Welcome to the 5th RINGS annual meeting and conference Genders and Feminisms in a Polarised World: Sustainability, Futures and Utopias, hosted by the Gender Studies Research Group at Tallinn University, Estonia, October 2-4, 2019.
The conference focuses on the meanings of genders, feminisms and the role of gender and feminist studies at the time of polarisation and global sustainability crises.
We are living at a time of increasing political polarisations, deepening divisions shaped by conflicting values and the troubling rise of populism. This is evidenced by disturbing developments such as the rise of far-right political forces, misogynistic neoconservatism as well as the emergence of anti-gender sentiments and movements globally. In this context, gender studies occupies a precarious position. It is typically seen by conservative and far right political stakeholders as a radical attempt to restructure society and culture, as they fight against the “gender ideology” and have even succeeded in banning some academic gender studies programmes.
At the same time, we inhabit the age of the Anthropocene where human-induced climate change threatens the wellbeing and sustainability of not only our communities and societies but the entire planet. We need urgent ways of dealing with this ecological crisis. Responses to this have to be collective and move beyond individual solutions as typically promoted by the hegemonic neoliberal ideology prevalent in many societies today. Forging alliances, solidarities and developing joint interventions to deal with the ecological crisis is challenging at the time of polarisation which further exacerbates the global sustainability crisis.
Despite the marginalisation and precarious position of gender studies in many national contexts, gender and feminist perspectives can make important contributions to making sense of the increasingly polarised world and how this poses a threat to sustainability on local and global levels. This way, gender and feminist studies could provide visions of more sustainable futures - socially, culturally, and ecologically.
To achieve this, we need new theoretical insights and directions that help us to make sense of and challenge the currently unfolding environmental crisis and political polarisations, as our existing frameworks may be inadequate to explain these phenomena. Here, inspiration may be drawn from many directions, for example, posthumanist thinking and ecofeminist theories that have critically addressed how people relate to and intra-act with the more-than- human, thus redefining the very category of the human, in light of sustainability.
Call for Papers: click HERE