Ecofeminism In/And The Anthropocene

Event description: 

European Consortium for Political Research General Conference

August 24-28, 2020

14th General Conference, held virtually

Hosted by the University of Innsbruck, Austria

Section: Environmental Politics

Chair: Robert Booth (University of Liverpool)
Co-chair: Andy Holland (University of Liverpool)

Phillips and Rumens’s recent collection Contemporary Perspectives on Ecofeminism opens with the striking assertion that we need ecofeminism “now more than ever”. And it is not difficult to see why. In an era when human behaviours impact on important biogeochemical conditions so profoundly that the expert Working Group of the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy recommend acknowledging an epochal shift, the so-called ‘Anthropocene’ provides an opportunity to rethink the relationships between our practical and theoretical commitments, and the requirement for effective environmental activism. Moreover, specifically ecofeminist responses to the Anthropocene’s emblematic conditions offer particular promise for our task by diagnosing problematic (e.g., androcentric, utilitarian, and dualistic) metatheoretical assumptions implicit in the ways that scientists, activists and philosophers characterise the Anthropocene – often problematizing the ‘Anthropocene’ term itself – and proposed ‘solutions’ to it. However, therein lies the rub. Despite the resurgence of interest in ecofeminism, insofar as ecofeminism is best considered a metatheoretical or critical endeavour, two strands of criticism continue to haunt it. The first concerns the practical contribution that ecofeminism has made and might make to environmental politics and activism in a time of mass species extinction and rapid anthropogenic climate change. Its impressive track record of identifying the gender inequalities plausibly perpetuated by well-meaning political measures such as the Paris Climate Accord notwithstanding, for instance, what can ecofeminism offer in terms of positive practice or policy-led proposals in a crisis context which appears to offer the urgent injunction to ‘act now!’? The second strand concerns the value and penetration of the kind of critique available to ecofeminists. Concerns persist about ecofeminism’s alleged essentialism (strategic or otherwise) and its ability to commit to truly intersectional analysis, for instance, as do concerns about ecofeminism’s ability to maintain an intelligible identity in light of the multifaceted theoretical modifications that ecofeminists have employed in light of these objections. This panel intends address these issues by bringing together political theorists, philosophers, and activists who share our intuition that ecofeminism is important in the context of the so-called Anthropocene and global flourishing more broadly, and who wish to further explore that hunch.

Paper submission:
Please email the panel chairs by February 1, 2020 with the following:
•Paper title
•Abstract (max 500 words)
•Author(s) name(s) and institution(s)