Home & Exile – Winter Symposium 2021 Feminist Philosophy Circle

Home & Exile – Winter Symposium 2021 Feminist Philosophy Circle

Winter Symposium 2021 on ‘Home & Exile’ – online

Check the schedule (5-7 March 2021) – which includes the list of papers & assigned respondents.

Full Call for Participation (closed)

We would like to invite you to contribute to our Winter Symposium (5-8 March 2021 – both online and in person at Tallinn University, Estonia) organised by the Hospitality and Solidarity: Feminist Philosophy in Thought, History and Action study circle of the Nordic Summer University, in collaboration with Helsinki University and Tallinn University. Contributions will be invited to submit for a special issue at a peer reviewed open access philosophy journal on the same theme after the symposium (tentative deadline: June 2021).

The Topic: Home & Exile

Exile — to be excluded, to be othered, to not belong. An important theme in theology, the arts and philosophy throughout history, it has become even more pressing in the 20th and 21st centuries. To what extent is exile an ontological condition of human existence? How is feminism exiling those by imposing the category of ‘Third World women’, as Mohanty has argued? And, is some kind of solitude even a prerequisite for creative endeavours, like Hannah Arendt has suggested? What kind of movements, thoughts, feelings and action enables a shift from exile to solitude? Is the body the place of exile, or can humans be exiled from their own bodies – for instance through motherhood? Can exile be reconciled with a sense of belonging? And how does language work for those who are excluded? Can the exiled subaltern even speak, in the words of Spivak?

Home — to belong, to be inside, to be accepted. Is the notion of home always a corollary to exile? As Sigmund Freud pointed out, the uncanny – which in German is called the unheimlich, literally the “unhomely” – arises in situations where we expect to feel at home but fail to do so. How does this existential failure to be at home contribute to the practise of hospitality and solidarity? How can we think of the human, in a perpetually exilic state? In Theology, the perpetual exilic state has classically been portrayed as humans being on their way – as pilgrims or nomads through life – constantly moving towards the Heavenly home of the eschaton. However, post-colonial critique has moved away from the emphasis on linear time and modern western notions of progress. Instead, it is suggested that humans could be situated in relation to space, place and other types of time. The tension between home and exile may not disappear but what kind of shifts occur when the place of belonging becomes our bodies and/or land – something immanent instead of a transcendent community. 

This raises not only questions of human relationships with land, but also if the experiences and sensations of home and exile are bound to lived human communities. Can we experience a sense of belonging with the earth, animals and art or literature? How may these experiences intersect with each other and can feminist critique perceive a new way of relating to home and exile through different notions of time, matter and space? How does the articulation of philosophy or writing of literature shift if the aim is to portray a sense, and experience of, belonging or exile, that arrives from the body, from connection to earth, to cyclical times? 

At the intersection of home & exile lies (an often violent) realm that is directly related to the phenomenon of migration and racism. When exile is such a fundamental form of human existence, why does it create such problems in today’s world? How can feminism contribute to thinking exile without incurring violence and inhospitable situations? What does solidarity look like when being at home in the world is at risk?

Who are invited?

At the Nordic Summer University (NSU) we provide space for an inclusive community, which means that professors and students, freelancers and stay-at-home parents are all equally welcome. Although the topics discussed have a philosophical, theological and activist nature, people with all kinds of educational backgrounds are welcomed. The feminist philosophy study circle has returning members from literary, education, media and gender studies, there are historians, philosophers, performative artists, curators and writers, among others. 

The topic of hospitality and solidarity is also taken up on a methodological level, meaning that during the symposia and other meetings there is an active search for collaborative formats that are hospitable and perform solidarity. Anyone willing to join in this experimentation is encouraged to present their ideas and suggestions which the coordinators will strive to implement into the work. 

Although most members are from Nordic and Baltic countries, all events are open to people from all geographical backgrounds.

Three-part invitation

There are three ways to participate in the exploration of this theme. You are welcome to join any one or even all of these pathways.

