Gender and the Colonial Conference
Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS, London, May 2015
The Centre for Gender Studies at SOAS held a conference from the 13th-14th May entitled ‘Gender and the Colonial.’
The conference included a number of fascinating panels and papers looking at a variety of topics including contextual work in Asia, Africa and the Middle East as well as considering, amongst other things, military interventions, occupation, race and migration, gender based violence, queer analysis and postcolonial theory.
There were four keynote papers presented. The first was by Professor Oyeronke Oyewumi from Stony Brook University, New York. Her paper, ‘Unlearning the Lessons of Coloniality: Exhuming Subjugated Knowledge and Liberating Marginalized Epistemologies,’ discussed a variety of themes including the ongoing process of colonialism and the myth of decolonisation, locating new epistemologies of gender relations and conceptions of motherhood.
The second keynote paper was presented by Professor Dianne Otto of Melbourne Law School. Her paper, ‘Justice Beyond the Law: People’s Tribunals and the Politics of Listening’ discussed People’s Tribunals, particularly in the context of the Sarajevo and Cambodian People’s Tribunals in which she was/is involved. Themes included the power of listening, locating justice beyond law and new understandings and conceptions of criminal justice and crimes.
The third keynote paper was by Dr Fatou Kiné Camara from Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, Senegal. Her paper, ‘The Colonial Gender Construct – The gift that keeps on giving. Senegalese Women’s Uphill Struggle to Topple the Colonial Legacy of Institutional Male Dominance,’ used narratives and storytelling to consider feminist movements in Senegal and trying to push beyond colonial and male power. Unfortunately, Dr Fatou Kiné Camara was unable to be present at the conference and her paper was read out, instead, by Dr Gina Heathcote, due to her visa to the UK being denied with no explanation.
The final keynote of the conference was Professor Ratna Kapur’s (Jindal Global Law School, India) paper, ‘Precarious Desires, Postcolonial Justice and the Epistemic Fishbowl of Human Rights.’ Her paper, which was made up of extracts from her forthcoming book, discussed the limits of transformation and re-appropriation in the context of human rights discourse, trying to think outside or jump for freedom from the fishbowl of human rights in which we seem to be swimming back and forth, round and round.
Photos of the event can be found here
For more information on the conference and future events please see the SOAS Centre for Gender Studies blog here