Saturday, July 16, 2011

Write On! "Applied Feminism & Democracy"

(Delighted to welcome back alumna Nienke Grossman, who contributes this Write On! guest post)

The Center on Applied Feminism at my home institution, the University of Baltimore School of Law, seeks submissions for its Fifth Annual Feminist Legal Theory Conference, to be held March 1 and 2, 2012. This year’s theme is Applied Feminism and Democracy.
Over the past year, we have seen the impact of democracy on women’s lives globally, nationally, and on the state and local level. From participation in the overthrow of governments in the Middle East to battles over funding for Planned Parenthood in the United States, women and democracy has been a recurring theme of recent events.
Practitioners’ and activists’ papers need not follow a strictly academic format, but all paper proposals should address the conference theme. In this election year, we invite you to think about gender, feminism and democracy:
► Who does democracy best serve?
► How do democracies shape the lives of women?
► Does democracy increase women’s participation in governmental process?
► Have democratic governments been successful in advancing feminist goals?
► Are there better ways than democracy to address the issues that affect women’s lives?
► Is securing voting rights a feminist issue?
► What does democratic participation mean for women?
► How can women use democratic processes to improve their lives?
► How can feminist legal theory inform the creation and evolution of democracies?
► How might feminist principles inform our understanding of what democracy is and what it requires?
► Are there are distinctively feminist approaches to the meaning of democracy?
The conference will explore gender issues within emerging and well-established democracies, allowing us to reflect on past movements and propose future reforms.
This conference will attempt to address these and other questions from the perspectives of activists, practitioners, and academics. The conference will provide an opportunity for participants and audience members to exchange ideas about the current state of feminist legal theories and how those theories relate to women’s experiences of democracy. By expanding the boundaries of our exploration, we hope to deepen our understandings of feminist legal theory and to move new insights into practice. In addition, the conference is designed to provide presenters with the opportunity to gain extensive feedback on their papers.
The conference will begin the evening of Thursday, March 1, with a workshop for conference participants. This workshop will continue the annual tradition of involving all attendees to be participants in an interactive discussion and reflection. The workshop will be approximately two hours in length.
On Friday, March 2, the conference will continue with a day of presentations by legal academics, practitioners, and activists regarding current scholarship and/or legal work that explores the application of feminist legal theory to democracy.
The conference will be open to the public and will feature a keynote speaker. Past keynote speakers have included Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, Dr. Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, and Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist Sheryl WuDunn.
The University of Baltimore Law Review has agreed to offer publication to between two and four of the papers presented at the conference; if you are interested in having your previously unpublished manuscript considered for publication, please indicate this on your abstract submission.
To submit a paper proposal, please submit an abstract of no more than one page, with subject line "CAF conference submission," by 5 p.m. on October 14, 2011, to my colleague Leigh Goodmark (right), Baltimore Law professor and co-director of the Center, at (photo credit) Any questions about this call for papers or the conference may be directed to her as well.

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