Thinking Gender 2021

“Care, Mutual Aid, and Reproductive Labor in a Time of Crisis”

April 28-April 30, 2021

Submissions Open

Abstract Submissions due Sunday, January 10, 2021

Call for Abstracts

The UCLA Center for the Study of Women invites graduate student scholars and artists to submit abstracts or synopses of in-progress scholarly papers, dissertation or thesis chapters, or article drafts, or in-progress film/mixed media works to workshop at our 31st annual and first virtual Thinking Gender Graduate Student Research Conference.

This year’s conference theme, “Care, Mutual Aid, and Reproductive Labor in a Time of Crisis” will focus on feminist, queer, trans, transnational, Indigenous, and intersectional approaches to care, mutual aid, and reproductive labor.

Held on March 9, 2020, last year’s Thinking Gender conference took place a week before UCLA shifted to remote operations as a part of global pandemic-related shutdowns. Thinking Gender 2021 will follow a year that has been marked by overlapping and escalating crises: a global health emergency, unprecedented worldwide mobilizations against police brutality and state violence, and the rise of authoritarianism all over the world, among many others. These crises have exposed deeply differentiated vulnerabilities to death and privation, but by the same token, they have also brought into relief the renewed importance of building and maintaining alternatives structures for care, sustenance, and survival. Grassroots bail funds, mutual aid pods, care collectives, and projects to provide emergency food and shelter have sprung up or grown exponentially in neighborhoods, cities, and municipalities across the US and across the world.

Such practices of care are not new, however, and feminist theorists, scholars, and activists have been crucial to understanding their dependencies on gendered and racialized labor. Feminist scholars have long tracked capitalism’s disavowed dependence on reproductive labor performed mainly by feminized and queer subjects, positing such subjects as agents of revolution. Black, Indigenous, post-colonial, and women of color feminists have highlighted the double edge of gendered care. On the one hand, it has been relegated to racialized, enslaved, and colonized subjects; on the other hand, its role in social reproduction has been instrumental to the survival, sustenance, and resistance practices of exploited, dispossessed, and colonized people around the globe. Indigenous feminists have been at the forefront of theorizing and building communities of care for not only humans, but also for land, water, and other more-than-human beings. Working both within and outside of academic settings, these theorists have highlighted the material and immaterial forms of labor required for care work, its devaluation and elision as work, and its importance to revolution and resistance.

Building on such traditions of thought, some questions for engagement include:

  • What practices and forms of labor generally relegated to feminized, racialized, and/or queer subjects are becoming all the more vital in this moment of overlapping and escalating crises? How are such practices and forms of labor at once recognized as essential and devalued and ignored in an attempt to manage social crisis?
  • Insofar as Black communities, communities of color, Indigenous peoples, and queer/trans communities have always experienced the state as the source of violence and privation, how have they developed alternative modes of social reproduction and organization that we might now call “mutual aid?” How might we draw on these alternative traditions to solve crises of today?
  • What happens when we re-envision the goals and practices of academia and the university through a framework of care rather than competition and through collaboration rather than discipline?

Topics may include but are not limited to practices of care, mutual aid, and reproductive labor in the context of:

  • Emotional, affective, and immaterial labor
  • Social reproduction
  • Incarceration, punishment, and abolition
  • Social institutions of control (i.e., education, foster care, mental health, housing, health care, elder care, workplaces)
  • Domestic labor, “care chain”
  • Sex work
  • Reproductive justice
  • Health, medicine, and illness
  • Disability
  • Displacement, dispossession, and gentrification
  • Housing and the unhoused
  • Cultural production and artistic or creative practice
  • Historical and contemporary activism and organizing, social movements
  • Citizenship, migration, asylum, and deportation
  • Empire, colonialism, and neo-colonialism
  • Climate crisis, environment, and sustainability
  • Technology, new media, and digital culture
  • Global food production, distribution, and consumption
  • White supremacy and white nationalism
  • Political repression, fascism, and authoritarianism

We invite abstracts or synopses of in-progress scholarly papers, dissertation or thesis chapters, or article drafts, or in-progress film/mixed media works. This conference is interdisciplinary, and we encourage submissions from all fields of study. Successful submissions will center feminist, anti-racist, intersectional frameworks for understanding practices of care, social reproductive labor, and mutual aid.

Please note: because this year’s Thinking Gender will be happening virtually, graduate student panels will be held as closed workshops rather than as public presentations. All participants of a workshop will be asked to read or view each other’s submissions in advance. Participants will then convene in a Zoom session with a moderator who will offer constructive feedback and facilitate discussion around each submission. We envision this restructuring as a way to engage the conference theme of care and mutual aid, not only through submission content, but also through the event’s logistical structure. The workshops will provide opportunities for thoughtful engagement with each participant’s submission under an ethos of generosity in intellectual engagement as a practice of care and mutual support.

Thinking Gender will feature one public event, an opening keynote panel.


Submission Guidelines

Eligibility

Registered graduate students from any institution are eligible to submit abstracts or synopses of scholarly papers, dissertation or thesis chapters, or article drafts or film/mixed media works to workshop (e.g., a dissertation chapter, a course paper, article draft, short film or documentary that you would like to develop).

Individuals may submit an application to be considered in both categories, but will only be accepted for one (either scholarly papers, dissertation or thesis chapters, or article draft OR film/mixed media submission).

Unpublished submissions are preferred. Recently published and forthcoming articles will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Submissions that are not directly related to the theme, “Care, Mutual Aid, and Reproductive Labor in a Time of Crisis” will not be considered.

Deadline for Abstract/Synopsis Submissions

Deadline for Abstract/Synopsis Submissions: Sunday, January 10, 2021 at 11:59PM PDT

Applicants whose submissions are accepted will be notified by February 26, 2021. All participants will be required to submit the final version of their work-in-progress by March 26, 2021, for pre-circulation among their co-participants and faculty moderator. Please decide on submission proposals in anticipation of having final drafts that can be circulated ready by this date.

Online Application Form

All proposals must be submitted using the online application form.


Application Requirements

Each workshop will include four graduate students, a faculty moderator, and up to three participants from other workshops, who will read and provide detailed feedback and questions for each submission. Panelists will be required to submit the final version of their work-in-progress by (not to exceed 20-25 double-spaced pages) by Friday, March 26, 2021, for pre-circulation among their co-participants and faculty moderator.

Scholarly Paper, Dissertation or Thesis Chapter, or Article Draft Application Requirements:

  1. Abstract or description (2-3 double-spaced pages maximum) of work to be workshopped that includes: (1) a thesis/research question, (2) discussion of methodology and theoretical framework, (3) explanation of your argument and supporting data, and (4) conclusions or anticipated conclusions.
  2. Works Cited or References List (1 page maximum)
  3. CV (2 pages maximum)
  4. Online application form

Film/Mixed Media Application Requirements:

  1. Film/Media Synopsis (2 pages maximum)
  2. CV (2 pages maximum)
  3. Link (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) where Film or Mixed Media can be viewed. Total run-time should not exceed 20 minutes. Note: while links are preferred, smaller files may also be uploaded in jpg, png, pdf, or mp3/mp4 format on the application platform.
  4. Online application form

All materials must be submitted using the online application form.

Deadline for Abstract/Synopsis Submissions: Sunday, January 10, 2021 at 11:59PM PDT

Only complete submissions received by the deadline will be considered.

Questions?

Contact CSW at thinkinggender@women.ucla.edu.