From 16th to 20th May 2016, the tenth post-graduate course Feminisms in a Transnational Perspective took place in the Inter-University Centre in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Co-directed by scholars from Italy, Croatia and Pakistan, the course gathered 21 participants eager to discuss this year topic “Reclaiming the Future. Feminist Engagements for the 21th Century”.
Faithful to the tradition of the course, both lecturers and graduate students shared in their presentations an acute sense of urgency in restoring intellectual and political capacities for imagining viable futures along feminist ethical demands. As stated in the course description and call for participation, the aim of the course was “to discuss how to intervene both in the ways we inherit the past, and open up towards the future, to mobilize past and present existential and material dispositions for a future that resonates with a feminist agenda: a more hospitable Europe and a more collaborative world, a different university, other forms of sisterhood and care”.
The participants of the course presented their research in various ways the gendered order has shaped and has been shaped in the world, in the fields of literature, arts and social sciences, especially using sociological, anthropological and historical approaches. The key note lecturer was professor Elisabeth Bronfen (University of Zürich), author of the influential book Over Her Dead Body, a study of representations of feminine death in literature and cinema. Bronfen discussed the inescapability of tragedy and possibilities for new forms of marital romance, based on her reading of the film Gone Girl. Other lecturers offered their readings of key feminists texts and their multimedia interpretations. Lecturers also explored theoretical concerns of facing the nostalgic past in contemporary feminist and left politics, science fiction as writing about sexual politics, history of pacifism, as well as the imaginings of futures with or without female solidarity in various pasts. Especially pertinent were analyses of searching for the political subject for future feminism through art and activism, analysis of the figure of the refugee in international politics, as well as the art and writing after the shipwreck – the metaphor used for the catastrophe of migrants dying in the Mediterranean on their way to Europe. Students presented sociological analysis of women’s migrant writing in Italy, forms of liquid feminism in a liquid society, precarious living in Lithuania, and environmental concerns in Central-Southeastern Europe, among other topics.
Seminar participants were scholars and graduate students from Austria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Switzerland, and the USA. Co-directors of the course are Silvana Carotenuto (University of Napoli), Lada Čale Feldman (University of Zagreb), Francesca Maria Gabrielli (University of Zagreb), Renata Jambrešić Kirin (Institute for Ethnology and Folklore Research, Zagreb), Sandra Prlenda (Centre for Women’s Studies, Zagreb) and Durre S. Ahmed (Centre for the Study of Gender and Culture, Lahore).