Feminism has had much to say about capitalism’s impact on the environment and the appropriation of nature by man (sic). Feminists have examined how the enclosure of land has been integral to capitalist accumulation and how capitalism has sought to present ‘women’s work’ as a ‘natural’ outcome of woman’s ‘nature’. More broadly, feminists have examined and opposed the very identification of woman with nature, spearheading the critique of the culture/nature divide, patterned upon and replicating the hierarchy of the male/female binary—a binary that has been troubled by queer/LGBT struggles against naturalised conceptions of sexuality. Other strands of feminist thought have highlighted a de-colonising process of nature and the feminine, implying that a suppressed authenticity could be recovered in the process of overthrowing capitalist patriarchy. In short, analysis of nature and the environment has been a rich, multi-layered vein in much feminist thought, including in Marxist feminism.
Such critiques comprise the complex legacy of second-wave feminism – a legacy whose relationship to Marxist feminism is itself a subject of critique. Developments within global capitalism and the struggles against it as well as against the rule of capital at large demand that contemporary Marxist feminism re-visit, re-evaluate and update these critiques with the aim of building transformative, continuous, active resistance. The Marxist feminist stream of the Historical Materialism London conference 2016 invites proposals for panels and papers that negotiate these critiques, broadly interpreted.
Key questions that we hope panels and papers will address include:
· What does ‘the environment’ mean for Marxist feminism in the 21st century?
· Can there be a differentiation between a natural environment and human life or does capital increasingly achieve its gains by overcoming precisely this distinction?
· What is the relationship between technology, gender and class?
· What progress has been made in the critique of racialised ‘women’s work’, given the persistent naturalisation of ‘race’ in the social imaginary?
· What Marxist feminist positions on the common/s are available and can contemporary Marxist feminism expand understandings of the common/s beyond traditional identifications with land and nature or, conversely, technology-dominated spaces?
· How can Marxist feminism conceive of the environment ‘in the expanded field’, as the space and time of revolutionary connectivity?
We are particularly interested in creating a space for interweaving analysis of nature and the environment with the wider themes explored in the Marxist feminist stream of the HM conference since its launch in 2011. These include (but are not limited to): social reproduction feminism; households; domestic, care and biologically reproductive labour; unfree labour; capitalism and sexuality; and anti-racist, anti-colonial Marxist feminisms. That is, proposals need not be limited to feminist thinking on the destruction of the natural environment by capitalism, per se, but may also seek to trouble or develop an expanded understanding and notion of ‘the environment’ as such.
We look forward to receiving your paper and panel proposals. Please submit via the main 2016 Historical Materialism London submission website. When submitting, please clearly indicate that your proposal is for the Marxist-Feminist stream.
Marxist Feminist stream conveners: Angela Dimitrakaki, Sara Farris, Sue Ferguson, Genevieve LeBaron, Nina Power, Alan Sears.