CFP: Wittgenstein and the Concept of 'Woman'

Submission deadline: October 15, 2022

Conference date(s):
March 23, 2023 - March 24, 2023

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Complutense University of Madrid
Madrid, Spain


Under the title “Wittgenstein and the Concept of ‘Woman’: Perspectives from Ordinary Language Philosophy, Art and History”, we would like to invite women* philosophers to use Wittgenstein’s philosophy to shed light on the troubled concept of “Woman”, linking conceptual, artistic and historical perspectives. This is the third event in the “Wittgenstein and Women” conference and workshop series, which aims, on the one hand, to make Wittgenstein’s philosophy fruitful for feminist thought and, on the other hand, to support Wittgenstein research by women.

The conference aims to broaden and diversify the scope of Wittgenstein scholarship, to challenge the supposed neutrality of philosophy along with its tendency towards androcentrism, by positioning ourselves from the perspective as woman* Wittgensteinians. Through this positioning, we hope to gain new insights into what it means to be a “woman”. Allowing for the complexity and diversity of investigating the concept of “woman” and taking also into consideration the recent debates in transfeminism, we want to combine (linguistic-) philosophical approaches with historical, artistic or aesthetic perspectives.

The idea of using Wittgenstein’s philosophy for feminist ideas is a development, that began about thirty years ago, and has shown that Wittgenstein’s writings can be a rich resource for feminist philosophy. There is a large body of literature that rethought moral and political philosophy as well as social science coming from and with Wittgenstein, thus preparing the ground for more recent attempts to link Wittgenstein’s philosophy with feminist theory (including, e.g., Diamond 1991, Crary and Read 2000, Mouffe 2000, Scheman and O’Connor 2002, Zerilli 2005, Laugier, Provost and Trächtler 2022, and many more). Among the earliest explicit attempts is Cressida Heyes’ study Line Drawings. Defining Women through Feminist Practice (2000), where she argues with Wittgenstein for an anti-essentialist, more inclusive conception of the category “women”. The question of the drawing of boundaries with respect to categories and species is also discussed in the anthology Re-Reading the Canon. Feminist Interpretations of Ludwig Wittgenstein edited by Naomi Scheman and Peg O’Connor (2002).

These alternative approaches to the conference theme will be complemented by a workshop with presentations of women graduate students, where they can present their academic or artistic ideas and in-progress work. The workshop will be supervised by Astrid Wagner (CSIC, Madrid). You can read more about the workshop here.

Keynote speakers:

·        Esa Díaz-León (University of Barcelona)

·        Danièle Moyal-Sharrock (University of Hertfordshire)

To participate in the workshops, please submit through this form by 15 October. We kindly ask you to respect our format of woman* speakers and to desist from submitting if you exclusively identify yourself as male.

In case you have any questions, please ask Isabel G. Gamero ([email protected]), Jasmin Trächtler ([email protected]) or Camille Braune ([email protected]). Read more on our series “Wittgenstein and Women”.

Supporting material

Add supporting material (slides, programs, etc.)