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. Throughout the year we will engage the The Future of the Feminist 1970s with a variety of events, projects and courses.
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.
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. Duke Women's Studies New Eco-feminism project hopes to revisit these questions, and develop theories and methodologies that will resonate within academic feminism today. We learned from E2T that there is a great need for further study of conservation, land use, and animal advocacy, not just from the perspective of science but from the humanities and interpretive sciences as well. We believe that contemporary feminist theory has much to offer such an engagement. Despite the fact that our eco-feminist foremothers may have been entrenched in essentialist ideology in their formulations, we believe their questions were the right ones. What can feminist thinking offer in response to the many global crises we face today including massive development, deforestation, animal torture, extinction, habitat loss, pollution, and global warming?