University of South Carolina Women’s and Gender Studies Conference
March 19-21, 2009
In conjunction with the Association of
Feminist Epistemologies, Methodologies, Metaphysics, and Science Studies
FEMMSS 3: The Politics of Knowledge
Call for abstracts for individual papers or panels
FEMMSS 3 seeks to deepen the understanding of the politics of knowledge in
light of the increasing pressures of globalization, neoliberal
restructuring, and militarization. Calling an array of theoretical
frameworks including transnational feminism, post-colonial theory, cultural
studies, epistemologies of ignorance, feminist epistemologies, and feminist
science studies, this conference works to understand the ways in which
knowledge is politically constituted and its material affects on people’s
lives. The politics of knowledge can be discerned through the allocation
and the appropriation of intellectual and natural resources, through the
allocation of research funding, the control and commodification of the
health sciences and health care by multinational corporations, and the
dominance of Western knowledge over that of the Two-Thirds world.
Furthermore, the politics of knowledge can be seen in the way groups and
communities actively resist troubling affects of knowledge production
through grass-roots organizations such as the Third World Network,
community action groups, the citizens’ science movement, environmental justice
groups, and the various women’s health movements.
FEMMSS continues to be concerned about the importance and difficulty of
translating knowledge into action and practice. Ours is a highly
interdisciplinary group of feminist scholars who pursue knowledge questions
at the interstices of epistemology, methodology, metaphysics, ontology, and
science and technology studies. Themes for the conference include, but are
not limited to:
Whose Knowledge Matters?
• How do class, gender, race and ethnicity, disability, sexuality, and
other formations of difference shape what counts as expertise, what questions are
considered relevant, and which outcomes emerge from clashes and
negotiations between different forms of expertise?
• How have epistemologies of ignorance emerged as important conceptual and
political approaches to not only reveal patterns of active unknowing, but
also to point to strategies for resistance?
• How do the material conditions of people’s lives, such as access to
food, computers, information, and health care, enable or disable their
ability to live well, produce knowledge, and engage in resistance?
Science, Knowledge and the State
• What has been the role of science and technology in fostering
militarization, or in intervening in the militarization of subjectivity?
• What is the role of science in constructing historical knowledges that
underpin the nation-state and justify the subordination of indigenous
and/or colonized peoples?
• What is the role of cultural production and new media in expanding
democratic participation and empowerment? In constructing, controlling, and
• How has “certainty” been constructed, deconstructed, and reconstructed in
the face of technoscientific uncertainty?
Knowledges of Resistance
• What are some of the promising community-based research strategies that
can help us to understand the effects that corporate control of health and
health care is having?
• How do local and globally connected citizens’ groups work to reveal and
resist environmental racism, globalization, and gender injustice that are
generated and perhaps obscured by the production of knowledge?
• How can Western feminists and feminists from the Two-Thirds World
establish symmetrical relationships that don’t replicate the patterns of
• How can we best create robust links with activists, advocates, and
• What are some strategies for bringing policy concerns to the work of
FEMMSS and the work of FEMMSS to policy-makers?
You are invited to submit abstracts (500-word maximum) for individual
presentations or panels relevant to the conference theme as well as to
other issues in women’s and gender studies. Please submit the abstract of your
paper or panel proposal by September 15, 2008 to: