Sunday, February 7, 2010

Write On! Sexual violence/conflict in Africa

(IntLawGrrls welcomes back alumna Doris Buss, who contributes this Write On! guest post regarding a call for papers for an upcoming conference she's organizing)

"Sexual Violence and Conflict in Africa" is the subject of a 2-day workshop to be held May 5 & 6, 2010, at my home institution, Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.
At this event, which is supported by the United Nations University, we plan to bring together academics and activists to initiate a detailed, multi-disciplinary, and multi-sectoral discussion of sexual violence and conflict in Africa. The workshop will be a mix of paper presentations and roundtable discussions to explore the social, political, economic, and cultural aspects of sexual violence and conflict in Africa. The intent is to move beyond descriptions of the phenomenon to a discussion of causes, consequences, patterns and possible solutions.
Paper proposals and applications for participation are invited from academics, practitioners (including non-governmental organisations) and service-providers. To foster a high-level, focused discussion, space is limited, and not all papers and participants can be accommodated.
To apply, please send in a paper proposal setting out the title, an abstract of fewer than 200 words, and a brief explanation of where your paper/research/area of expertise fits with the following workshop themes:
► 1. Understanding Wartime Sexual Violence: What is known about the patterns and processes of sexual violence in difference conflict zones in Africa? To what extent can and should comparisons be made across (or even within) conflict settings? What research is being done/data gathered and by whom? What work is being done on developing and reflecting on research methodologies and analytical frameworks for examining wartime sexual violence?
► 2. Sexual Violence and Ethnic/National conflict: What is the relationship between conflict, forms of conflict, identity markers, and patterns of sexualized violence. How have gender and ethnicity been invoked, contested and redefined through wartime rape? How do pre-conflict customs and norms explain the potential for, or resistance to wartime sexual violence? How is ethnicity and race understood and deployed by conflict actors, and the international community seeking to intervene in (or after) conflict? How do ethnic and gender categories function in a post conflict context to shape access to social resources by victims of sexual violence?
► 3. Militarism, masculinity and small arms: How are norms of masculinity invoked or changed through different types of militarism? What role do small arms, or changing patterns of armed conflict, play in structuring certain types of masculinity? How, in turn, does this impact on the conditions for and patterns of sexual violence? How are African masculinities portrayed in Western conceptions of and responses to wartime sexual violence?
► 4. The political economy of sexual violence: This panel explores the complex link between political economy, environment and wartime sexual violence. What role do multinational corporations, foreign direct investment, aid, and resource extraction play in creating the conditions for, and international responses to, wartime sexual violence?
► 5. Peacekeeping and Peacemaking: the role of the international community: What impact and influence do UN initiatives, including peacekeeping efforts have on the patterns and processes of sexual violence in conflict settings? What impact do they have on efforts to redress particular forms of sexual violence? What role do international actors play in the continuities between exploitation in war and peace?
► 6. (Re)presenting rape: What are the circumstances within which wartime rape in Africa becomes visible in and to the West? What political and analytical ‘work’ does the African rape victim, and the African rapists do in Western narratives of action, inaction, politics and justice? How and in what ways is the colonial project in Africa visible, or not, in Western representations of African sexual violence? How do such colonial tropes motivate international and Western responses and, for better or for worse, help constitute the transnational social field through which African activists operate?
► 7. Postconflict and transition: How do patterns and processes of sexual violence become visible, or not, in post conflict transition and reconciliation efforts? To what extent do patterns of sexual violence impact upon access to resources and redress in postconflict contexts? How are masculinities contested and redefined in the conflict period and to what extent does that impact on efforts to address (redress) wartime sexual violence?
If you are interested in simply participating, please send a brief letter identifying yourself, your organisation, and the nature of your work/interests in relation to the themes below.
Please send all correspondence to: sexualviolence.conflict.africa@gmail.com. Deadline for proposals is March 2, 2010.

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