Women's Studies Annual Research Initiatives

Every year the Women’s Studies Program explores ideas and concepts from a variety of disciplines that touch on women, gender, and feminism. Past and upcoming initiatives include:

Please click on the initiative for information about how these innovative areas of study are woven into courses and events throughout the year.

2013-14 Annual Theme

Gender and Science

For the 2013-14 academic year the theme will be Gender and Science and Women’s Studies will offer a graduate seminar on Feminist Science Studies, a growing field of inquiry that covers such fields as philosophy of science, case studies of laboratories, medical anthropology, and literary investigations of narratives revolving around science and technology. Read more 

2012-13 Annual Theme

Feminism and Freedom

For the past few years, Duke Women's Studies has had a programming theme which has attached to it a fall grad and post grad seminar, a film series, and other events throughout the year. Last year the theme was "Future of the Feminist '70s" and the year before it was "The Question of Species" (focused on human/non-human connections). The theme for 2012-13 is Feminism and Freedom. will be teaching a graduate/post-graduate seminar on Feminism and Freedom that will be offered in Fall 2012.

We conceived the theme topic in response to the recent uprising in North Africa and West Asia, but are interested in an array of investigations, including how feminism has fought for various forms of freedom, scrutinized its historical emergence, and deployed the term in a variety of discursive contexts. Also relevant are anti-feminist dimensions of freedom projects. The focus will be on transnational, intersectional, and interdisciplinary research and film that take[s]an innovative approach to understanding the social, political, economic, and cultural implications of freedom. We will also host two post-doctoral fellows, working under the rubric of Feminism and Freedom, who will also be participating in the seminar. Click here to read more.  

2011-12 Annual Theme

The Future of the Feminist 1970s

We are interested to understand how some of the major interventions of the 1970's--for example, feminist art and film practices, marxist and radical feminism, eco-feminism, lesbian separatism, human and civil rights discourse, cold war divisions and non-aligned movements, and postcolonial internationalism---continue to have an impact on feminist thought, offer important interventions into contemporary questions, or map the futures of feminism.

2010-11 Annual Theme

Animals and the Question of Species

The 2010-11 annual theme is Animals and the Question of Species and will revolve around three major points:
  • new theoretical formulations in continental philosophy around the question of human exceptionalism;
  • the human/animal boundary and connection, and the ethics, politics, and advocacy that flow from those; and
  • the role of gender in developing a greater understanding of nonhuman animals

The New Eco-Feminism

As many may know, a discourse emerged in the mid-1970's that aimed to investigate the connection between feminism and earth and animals. These women called themselves Eco-Feminists and generated many ideas about the nature of women, the plight of animals, and the need for conservation. Due to a whole host of theoretical and practical conflicts, this project was never seriously embraced by academic feminists. 

Click here to read more!

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