WGS Conference 2024: Call for Proposals

Download the CFP

Deadline for Submissions has been extended to January 18, 2024!

Continuities, Ruptures, Resurgences: Still in Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens
24th Women’s & Gender Studies Conference at Southern Connecticut State University

Five decades after the publication of Alice Walker’s womanist essays "In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens," her eponymous essay (originally published in 1972) continues to be a beckon call, a vision for those of us engaged in feminist studies and intersectional justice work:

Guided by my heritage of a love of beauty and a respect for strength – in search of my mother’s garden, I found my own.

In the half-century since the publication of the essay, have we found our own? Although we have seen a significant body of feminist literary, theoretical, and artistic expressions, the search for our mothers’ gardens– and our own–continues to be challenged and fraught with pushbacks, setbacks, ruptures, and starts here and there again. As academic fields like women’s and gender studies, Black studies, Latinx, and LGBTQIA2S+ studies are targeted and attacked, humanities and higher education are at a crisis point. While we celebrate milestones and triumphs of what Steinem and others call “the feminist century” (with waves of turning 50: Women’s & Gender Studies, Stonewall, Hip Hop), we also experience the violence of Roe v. Wade being undone. Indeed, the tension between celebrating our triumphs while remaining committed to the work that is necessary in the face of unprecedented challenges is that crux.

Fifty plus years later, we are still in search of our mothers’ gardens, sites and sources of our nourishment. Urged by Walker’s search and guided by Haudenosaunee and other Black, Indigenous, Latinx, women of color, and queer feminist visionaries (“for the next seven generations”), we ask ourselves questions for our collective futures:

  • Why are we still in search of our mothers’ gardens?
  • How do we recognize/embrace our feminist legacy/ legacies while staying vigilant/attentive to/around old and new challenges? What are some collective strategies?
  • How do we continue to create/innovate despite the legal/social setbacks we have recently experienced?
  • How and when does a body become a subject in the eyes of the law, the public, communities, institutions, corporations, nation states?
  • What can we do to support communities struggling to align with the feminist agendas of peace, justice, and unity while honoring differences?
  • How is the feminist body involved in community, conflict and the pursuit of peace and justice? How does feminism contribute to the pursuit of equity and equality? How has feminist storytelling narrated these struggles and contributed to/reshaped intellectual discourse?

The 2024 Women’s & Gender Studies (WGS) Conference at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) offers
a critical space and place for a two-day inquiry across differences and communities into the intersections of gender, race, communities, and institutions. Since 1991, the feminist collective at SCSU has been continuously hosting conferences that reach across communities and bring together activists, academics, artists, and feminist practitioners from diverse backgrounds for a two-day conference.

Submissions are invited to address topics including but not limited to the following:

  • #BlackLivesMatter
  • #ClimateStrikes
  • #IdleNoMore
  • #MMIWG2S
  • #IndigenousLivesMatter
  • #MeToo
  • #TransLivesMatter
  • #TransWomenOfColorLivesMatter
  • #YouthActivism
  • AAPI Justice Matters
  • Allyship & Resistance
  • Art & Social Transformation/Socially Engaged Art
  • Banning/Censorship/Silencing
  • Bisexual Erasure
  • Bodies in the Age of Generative A.I.
  • Bodies in Transition
  • Body in Motion
  • Body Positivity
  • Body Sovereignty
  • Contemporary Gender Relations
  • Contested/Contesting Public Art
  • Differently-Abled Bodies
  • Disability Justice Matters
  • Digital Storytelling Economic Justice
  • Environmental Justice & Ecofeminism
  • Food Justice: Take Back Our Kitchens
  • Global Migrations & Peace/Justice Movements
  • Grassroots Organizing/Writing Workshop/Teaching for/Queering & Indigenizing Peace & Justice
  • Health Promotion & Access
  • Identity & Community Indigenous Activisms
  • Indigenous Environmental Movements
  • Indigenous Sovereignty
  • Intersectionality & Justice
  • Just Media Representations
  • LGBTQIA2SP+ Rights Activism
  • Mass Incarceration
  • Motherhood/Parenthood
  • Movements against Racism, Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia
  • Privilege & Accountability
  • Rematriation
  • Research & Social Change
  • Restorative Justice
  • Social Media & Movements
  • Stonewall 50+: Legacies & Visions
  • Survivor Justice
  • Trans* Bodies
  • Transnational Activism & Organizing
  • Transnational Indigenous Feminisms
  • Transnational Solidarity & Resistance
  • UN Sustainable Development Goals & Justice Movements
  • Veterans of Conflict (veterans of all wars)
  • Voice to Power, Power to Voice
  • Women’s Suffrage Movements

Submit proposals (150-250 words) to WGS@southernct.edu, with attention to the Conference Committee. If you have any questions, please e-mail WGS@southernct.edu or call the Women’s & Gender Studies Office at (203) 392-6133. Include name, affiliation, e-mail, and phone number. Panel proposals are encouraged.

The Women’s & Gender Studies Conference at SCSU is self-supporting; all presenters can pre-register at the discounted presenters’ rate. More information, including the registration, is forthcoming. More information about the SCSU WGS Conference and its history can be found at the WGS Past Conferences website.