism and the juridical will remain some of the central cites of critical inquiry, the conference is committedly interdisciplinary in its orientation.
Janet Halley, Royall Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, will be the keynote speaker at the event.
The conference will be organised over three days. On the first day, there will be a research workshop on ‘Law, Global Justice and the Critical Scholar-Activist in Neoliberal Times’, for graduate students (MPhil/ PhD) and early career academics. The workshop will allow participants to receive detailed feedback on their works-in-progress from both peers and internationally renowned scholars in the field. The workshop will also be used as an opportunity to plan an innovative publication programme with the participants. The subsequent two days will consist of paper presentations and round-tables.
We invite paper abstracts and panel proposals on the following topics. This list is merely indicative.
-Sexual violence, law, and the making of international causes
-Human rights law in a neoliberal world
-Freedom, productivity, the market and the law
-Pleasure in/ of activism
-Solidarities, fissures, collective struggles, and the waning state
-Scholarship, activism and its neoliberal complicities
-Location, voice, representation and the postcolonial
-Taking a Break – possibilities and limitations
-Queer-feminist scholarship in the neoliberal legal academy
-The politics of failure, despair and redemption
-Affect, law, and visual cultures
Paper abstracts must not be more than 500 words long. Panel proposals must not be more than 1000 words long, and must carry the names of 4 panellists (which will include the panel organizer), and a tentative indication of what each panellist will speak on. Innovative panel formats are welcome. For those interested in the Research Workshop, in addition to the paper abstract, please send us a 500 words long synopsis of a research project that you are currently engaged in.
All submissions must contain the name/s, affiliation/s, full postal address, telephone or mobile number, and email of the applicant. A special issue of a journal or an edited book volume will be published using select papers from the conference.
Organizers will provide accommodation and food for the days of the conference. Participants are expected to cover travel costs. Some travel support may be available.
Deadline: Please send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org by 1, February, 2014. Decisions will be announced by March 1, 2014. All enquiries should be directed to this email address.
Centre for Health, Law, and Ethics and the Collaborative Research Programme on Law, Culture and Postcoloniality, through the Global Justice Programme, Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University
Dipika Jain Associate Professor and
Centre for Health, Law and Ethics Jindal Global Law School
Oishik Sircar Doctoral Scholar and Teaching Fellow,
Melbourne Law School, and Honorary Research Fellow,Jindal Global Law School Email: email@example.com
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