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Social Sciences Week event: Rethinking Critical Femininities: Feeling, Feminist Practice, and Beyond

In recent times, both feminisms and femininities have taken on spectacular forms within what Banet-Weiser (2018) terms a broader ‘economy of visibility’. Many have questioned what transformations, possibilities, and consequences feminine visibilities indicate in relation to feminism, as feminist aims, boundaries and intentions have become increasingly nebulous. While there have been apparent changes in the way gender is represented in the media, discourses surrounding this often draw on neoliberal notions of ‘choice’ to defend particular gender styles. In scholarship, these debates have often been conceptually framed in terms of postfeminism, positing a particular relation between feminine and feminist visibility.

But in presuming these relations, how adequately have we addressed the question of femininities, beyond questions of lack and subordination (Dahl, 2012)? In the contemporary neoliberal landscape, do femininities signify normative ideals? Typologies? A set of relations (to masculinity/(re)production/capitalism)? Can we rethink femininities critically, beyond postfeminism, or in different queer ways? As Dahl and Sundén (2018) suggest, ‘Critical femininity studies can also do the work of imagining femininity otherwise’.

This symposium aims to push beyond the diagnosis of femininities in terms of neoliberal individuality, to attend critically to assemblages of transformations in everyday practices, embodiments, and affects of femininities. What femininities arise in relation to contemporary feminist contexts, and what are the shifting relationships between femininities and feminist practice today?

We welcome papers thinking through questions of feminism and femininities, inclusive of but not limited to, the following themes:

  • Femininity and/as technology
  • Femininity and affect
  • Queer femininities
  • Trans and non-binary femininities
  • Camp and femininity
  • Femininity and embodiment
  • Relations/hierarchies of femininities
  • Indigenous femininities
  • Men’s femininities
  • Disability and femininity
  • Labour and femininity
  • Toxic femininities
  • Utopian femininity

Please send abstracts of 300 words and a short 150 word bio to criticalfemininitiesnetwork [at] by 5pm AEST 15 May 2019.

This one day symposium will take place on 13 September 2019, at the University of Melbourne, Parkville campus as part of Social Sciences Week (more details to follow). The aim of this event will be to develop a critical femininity studies network in the region, with a special issue to follow the symposium.

Organised by Dr Hannah McCann (University of Melbourne), Dr Kythera Watson-Bonnice (Swinburne University), and Dr Akane Kanai (Monash University), the symposium is sponsored by the Australian Women’s and Gender Studies Association (AWGSA) and The Australian Sociological Association (TASA) Genders and Sexualities Thematic Group, with support from the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne. For more information please contact criticalfemininitiesnetwork [at]

Two travel bursaries of $300 each will be available for TASA members who are postgrads/sessional staff/unwaged. If you would like to be considered for the travel bursary please include your CV and note your interest when you submit your abstract. Information on TASA membership is available here:

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