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Spreading the Seed: Feminist Kurdish Revolution and Radical Epistemologies

Call for abstracts: “Feminist Struggles in Shifting Geopolitics”

RGS-IBG Annual Conference, London, 31st August-2nd September 2016

Sponsored by: Gender and Feminist Geographies Research Group

Convened by: Maria Rodó de Zárate (Open University of Catalonia) and Dilar Dirik (University of Cambridge)

Over the last year, news and images of women from the Women Defense Units (YPJ) fighting in Kobanê (Syrian Kurdistan) against Islamic State (IS) have appeared in the media. Thousands of women are in the forefront of an armed conflict in the Middle East and some of them are acting as the leaders of the guerrillas. Even if it has been received with surprise, scarce interested has been put into answering the question of why women in this context are having such a relevant role in the conflict and organizing themselves autonomously. These women did not fall from the sky: a feminist revolution is currently taking place in some regions of Kurdistan, particularly in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan). Kurdish women’s movement is playing a central role in the development of the “Democratic Confederalism”, a political project for Kurdistan that has as main pillars for a new society direct democracy, communitarism, gender liberation and ecology. Women’s movement is creating autonomous spaces for women, new forms of knowledge production, political organizations at various levels and the self-defense units.

Taking the Kurdish women’s movement as one example of a feminist revolution taking place within a context of war, changing borders and political challenges to the nation-state paradigm, we want to focus on how feminist proposals are being developed in processes of shifting geopolitics all over the world. The focus is put on how gender and sexual liberation take place in current or past contexts of political conflict. Our aim is to establish a discussion on how women’s and LGTB alternatives develop within broader processes of change to see their possibilities, limitations and strategies.

Possible topics may include (but are not restricted to):

  • Feminist alternatives and proposals in contexts of shifting geopolitics.
  • Feminism and feminists in current or past contexts of protest: Arab Spring, 15M, occupy movement, etc.
  • LGTB movements in contexts of change.
  • Women’s organization in situations of war.
  • Feminist proposals beyond the nation-state paradigm.
  • Revolutionary processes and gender issues.
  • Solidarities and cooperation between different struggles.
  • Revolutions and the ‘private’ sphere.
  • Kurdish struggle and feminist liberation.

This session is framed within the project “Spreading the Seed: Feminist Kurdish Revolution and Radical Epistemologies” funded by an Antipode Foundation Scholar-Activist Project Award.

Please email queries and proposals (title, abstract of 200-250 words, and presenter information) to Maria Rodó de Zárate: The deadline for abstracts is Tuesday 9th February 2016.

*         *         *

Marta Jorba (University of Girona, Spain), Dilar Dirik (University of Cambridge, UK), Mireia Foradada and Maria Rodó de Zárate (Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain) and Meral Çiçek (Kurdish Centre for Women’s Affairs, Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan) would like to invite you to an event supported by the Antipode Foundation…

Feminismes al Kurdistan i als Països Catalans

Feminismes al Kurdistan i als Països Catalans_picture_13 July

For those that couldn’t make it, there’s an interview with Meral Çiçek available from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona here.

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