Call for Proposals: New Perspectives on Gender and Human Security – Deadline: January 15

New Perspectives on Gender and Human Security is a workshop to be held March 19-20, 2010. Individuals who would like to participate in the conference are asked to submit proposals by January 15. Read more details below.

Although conventional notions of security have tended to focus on protecting states from external attack, the concept of human security looks at a broader range of insecurities that individuals and communities face. Perspectives on gender through the lens of human security — rather than or in addition to rights-based or empowerment-centered frames — may raise new questions or offer different strategic choices.

The workshop organizers (Christina Ewig, Myra Marx Ferree, and Aili Tripp) invite interested scholars, including graduate students, to attend this two-day interdisciplinary workshop to participate in this collective discussion. In addition, we invite graduate students to present their papers on March 20 in working group sessions led by senior scholars whose own contributions are featured in our panels. From the pool of graduate student participants who submit proposals, we will be able to fund the travel and lodging costs for two non-UW student participants, selected on a competitive basis.

The workshop will feature cutting edge work that engages with or adopts a gendered approach to the study of human security, i.e., threats to people’s livelihood, well-being and bodily integrity resulting, for example, from conflict of all kinds, environmental degradation, the spread of infectious diseases, massive population movements, economic decline, food insecurity, and physical violence. We are particularly interested in the linkages among various types of insecurity related to conflict and violence. The workshop will focus on new approaches to human security that adopt a gender perspective and also connect multiple issues, such as violence and HIV, food security and war expenditures, PTSD and intimate partner violence. In particular, we are interested in papers that look at:

• Connections between various forms of human security as they relate to gender particularly in areas of conflict and violence;
• Creative policies that address gendered problems in more holistic ways;
• Transnational and domestic responses to problems of human security as they relate to women, including social movements, networks, coalitions and other forms of societal mobilization;
• Transnational flows of ideas, cultural influences, norms, and values that shape popular understandings of human security and gender;
• Comparison and contrasts in the problems and solutions to human insecurity and gender in the global North and South.

We are also interested in papers that problematize human security from a feminist perspective:

• How can one best show commonalities in insecurity while at the same time acknowledging power differences between actors based on gender, nationality, race, ethnicity, and other identities?
• How does one think about insecurity in places where state capacity is weak? What can and should feminists demand of the state and what alternative strategies for security can be drawn upon?
• How does theory and/or practice mediate between individual rights and collective security frames for women’s rights?
• What are the limits and benefits of legal redress?
• How do we address problems of insecurity when the solutions have unintended consequences of victimizing another group?
• How do we address problems of insecurity when the solutions create other forms of insecurity?
• Does the human security agenda — with its emphasis on food, health, livelihood and other economic and social concerns — enhance or compete with gender specific issues of violence against women, women’s reproductive rights, and women’s family status and land rights?
• Does a human security approach differ from human rights approaches, especially those that emphasize economic, social and political rights? How does it compare with human capabilities and empowerment approaches?

Graduate Student Proposals should be sent to conference coordinator Wendy Christensen ( and should include:

•  Paper title
•  A 200-300 word abstract/summary of the paper
•  A two-page biography, resume, or curriculum vita of each participant
•  Address, email and telephone numbers

Deadline: January 15, 2010

Sponsored by International Gender Policy Research Circle, Transatlantic Applied Research on Gender Equity Training (TARGET), and the Center for Research on Gender and Women at UW-Madison. Faculty co-leaders include Professor Myra Marx Ferrree (Sociology); Professor Christina Ewig (Political Science and Gender & Women’s Studies, UW-Madison); and Professor Aili Mari Tripp (Director, Center for Research on Gender and Women; Political Science, and Gender & Women’s Studies).

For more information contact conference coordinator: Wendy Christensen