Feminism

CAS SEE Spring Fellowship 2020 Seminars – Federica Porcheddu and Valentina Moro

The ending of this year’s Spring Fellowship has digitally “happened” on July 7th, 2020, with two philosophical questions: one on food sovereignty and the other inquiring on the legacy of feminist movements.

Firstly, the relationship between human society and nature has been viewed through the lens of the more general process of commodification by Federica Porcheddu, our fellow and the Italian referent for the Cahiers d’études lévinassiennes, with areas of interest such as intersubjectivity, community, ethics, and politics.
Porcheddu’s project introduces a conception of nature according to which, far from being considered as an essential element for the survival of human beings, is instead conceived as a means to be exploited in order to guarantee the greatest profit possible, without any consideration for the high environmental costs that this entails. One of the most negative aspects of this process concerns in particular the commodification of food, a determining factor of the current global food crisis.
Challenging this view, Porcheddu takes the concept of food sovereignty as a possible alternative to reformulate the relationship between human society and nature. For her, food sovereignty opens up a perspective of global food justice which focuses on the importance of food as a fundamental human right, while highlighting the impact that human activity has on the environment.

In the second part of our meeting, Valentina Moro asked: How is it possible to act together and to mobilize by calling into question the entire paradigm of sovereign nation-states and its economic model? This political strategy needs to go beyond the denounce of an emergency (the financial crisis, or the environmental emergency) and requires a structural critique of the system that produced it. Moro‘s research focuses on feminist movements, the aim of which is to rethink the patriarchal forms of domination, that are embodied in the structure of liberal democracies and that entail hierarchies and inequalities.
In the first part of the research, she posed a question upon the way in which several theorists discussed the topic of the “body” – both individual and collective – as the core of a feminist reconsideration of the political relationship between human society and nature. The second part of her research explores the way in which the new wave of feminist mobilizations drew attention on the necessity of regaining control of one’s own body and boosted the challenge to reorganize within a collective body – a community, a group, a movement. From a theoretical perspective, assembly and organization are the key-words of the second part of the research. Valentina Moro is our fellow from the University of Padua who in 2019 obtained her first fellowship at the CAS SEE. Her research intersects the fields of political theory, classics, and feminist studies. She collaborates with the Hannah Arendt research center in Verona.

Call for Papers: Feminist Responses to Populist Politics

Special Issue 25, European Journal of English Studies

Guest editors: Mónica Cano Abadía (University of Graz), Sanja Bojanić (University of Rijeka), Valentina Moro (University of Padova/University of Rijeka)

‘Populism’ is as slippery a term as the political soil it rhizomes in. During the last decade, it has been tested in political reality on numerous occasions and with varying outcomes. The distinction between right and left populisms has also become a staple in everyday academic, policy, and civil society discourses. On the left or the right, populisms often act as a bogeyman, as a threat to politics as usual, and as a sure sign that the world is, yet again, out of joint.

But are these misgivings of any substance? Perhaps the world is actually disjointed. It may be that populisms, left or right, fill in the cracks and fissures that have been lain open for only a short period of time, one that coincides with decades of sustained feminist efforts to change the world for the better. Despite the gains, much of what has been won is now being brought to a halt – and it seems that populisms play their share in this stoppage. It is therefore vital to ask what feminist responses to populisms could be. Can the answer to this question be reduced to the issue of political allegiance, or is it a matter of needing to adjust to new political realities? Would this imply then embracing these realities as well? What is the role that populisms now play in shaping the relationship between radical and mainstream feminisms? If we claim that feminism has always been populist to a certain extent, then we have to have a clear notion of the populus at its core. Alternatively, we might categorically posit that feminist populism is a contradiction in terms and therefore also reject the possibility of left populist feminisms.

This special issue addresses feminist visions of politics as a different answer to populisms’ challenges. We wish to mark ambivalences and name conceptual reasons for why it is insufficiently daring or even reactionary to place feminist emancipatory strategies close to politically divisive contemporary tendencies. Instead, we call for a return to notions of feminist resistance and resilience – notions that put an emphasis on agency, change, and hope in the face of the grave challenges we are faced with around the world. The following topics may be addressed:

  • What does ‘feminist populism’ refer to?
  • To what does feminist resistance to populism refer?
  • How does feminist resilience function?
  • What are the consequences, challenges and possible solutions that feminist resilience can bring about in civil society and institutions?

Detailed proposals (up to 800 words) for full essays (7,500 words), as well as a short biography (max. 100 words) should be sent to all of the editors by 31 December 2019: Mónica Cano Abadía (monica.cano-abadia@uni-graz.at), Sanja Bojanić (sanja.bojanic@uniri.hr), Valentina Moro (valentinamoro8@gmail.com).