Feminist In/Security: Vulnerability, Securitization, and States of Crisis

Each year, IRW's distinguished lecture series presents a variety of talks showcasing interdisciplinary work on women, gender and sexuality by a variety of eminent speakers. The lecture series revolves around an annual theme that is also shared by our interdisciplinary seminar and undergraduate learning community. In 2016-17 our annual theme is "Feminist In/Security: Vulnerability, Securitization, and States of Crisis."

Thursday, September 22, 2016
"Queer Domesticity in the Time of Insecurity"
Martin F. Manalansan IV, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

M Manalansan

How do we engage with queer modes of life that are exiled from the secure and triumphant LGBT contemporary moment? How do we confront wobbly quotidian trajectories, messy entanglements, uncomfortable socialities, and awkward vulnerabilities? Engaging with the infra-ordinary experiences of a handful of undocumented queer immigrants of color, this presentation rethinks the idea of refuge, domesticity and dwelling in an era and world devoid of welcoming sanctuaries and stable shelters. This presentation is a lively confrontation with longings, musings, and aspirations as fuel for an alternative politics of care, community, and transformation.

Thursday, November 3, 2016
"Playing on Insecurities"
Felicity D. Scott, Columbia University

Felicity ScottThis lecture will address Outlaw Territories: Environments of Insecurity/Architectures of Counter-insurgency, recently published by Zone Books (April 2106). Focused on the 1960s and 1970s, the book investigates the role of architects and other players in a volatile historical period whose concerns remain all too familiar today: rising urban instabilities within both the “West” and the so-called developing world; environmental discourses mobilizing the rhetoric of emergency and planetary togetherness; Western panic over population growth in the Global South; rapid transformations in communication technologies and expanded forms of environmental control; increased militarism and forces of globalization; and rising claims to self-determination and environmental justice.

Thursday, November 17, 2016
"Why Is It So Hard to Get Women to the Peace Table? And Why Is That Not Even the Right Question?"
Carol Cohn, Consortium on Gender, Security, and Human Rights, University of Massachusetts Boston

Carol CohnimagecroppedWomen activists from war zones around the world have fought for women’s participation in peace negotiations, seeing women’s inclusion as a path to ending wars more quickly and to creating more gender-equitable postwar societies. Although UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (October 2000) has provided an international policy framework which asserts women’s right to participate, gaining roles for women in peace processes has remained a struggle, with notably scant results.  This talk examines not only the reasons the demand has met so much resistance, but also some of the assumptions underpinning the belief that getting women to the peace table would result in the desired political outcomes.

Thursday, January 26, 2017
"The Right to Maim: States of Debility/Capacity/Disability"
Jasbir Puar, Rutgers-New Brunswick

jasbir puarIn this lecture, which is an overview of my forthcoming book, I present a theory of biopolitical debilitation that foregrounds the injuring mechanisms of racialization, capitalism, and imperialism. In challenging liberal disability rights frames, debility illuminates not only what is left out of disability imaginaries and rights politics, but also the constitutive absences necessary for capacitating discourses of disability empowerment, pride, visibility, and inclusion to take shape. Thus, I argue, disability and debility are not at odds with each other. Rather they are necessary supplements in an economy of injury that claims and promotes disability empowerment at the same time that it maintains the precarity of certain bodies and populations precisely through making them availability for injury.

Thursday, February 9, 2017
"Who Will Save the Children? Feminist Perspectives on the Contradictions of Education in States of In/Security and Crisis"
Thea Renda Abu El-Haj, Rutgers-New Brunswick

Thea AEHAcross the globe, optimistic, globally circulating “policyscapes” posit education as the balm to heal myriad social and political conflicts that are producing dispossession and extreme vulnerability for so many people today. Overlooked in these policy discourses are teachers as state actors who are charged with “securing” the future of the nation. Drawing on feminist perspectives, and looking closely at the case of educational policy-making in Lebanon, this talk analyzes the contradictory nature of teaching in the midst of conflict and crisis.

Thursday, April 13, 2017
"Paranoia, Sex and the Workplace"
Jennifer Doyle, University of California Riverside

Jennifer Doyle 2016In this talk, I use Freud’s essay “A Case of Paranoia Running Counter to the Theory” in order to open up our thinking about harassment dynamics and the university campus. Weaving together Marxist feminist scholarship on the division of labor, and theories of the relationship of individual subjects to groups and institutions, I approach the problem of harassment as a haunting of the workplace by difference and divisions of labor.


All talks are free and open to the public and will be held at the Ruth Dill Johnson Crockett Building, 162 Ryders Lane, Douglass Campus, Rutgers-New Brunswick at 4:30 p.m., preceded by a 4 p.m. reception.


Download the 2016-17 Distinguished Lecture Series Poster