Place: Dubrovnik
Time: May 25-29 2015.
Deadline: February 25, 2015

As is the case with people, and nations, without a voice in Western histories, women are considered to be “without and outside history”. Consequently, various attempts to re-inscribe the female presence in historical accounts have been motivated by an enthusiasm for archival research following the idea of the “foremothers legacy” as a reservoir of emancipatory values and deeds. Feminism, in its invaluable effort to recover the forgotten testimonies of female cultural interventions in the past (as well as in its critical and theoretical undertakings), was among the first to call into question the patrimonial concept of His-story and its foundational role in Western thought. In recent years, however, historicity itself has become one of the primary objects of feminist scrutiny, as part of a broader discussion about the “affective turn” in the humanities and the need “to queer” space and time according to the Deleuzian concept of assemblage more attuned to experiences of the present as deprived of linearity, coherency, and permanency.

Speaking from the European semi-periphery, from the ruins of disrupted or forgotten socialist worlds and classified archives, at the crossroads of multiple feminist trajectories (liberal, socialist, transnational), we are particularly compelled to historicise our (feminist) lives and achievements, to engage in creating archives, teaching and popularising women’s histories. For us as feminist thinkers and public intellectuals the need to situate ourselves in women’s history, marked by the grand narratives of the ‘big three’ (Great Britain, France and Germany), goes hand in hand with the urge to specify and explain our diverse trajectories and timelines, but also to deconstruct or disrupt official historiographies, national politics of memory and “authorized” hegemonic places of knowledge production.

The aim of this course is to explore how feminist critical and theoretical practices cope with the dilemmas and traps of “historical thinking”, often producing new and fruitful ways of challenging Western linear teleology and the uses and abuses of history it entails. We therefore invite contributions that investigate the interconnected notions of history, historicity and historicism from a feminist vantage point and with regard to such fields as philosophy, anthropology, literature and the arts, historiography and cultural theory. We welcome not only papers, but also new formats and methodologies of sharing knowledge. The main points of discussion will be as follows:

  • how do we approach the troubling concepts of history, historicity, and historicism from a feminist perspective?
  • to what extent are we, as feminist thinkers, subservient to the hegemony of history/historicity?
    how do we mediate between the need to historicise the particular conditions of women’s experiences and the ethico-political demand to strategically use an ahistorical notion of women?
  • what kind of (proto- and/or post-) feminist discourses and practices have the ability to step out of mainstream historical categories/matrices?
  • how do we re-evaluate the potential for resistance when working with women’s memories and autobiographies as a means to acknowledge marginalized, forgotten or suppressed histories?
    how can a feminist process of “writing/talking back” become an effective means to disrupt historicity and undo patriarchal/colonial/hegemonic power paradigms?
  • in what measure is feminisms’ capacity for regeneration inhibited by stories from/of the past? In contemporary world, is there still potential for feminisms without foundational stories of subjugation?
  • does the concept of queer time carry potentialities for feminist politics?

Course directors:

  • Rada Borić, Centre for Women’s Studies Zagreb, Croatia, rada.boric@zenstud.hr
  • Lada Čale Feldman, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Croatia, lcfeldma@ffzg.hr
  • Renata Jambrešić Kirin, Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research, Zagreb, Croatia, renata@ief.hr
  • Durre S. Ahmed, Centre for the Study of Gender and Culture, Lahore, Pakistan, durresahmed@gmail.com


IUC courses are conducted at postgraduate level. All interested postgraduate students may apply to participate, although the course targets young scholars and postgraduate students with a defined interest in women’s studies, transnational studies, philosophy, sociology, literary and cultural studies, post-colonialism, or anthropology. The course will be limited to 25 participants (15 students) in order to provide sufficient space for discussion, seminar work and student presentations. Participants must seek funding from their own institutions for the costs of travel, lodging and meals. Limited financial support is available for participants from Central and Eastern Europe (please see http://www.iuc.hr/hesp-osi.php). The IUC requires a payment of 40 EUR for the Course fee. The Working language of the course is English.

Application Procedure:

Please submit a proposal consisting of a short narrative describing your interest in the topic and your CV. Place all current contact information at the top of your CV. Send submissions by e-mail to fmgabrie@ffzg.hr and international@zenstud.hr.

Use the subject: IUC Dubrovnik 2015. The proposal deadline is February 25th 2015.