2021 Symposium

Gender in Catastrophic Times Symposium

Lilith: A Feminist History Journal

Online, Thursday 23 September-Friday 24 September 2021

Call for Papers

The 2020s have thus far been defined by catastrophe. The decade began in the midst of widespread environmental devastation, with bushfires across Australia choking entire cities until whole towns fled the flames, followed by fires in the Amazon and across the west coast of the United States as well. 2020 has since been designated one of the hottest years on record. Political crises have been rampant, too. The world has witnessed the continuing blight of white supremacy, epitomised by the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police officers, which fuelled the global Black Lives Matter movement. Australia is beset with the ongoing damage of colonisation, such as the over 400 Indigenous deaths in custody since the 1991 Royal Commission in Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Even 2021 began in political turmoil, with the world watching as the U.S. Capitol building was stormed by right-wing extremists. The beginnings of this decade have been characterized by catastrophe in multiple ways, even before we consider the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused inconceivable loss of life world-wide and exposed many deep-seated social inequalities.

In this symposium, we turn to past instances of difficult times to understand how societies have responded to and survived catastrophe. We specifically seek to understand gender in catastrophic times: how is gender mediated through and by catastrophe? How has gender contributed to or even caused catastrophe? And how have people reconsidered or reframed gender and gender norms in light of catastrophe? We seek to understand this not for a cynical recirculation of trauma, but in the hopes of searching for a means of emerging from the current disasters through which we are living.

The Lilith Editorial Collective invites proposals for 20-minute papers that reflect on and explore these themes and more. We invite proposals from scholars across academic disciplines, and particularly encourage postgraduate and early career researchers to submit proposals. We also encourage scholars outside Australia to apply; please indicate in your submission if you are based outside of Australia, and we will endeavour to schedule your paper at an accessible time. Symposium participants will be invited to submit article-length versions of their papers to Lilith: A Feminist History Journal for a 2022 special issue.

The symposium will be held at the ACU Melbourne campus in Fitzroy over Wednesday 27 and Thursday 28 September 2023, with zoom and in-person presentation options available for both domestic and international speakers.

Keynote Speakers

Paula Michaels, Associate Professor of Eastern and Western Europe, Monash University

Sandy O’Sullivan, Professor of Indigenous Studies, Macquarie University