  1. Online writing community (29 October 2020 – February 2021)
  2. Winter Symposium online & possibly in-person in Tallinn, Estonia (5-8 March 2021)
  3. Publication (tentatively scheduled for June 2021)

Sign up by emailing the coordinators: hospitality.solidarity@gmail.com

Deadline to join writing community: [ongoing]

Deadline to participate and/or present/host talk/workshop/panel discussion: 15 January 2021

Deadline to send in paper/other writing for publication: tba

Part 1: Online Writing Community (October 2020 – March 2021)

Writing (feminist) philosophy, theology and art (and other types of writing) is often a lonely pursuit. In this writing group we aim to bring people together to share their work and to give and receive feedback throughout the months leading up to the winter symposium in March 2021. You can decide on your level of participation to suit your own needs and availability. Our aim is to publish your work. We are striving to bring out a special issue at a peer-reviewed open access (and indexed) philosophy journal, yet an anthology publication or another format that suits your own needs better is also an option. 

Both those looking to write academic texts as those writing other texts are welcome. We especially welcome those who are willing to experiment and look beyond the limits of set norms, that are striving to find a synergy between content and form. 

The writing community meets once every two weeks (on Zoom), Thursday evening 20:00 (Finnish/Baltic time). During the first meeting we will discuss our levels of commitment and needs, to make sure all different circumstances, needs and possibilities are accommodated. We ask commitment to the process, but the level of commitment is up to the individual.

The writing workshop is co-hosted with Åbo Akademi University.

Sign up by emailing the coordinators: hospitality.solidarity@gmail.com
Deadline to join writing community: 25 October 2020. Possible to join in later, if there is enough space.

Part 2: Winter Symposium online & possibly in-person in Tallinn, Estonia (5-8 March 2021)

Co-organised with the University of Helsinki and Tallinn University. 

Presentations of papers, interactive workshops and informal gatherings will take place, both online and possibly during in-person meetings in Tallinn, Estonia.

More information will follow.

Keynotes to the Winter Symposium:

Mulki al-Sharmani

Mulki al-Sharmani is an Academy of Finland Research Fellow and Docent at the Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki. She is the editor of Feminist Activism: Women’s Rights and Legal Reform (2013), and co-editor of Men in Charge? Rethinking Authority in Muslim Legal Tradition (2015). Her research interests include Muslim family law and gender activism in Egypt, Islamic feminism, and transnational Muslim marriages in in Europe.

Karolina Enquist Källgren 

Karolina Enquist Källgren is an associate professor of history of ideas at the Department of Culture and Aesthetics, Stockholm University. Her research involves questions of epistemology, political theory, myth and exile. In her current project she investigates a generation of exile thinkers who escaped WWII and the Spanish Civil War and consequently developed on different aspects of what can be understood as a poetic reason. The poetic reason tries to answer questions like what are the possibilities of knowledge in a society dominated by social and totalitarian myths, what are the realms of expression capable of creating liberating praxis within a totalitarian society? And what is the relationship between individual perception and social form? For this generation – María Zambrano, Eduardo Nicol, Adolfo Sánchez Vázquez, Walter Benjamin, Ernst Bloch and Alfred Sohn-Rethel – an answer to these questions was dependent on the exile that was both an experience and a theme of reflection in their works. She has previously written about the exile and subjectivity in the works of María Zambrano in María Zambrano’s exile ontology: expressive subjectivity (Palgrave, 2019).

Lovisa Mienna Sjöberg

Lovisa Mienna Sjöberg works as an associate professor at Sámi University of Applied Sciences, with Phd. from the Faculty of Theology, University of Oslo. Her main research interest is blessing and other religious practices in everyday life in Sápmi. This includes exploring human beings’ relationships with creation, both landscape, animals and to the other sphere and its inhabitants such as ulddat. Sámi stories from the last century, especially in Sámi language, collected in archives, books and interviews constitute basis for theorising from a Sámi point of view. This is a part of her recent and previous research projects. How can our stories from the past contribute to sustainable development in Sápmi and elsewhere in a world striving with climate change and environmental destruction. 

Part 3: Publication (tentatively scheduled for June 2021)

More information will follow. We’re looking to publish the proceedings from the winter symposium in a peer-reviewed, open access philosophy journal.

First drafts March 2021
Presentation of ideas / early papers / further advanced papers during symposium
Submitting to journal – June 2021 

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