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What is coalition ? Reflections on the conditions of alliance formation with Judith Butler’s work

14-15 mai - Genève

Date de mise en ligne : [03-05-2012]

14-15 May 2012 : European Conference - In English - Registration required

14 May 2012 : Public Lecture- In French - Free Entrance

Conception :

Delphine Gardey (University of Geneva) and Cynthia Kraus (University of Lausanne)
Logistics : Aurélie Chrestian (University of Geneva),
Julien Debonneville (University of Geneva) and Christel Gumy (University of Lausanne)

Venue :

Institute for Gender Studies, Geneva University, Switzerland.

In her groundbreaking book, Gender Trouble (1990), Judith Butler inaugurates and develops her critique of foundational reasoning – of identity categories such as (biological) sex, or of a transcendental subject such as “the woman” or even “women” (in the plural) – as a critique of identity politics in general, and of a women’s identity-based feminism in particular. For this reason, her antifoundationalism appears as a critical practice that seeks not only to rethink the political – along with genders, bodies, subjects and agency – in terms of performativity rather than of representation, but also, and most importantly, to theorize alternatives to identity politics in terms of coalition building. Since then, we can consider that Butler has insistently returned to the action-oriented question of “what is coalition ?” and further elaborated on the conditions of possibility of alliance formation – at least, as much as on the conditions of subversion – in order to move effectively toward what she calls a “progressive” or “radical democratic politics.”

This one-day conference aims to reflect – historically, sociologically, philosophically – on the conditions of possibility, on the objects, means and purposes of alliance formation – between minorities, with the State, political parties, and other public actors, or between disciplines, or even across species (e.g. animal-human), etc. –, of political transformation, and thus of a collective agency, in both domestic and international contexts, through the concrete and generic question of “What is coalition ?” – with special interest for the ways in which critical perspectives inspired from feminist and queer theory can be made into productive tools to theorize the political at various levels, at different times and locations, but also to intervene and do better democratic work. We encourage submissions from all research fields that present original material and engage, with creativity and precision, with both the theoretical and practical dimensions of the conference question with insights from – rather than directly on – Butler’s “political theory.”

Program :


Deadline for registration : Tuesday 8th May 2012

The number of registration is limited to 100

Online Registration Fees : 40 Swiss Francs

Contact :


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