CfP: Rethinking Sisterhood. The Affective Politics of Women’s Relationships (Event: 09/2014, Bristol), DL: 31.01.2014

FWSA Interim Event (Web)

Venue: University of Bristol
Date: 13th September 2014
Deadline: 31st January 2014

The emergence of intersectionality and the politics of difference within feminist theory have long critiqued the notion of a shared political ‘sisterhood’, yet the affective and ethical dimension of relationships between women requires further exploration. Whereas the trope of the mother-daughter relationship dominates feminist theory, comparatively little work has conceptualized the significance of horizontal relationships between women. Much feminist research has shown how central female ties have been to sustaining feminism within and beyond activism. Yet the depth of the (dis)affections between women does not necessarily translate into feminist transformation. This forthcoming conference asks how the much-contested notion of sisterhood requires redefinition for 21st century feminist politics and how the contemporary ethics and aesthetics of sisterhood could be reimagined.

If the valorisation and re-signification of women’s relationships is an important task of the feminist project, we need to consider:

  • How does sorority feature as a metaphor in contemporary feminist theory and practice?
  • How is this ideal lost and reconstructed?
  • Do we need new tropes to represent and practice female attachments?
  • How do we account for men’s presences and absences, as well as transgender perspectives, when rethinking sisterhood?
  • The conference seeks to engage with the conceptual resources generated by the affective turn, questioning the emotional politics of feminist solidarity and conflicts:
  • How do female attachments sustain feminism as a politics of feeling?
  • How have closeness, care, anger and envy between women been seen to either support or threaten the feminist project?
  • How does feminism and feminists represent issues of authority, power and hierarchy between women?

We are seeking contributions for papers, panels, exhibitions and performances that explore the experience and/or representation of horizontal relationships between women across different geographical sites and from interdisciplinary perspectives, including but not limited to activist ties, filial bonds, sexual relationships, friendships and professional relationships.

We hope to provide a limited number of travel bursaries to fund Postgraduate Students and Early Career Researchers who do not otherwise have financial support to attend conferences. Please indicate your interest in applying for a bursary place at the time of abstract submission.

Please send abstracts and panel proposals of 250 words plus a biography of 100 words by 31st January to

For further information contact the organisers Dr Maud Perrier: or Dr Emily Falconer:



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