Saturday, April 3, 2010

Write On! "Women's citizenship"

(IntLawGrrls is pleased to welcome back guest/alumna Máiréad Enright, who contributes this Write On! post)

The Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights, as well as the Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century, both at University College Cork in Ireland (where I'm a Fellow), invite Ph.D. students and new professors (no more than three years in teaching), from any discipline, to apply to participate in a workshop entitled "Subjects Before the Law: Membership, Recognition and the Religious Dimensions of Women's Citizenship."
The workshop, which will take place at UC Cork on Thursday, September 9, 2010 (the day before an international conference on "Gendering the Boundaries of Membership," which workshop participants also may attend), is organised as part of a Thematic Project on Gender Equality, Religious Diversity and Multiculturalism in Contemporary Ireland, sponsored by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences. It will begin with a seminar by Professor Lois McNay (right) of Somerville College, University of Oxford, author of Against Recognition (2008), Gender and Agency: Reconfiguring the Subject in Feminist and Social Theory (2000), and Foucault and Feminism: Power, Gender and the Self (1992). My co-organizer, Cork Ph.D. candidate Eoin Daly, and I are particularly keen to receive papers which address McNay's work.
Here's our explanation of the workshop theme:

Recent years have witnessed a shift by states away from policies and politics of multiculturalism. Against a background of diminishing state sovereignty, matters of affiliation, allegience, membership and belonging have become important projects for government. Across Europe, transnational and sub-national constellations of belonging are viewed as threatening social cohesion, loosening the ties that bind the nation-state. State responses have been marked by an anxious and exclusionary politics of membership, which seek to restore and re-inscribe the state's role as first or sole sovereign. Religious citizens have appealed to notions of religious rights grounded in law in an effort to bypass or restrict state scrutiny and regulation of group activity. Such attempts can be seen today in debates on the role of Muslim family law, in litigation on the display and wearing of religious symbols and in the regulation of intimate relations and reproductive autonomy. Historically, the demarcation of gender roles has frequently been intertwined with attempts to identify defining attributes of national identity. Thus, new interactions between religious groups and the state in the field of law have particular implications for women, as gender roles and status become intertwined with the boundaries and limits of membership.
(credit for (c) 2007 photo of Muslim schoolchildren at Dublin school)
Themes and questions we aim to discuss at the workshop:
► What are the implications for women of the shift away from multicultural policies and politics?
► Can law provide 'refuge' for religion from hostile post-secular politics? How should we imagine the new 'legal turn' in religious engagement with the state?
► Who is the religious subject before the law? How does the law construct women's religious, cultural and political affiliations? How might it do better?
► What does recognition theory tell us about the possibilities and limits of religious engagements with law?
► What are the limits and role of rights discourse in responding to deficiencies in how law 'sees' religion?
► What shape does the 'public' concept of citizenship take in the regulation of 'private sphere' religious activity?
► What are the implications of integration and citizenship testing for women? What should be the responses of feminist and human rights discourse to such testing?
► How useful are concepts of 'multiplicity', 'plurality' and 'intersectionality' to a legal analysis of membership conflicts?
► Where and how do we locate Ireland in current debates on women's membership, multiculturalism and the law?
An abstract of 250 words respecting a paper to be completed before the workshop, plus a CV, should be submitted to corkworkshop2010@gmail.com no later than May 1, 2010.
Full details here.

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