CFP: Seeing Things Differently: Art, Philosophy, and the Futures of Feminism

Submission deadline: January 6, 2012

Conference date(s):
March 30, 2012 - March 31, 2012

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Department of Philosophy, Dundee University
Dundee, United Kingdom

Topic areas


The visual arts have a well-established history of engagement with feminism and gender issues. While artists have confronted such issues directly in their work, feminist theorists and philosophers have interrogated the gendering of vision as well as core aesthetic categories such as genius and the art/craft distinction.The ‘feminist’ label, however, can sometimes seem more of a trap than a call for liberatory practices.

This event takes as a starting point the idea that neither all artworks nor all theories informed by a gendered or feminist perspective will necessarily be focussed on what we might think of as ‘questions of gender’ or ‘women’s issues’. Where feminism succeeds is in making it harder to see women as simply determined by their sex or to reduce their work to a question of their gender. Many philosophers and practising artists who see their work as centrally informed by feminist or gendered concerns have moved beyond critique of masculinist traditions and paradigms to re-imagine bodies, identities, matter, space, time, ethics, power and freedom in radically new ways.

Nonetheless, many questions remain:

  • How do contemporary women practitioners and philosophers think about their relation to feminism, as well as about their own position as women? How do male artists and theorists think about their relation to gender and/or feminist issues?
  • To what extent are contemporary art practice and theory inflected by a gendered perspective? Where have feminist debates made a difference? What has been the impact of queer theory and other debates around sexuality?
  • What relevance might recent developments in feminist philosophy and theory have for those working as art practitioners (both women and men)?
  • To what extent will feminist concerns go on being relevant for the future of art theory and practice? What are the possible futures of feminism?
  • To what extent do women still perceive themselves as trapped by gendered expectations? In what ways does the work of contemporary women thinkers and artists move beyond, around or outside such expectations to explore other terrains and possibilities of being?

We are seeking proposals for short (20 minute) presentations to contribute to this process of dialogue and debate. We welcome papers from:

  • Artists reflecting on the relation of their own practice to gendered experience as well as to their own sex and/or gender
  • Artists whose work draws on or is in tension with feminist ideas and theories
  • Philosophers and theorists working on art and aesthetics from a perspective inflected by gender or feminist theory
  • Philosophers, theorists, and artists who think of their work as springing from feminist insights, but which is not obviously focussed on ‘gender issues’
  • Those working on aspects of contemporary feminist philosophy that move beyond critique of the masculine tradition to explore new ways of thinking about such issues as matter, space, time, ethics, identity, bodies, power, science, nature, difference, race, freedom…
  • Men interested in questions of gender and practice, in both the theoretical and artistic domains.

Proposals of c. 500 words should be emailed to Rachel Jones by Friday 6th January 2012 using the following email address: [email protected]

Please note: we have a small number of bursaries for postgraduates and early career researchers to participate in this event. Please indicate when submitting your abstract if you wish to be considered for such a bursary, and indicate your academic status (e.g. PhD student, early career researcher).

This event will address these questions by creating a space for dialogue between contemporary artists and feminist philosophers and theorists.

For  further information, see the Network website: 

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