Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Feminism and The Politics of Comparison

Call for Presentations:

Feminism and The Politics of Comparison: 13 October 2010

The "specter of comparison" haunts scholarship on South Asia, whether in terms of different areas within the region itself or in terms of the region's relation to other parts of the world. Scholars in several disciplines have debated how comparison allows us to rethink a priori units of analysis, whether these are temporal, spatial or conceptual. At the same time, critics of the comparative method also point to the potential risk of
taking existing analytical units for granted and of perpetuating their particularly Eurocentric legacy.

How can a feminist lens on South Asian Studies advance debates about the value and limits of comparison? Conversely, how can such debates help us think more productively about feminist scholarship in the context of South Asia? The aim of the conference is to initiate a conversation on the politics of comparison; as such, the choice of the theme is meant neither as an endorsement nor as a rejection of the comparative method. What we seek
are position papers on the pros and cons of comparison as method, politics and/or pedagogy.

Feminists have both used comparison and critiqued it, and at this conference we invite debates and discussions on the value of comparative methods for feminist scholarship and activism. To reiterate, we are looking for heuristic papers that address comparison beyond empirical particulars. We are especially keen to promote critical conversation about the fields of power that comparison participates in, disables or appropriates.

We invite papers on a range of subjects under this rubric that include, but are not limited to, the following topics:

Race/Caste and Religion
The Body
Material Culture
Rights and Citizenship
Political Economy
Social Movements
Academic, Disciplinary, or Field formations
The Nation.

N.B. We seek papers not on these subjects per se, but rather position papers on the politics of comparison entailed by these rubrics.

Contact Antoinette Burton at aburton@illinois.edu


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