An international conference Why Gender?; 9.-10.10.2009, Jyväskylä; CFP

Why Gender? Conference 2009

Why Gender? University of Jyväskylä 9th-10th of October 2009

Call for Papers, deadline April 15th, 2009

The conference entitled 'Why Gender?' aims to bring together both Finnish and international scholars from a number of different disciplines to participate in intellectual discussion regarding future directions gender theory could take. The conference is conceived as a starting point for future networking on this topic. The continued importance of gender as a social category in the late modern world prompts us to ask the oft-forgotten question: why? As researchers in the humanities whose studies are firmly grounded in empirical data, we are primarily concerned with how gender is theorized within our disciplines, as well as how gender researchers can both draw upon and contribute to theories in areas outside the humanities, for example social studies. The conference organizers would like to see more theoretical work on gender, this most elusive
of social divisions, which combines the insights made within women's studies, men's studies, feminist studies, queer studies, and the anthropological study of gender.

The organizer of the conference is the project "Strategic Practices: Hidden Histories of Gender in Finland 1880-2005", funded by the Academy of Finland's research program Power in Finland. We are a multidisciplinary team of seven researchers (ethnologists, historians and folklorists) from University of Jyväskylä and University of Helsinki. The project director is Prof. Laura Stark from the Department of History and Ethnology, University of Jyväskylä.

The keynote speakers are:

Dr Wendy Cealey Harrison, University of Greenwich, UK, author of e.g. "Beyond Sex and Gender" (2002)

Prof. Jeff Hearn, Svenska handelshögskolan, author of e.g. "Men in the Public Eye. The Construction and Deconstruction of Public Men and Public Patriarchies" (1992) and "The Violences of Men. How Men Talk About and How Agencies Respond to Men's Violence to Women" (1998)

Dr. Sally Hines, University of Leeds, UK, author of e.g. "TransForming Gender: Transgender Practices of Identity, Intimacy and Care" (2006)

Titles of Sessions

* Articulations of possibility within gender studies: decolonial feminisms as praxis
* Definitions and micro-mechanisms of patriarchy
* Discourses on gender in medieval and early modern Europe
* Gender, care and agency
* Gender, community and authorship
* Gender, war and nationalism
* Intersectionality
* Locating men - discourses in science and biomedicine
* New directions in practice and performativity
* Rethinking nature vs. nurture
* Strange bedfellows: feminist theory and historical research
* What is gender and why does it exist?
* Women & peace

Please find the descriptions of the sessions from our web site:

In addition to the above-mentioned session themes, papers can focus, for example, on the following themes:

* intertwining of gender, sexuality and power
* studies of masculinity / men's studies
* what sorts of social phenomena reinforce the significance of gender and what weaken it
* what kind of discourses legitimate gender

Guidelines for participants

The abstracts of the proposed papers should be in English, not exceeding 250 words. The abstract should include the session you would like to participate in, the title of the paper, your name, and e-mail address. Deadline for paper abstracts is April 15th, 2009. Send the abstract as an .doc or .rtf file to
pasi.saarimaki (at) and heli.niskanen (at) . Final
presentations should not exceed 20 minutes followed by 10 minutes of discussion. Session organizers will give further details.

After the deadline the abstracts will be sent to session organizers, who accept them. Accepted papers will be announced by the end of May 2009.

Conference is free of charge (no conference fee). However, participants are responsible for their own travel costs and accommodation.

Please find regularly updated information regarding the conference and our project from our web site: (in English) (in Finnish).

If you haveany questions, please contact Pasi Saarimäki (pasi.saarimaki (at) or Heli Niskanen (heli.niskanen (at)