Gender in Catastrophic Times Symposium

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Lilith: A Feminist History Journal is excited to present a symposium centred on the theme of Gender in Catastrophic Times

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The 2020s have thus far been defined by catastrophe. The decade began in the midst of widespread environmental devastation, with bushfires across Australia choking entire cities until whole towns fled the flames, followed by fires in the Amazon and across the west coast of the United States as well. 2020 has since been designated one of the hottest years on record. Political crises have been rampant, too. The world has witnessed the continuing blight of white supremacy, epitomised by the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police officers, which fuelled the global Black Lives Matter movement. Australia is beset with the ongoing damage of colonisation, such as the over 400 Indigenous deaths in custody since the 1991 Royal Commission in Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Even 2021 began in political turmoil, with the world watching as the U.S. Capitol building was stormed by right-wing extremists. The beginnings of this decade have been characterized by catastrophe in multiple ways, even before we consider the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused inconceivable loss of life world-wide and exposed many deep-seated social inequalities.

In this symposium, we turn to past instances of difficult times to understand how societies have responded to and survived catastrophe. We specifically seek to understand gender in catastrophic times: how is gender mediated through and by catastrophe? How has gender contributed to or even caused catastrophe? And how have people reconsidered or reframed gender and gender norms in light of catastrophe? We seek to understand this not for a cynical recirculation of trauma, but in the hopes of searching for a means of emerging from the current disasters through which we are living.

For the full program, visit:

Cover photo: International Women's Day rally, Melbourne, 1975. Image courtesy of the National Archives of Australia. NAA: A6180, 19/3/75/5

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Organiser Lilith Editorial Collective

Organiser of Gender in Catastrophic Times Symposium

Lilith: A Feminist History Journal is the journal of the Australian Women's History Network (AWHN).

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Australian Women's History Network -

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