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Thinking Gender 2023: Call for Abstract


Submission deadline: October 23, 2022, at 11:59PM PDT


The UCLA Center for the Study of Women invites graduate student scholars and artists to submit abstracts or synopses of in-progress scholarly papers, dissertation or thesis chapters, article drafts, or in-progress film/mixed media works to workshop at our 33rd annual and first hybrid Thinking Gender Graduate Student Research Conference. We also invite undergraduate students to submit proposals for in person poster presentations.

This year’s conference theme, “Transforming Research: Feminist Methods for Times of Crisis and Possibility,” seeks to open conversations about feminist methods and research across fields and disciplines.

This conference is interdisciplinary, and we encourage submissions from all fields of study, across the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and the arts. Successful submissions will center feminist research methods and practice, and ideally, engage substantively with power relations concerning race, ethnicity, Indigeneity, Blackness, gender, transness, queerness, and/or forms of colonialism and settler colonialism.

We will highlight work that speaks to different knowledge systems, research formats, critical and creative practices, and/or collaborative modes. We welcome work that reflects upon and/or models feminist, decolonial, collaborative, community-centered, activist, and creative modes of knowledge production and dissemination. We also welcome work that rethinks the possibilities of research settings, formats, scales, rhythms, and durations.

We see the expansive format of this year’s conference as a form of feminist praxis. Feminists, particularly racialized and postcolonial subjects, have long played critical roles in rethinking the methods and genres that constitute research, working as scholars, activists, and artists. At its best, research offers grounds for transformative ideas, unraveling conventional ways of knowing. But the concept of research can also evoke extractivist, pathologizing methodologies that claim ownership of knowledge. Even though it is commonly recognized that knowledge is situated, we still see Eurocentric, patriarchal matrices of power persist, sometimes taking subtler forms in academic research practices and institutional structures.

Building from longstanding conversations on feminist epistemologies, decolonial methodologies, and institutional activism, this year’s Thinking Gender conference responds to much-needed inquiries, reflections, and imaginations of feminist, decolonial research methods and practice. We welcome submissions situated in a wide range of inter/disciplinary areas, so long as they engage with critical issues in feminist research theories, practices, and methods. We also encourage work that considers art/creation as methods (beyond simply an object of research or a platform for research dissemination), investigating how creative making and critical writing can mutually inform each other.
Questions for engagement include:

  • How can we create and disseminate knowledge intentionally and ethically, with accountability to communities as well as awareness of our positionalities and limits to our knowledge?
  • How can we recognize differential ways of being, but also collaborate across different knowledge systems to provide new ways to understand our interhuman, interecological world?
  • How can feminist researchers expand the scope and limits of possibility for research?
  • What forms of connection and collaboration are possible, and in what contexts might strategies for disconnection come into play?
  • How can academic fields rethink the conventional scales, rhythms, and formats of research?
  • What are the possibilities for creative practices of writing, making, and activism that offer alternatives to entrenched research genres?
  • How can researchers build regenerative structures within neoliberal university systems, creating spaces that resist the casualization of labor and hierarchical, capitalist forms of knowledge production?

We encourage applicants to think within, alongside, beyond, and perhaps against the following topics as they consider the shape and content of their prospective participation in TG23

  • Collaboration, cooperation, co-creation, co-authorship
  • Bridging the theory/practice divide: Art as research, play as method, video essays, literary approaches to critical writing
  • Activism and participatory action-research, community-based research
  • Decolonial research methods, ethics and accountability, questions of language
  • Indigenous feminist knowledge making and settler colonialism as epistemology
  • Black feminist thought, afterlives of slavery, fugitivity, and critical fabulation as method
  • Disruptions of research temporalities (e.g., slow scholarship, flash ethnography, patchwork ethnography)
  • Data feminism, data sovereignty, algorithms, feminist approaches to race and technology
  • Feminist, decolonial approaches to archives and historiography, archival absences
  • Critical cartographies, feminist modes of spatial analysis
  • Affect and embodiment in research, experiential research, reflexivity and authorial positioning
  • Nonhuman forms of knowledge, alternative forms of knowledge-making and dissemination
  • Feminist epistemologies, situated knowledges, critical objectivity, forms of empirical evidence
  • False starts, failure studies
  • The relation between theory and method, the universalizing tendencies of theory, low theory, mid-level theory, piecemeal theory
  • Critical university studies, institutional and material conditions for feminist research
  • The relation between the personal and the professional, care work and research
  • Reports from / reflections on research collectives, networks, and other forms of organizing
  • Historical case studies of feminist research or collective work

We welcome a range of submission formats from graduate students, including scholarly papers, works in hybrid critical/creative genres (e.g., multimedia projects, performance, experimental forms of academic writing), and film/mixed media. While submissions are not limited to these, some media formats that might work particularly well for this year’s call include short films and videos, soundscapes, digital and alternative archives or cartographies, and interactive works. We also invite poster proposals from undergraduate students.

This conference is interdisciplinary, and we encourage submissions from all fields of study. Successful submissions will center feminist research methods and practice, and ideally, engage substantively with power relations concerning race, ethnicity, Indigeneity, Blackness, gender, transness, queerness, and/or forms of colonialism and settler colonialism.

In lieu of a keynote address, the conference (TG23) will feature two in-person interactive sessions. One session will be co-facilitated by TL Cowan and Jas Rault on Trans-Feminist & Queer collaborative “heavy processing” methods for working with digital materials. The second session will be facilitated by Celine Parreñas Shimizu on “Creativity in the Face of Devastation: Methodologies of Research and Practice Across Inequality.” 
Students have three ways to participate in this conference:

  1. Virtual graduate student participants will workshop works-in-progress in closed online sessions on 2/23/2023. All participants in a workshop (3–4 students) will be asked to read or view each other’s submissions in advance. Participants will then convene in a Zoom session with a moderator who will offer constructive feedback and facilitate discussion around each submission. The workshops will provide opportunities for thoughtful engagement with each participant’s submission under an ethos of generosity in intellectual engagement. This format was highly successful at the previous two Thinking Gender conferences and received strong support from workshop participants.
  2. In-person graduate student participants will give a public presentation of their finished projects at a panel on the UCLA campus on 2/24/2023. In addition, participants will take advantage of other in-person activities offered by the conference, including speaker-led interactive sessions, a poster session, and networking opportunities.
  3. Undergraduate poster presentations will be in person on 2/24/2023 only.



All materials must be submitted using the online application form.

Deadline for Abstract/Synopsis/Proposal Submissions:
Sunday, October 23, 2022, at 11:59PM PDT 

Only complete submissions received by the deadline will be considered.

Contact Zizi Li, Thinking Gender Coordinator at thinkinggender@women.ucla.edu.