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CfP: Women*s Suffrage and Democracy; Critique, Memory, Visions

1. February 2021 Add to calendar
Call for papers

SAGS Conference 2021: November 26-27, 2021, University of Zurich

The occasion and backdrop of the conference in 2021 is the 50th anniversary of Swiss women*’s right to vote, introduced in 1971. The conference tackles the theme of «women*’s suffrage and democracy» from a democracy and gender theoretical, intersectional and postcolonial perspective with a focus on both Switzerland and the situation in other countries and contexts. First, we are interested in critical analyses of concepts of democracy, political participation, and citizenship regarding their inclusions and exclusions. A second emphasis lies on historic and current manifestations of memory cultures in relation to denied and hard-won political rights in Switzerland and worldwide. Finally, attention will be devoted to contributions focusing on envisioning gender-just societies and politics as well as conceptions of comprehensive political rights and political participation in society. We will consider submissions from all disciplines that engage with one or several key aspects of the conference theme.

Our first focus lies on critical analyses of conceptions of democracy, political participation, and citizenship with regard to systematic inclusions and exclusions in Switzerland as well as other countries and contexts. We are particularly interested in the following questions:

- How were and are the political exclusions and inclusions of women* in the 20th century reflected and analyzed from a democratic theory perspective?
- What models of democracy were and are used to justify exclusions and inclusions?
- What understandings of democracy, political participation, and citizenship can be derived from historic and current exclusions from a critical perspective?
- What conflicts and paradoxes can we identify in liberal, nation-state democracies from a democratic theory perspective?
- How to theorize emancipatory transgressions of democracy and/or formulate alternative understandings of democracy and politics, political participation and citizenship from a queer-feminist, intersectional and postcolonial perspective?
- In what ways did and does gender become an object of democratic politics and what does it mean in different contexts to politicize gender?

Our second focus lies on possibilities and limitations of the remembrance of the (historic) injustice regarding the denied and hard-won right to women*’s suffrage. We are particularly interested in the following questions:

- How to conceive and commemorate as injustice the political exclusion of women* worldwide and in Switzerland in particular?
- How is the political exclusion of women* thematized in literature, art and media?
- What forms of protest, means of propaganda, visual language were used in feminist campaigns for women*’s suffrage nationally and internationally?
- What are historic and current examples of a queer-feminist, intersectional and postcolonial culture of remembrance in dealing with denied and hard-won rights to women*’s suffrage?
- What understanding of democracy is cultivated and commemorated in Switzerland and other nations?
- What are the historical and transnational connections between suffrage movements and specific forms of protest? How are they passed on and archived?

Our third emphasis lies on normative, emancipatory and activist approaches to conceptualizing fundamental political rights and visions of a gender-just politics and society. We are particularly interested in the following questions:

- What is the significance of democratic suffrage today in the context of global migration, transnational capitalism and supranational institutions as well as nationalist and authoritarian politics?
- What forms of political participation can be discerned and developed for the 21st century?
- How effective are quotas for women* and minorities in political institutions in order to achieve gender equality and diversity?
- What is the relevance of the political inclusion of women* for existing and future gender relations and gender orders?
- How are different struggles and claims for equal rights and political participation connected to each other on a transnational, intersectional and socio-economic level? Where lie their normative potential?
- What conclusions can be drawn from historic structures of inequality and feminist struggles for a vision of political justice?
- What new aspects – e.g. regarding the environment, future generations and non-human life forms as well as self-determined work(ing conditions) and just economic structures – need to be taken into account in political visions of democracy?
- How are current Covid-19-related politics changing our understanding, the sphere of action and the practices of democratic participation as well as of substantive forms of inclusion and exclusion? What freedoms are up for discussion or even suspended, what freedoms are protected and defended?
- What social spheres must be democratized more in the future? How?

Submission Guidelines:
The Swiss Association for Gender Studies accepts panel and individual paper submissions from academics, practitioners, activists, early-career researchers and doctoral students worldwide. Submissions may be from a range of disciplines, but they must thematise the topic of the conference. We consider submissions in French, German and English.

The conference of the SAGS takes place in cooperation with the conference of the Swiss Institute of feminist legal studies and gender law (FRI) on the theme “women*’s suffrage and democracy: the fabric of (in)justice” (September 9-11, 2021). The two conferences themes complement each other while focusing on discrete key aspects.

Organised by: 
SGGF/SSEG Swiss Association for Gender Studies


University of Zurich
Rämistrasse 71

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Cost information

0.00 CHF