Fifth International Congress on Cultural Studies – Gender, Human Rights and Activisms
It is becoming increasingly necessary in contemporary societies to build bridges between activism and academia in both theory and practice regarding gender inequality. In this V International Congress on Cultural Studies, the Doctoral Program in Cultural Studies (PDEC/UA-UM) joins the Irenne – Research, Prevention and Action against Violence and Exclusion to propose a meeting that will bring together researchers and activists around issues that touch upon the intersections between Gender and Human Rights.
Broadly speaking, these two fields are eminently political and overlap irretrievably without, however, being confused with each other or reduced to one another. They are also two fields of knowledge and, at the same time, diverse activisms, because there are diverse gender subjectivities, Human Rights and struggles, as well as places where they speak and spaces which those who work through social movements, art or the institutions of the third sector, aim at occupying.
Similarly, there are multiple theoretical approaches that directly or indirectly engage these issues. The perspective of Cultural Studies is the one who allows for the best research intertwined with political participation, seeking to exercise a transformative praxis and the production of scientific knowledge rooted in social realities.
An inclusive and empowering praxis will allow the unravelling of gender standardization and recognition, be it through a critique of the legal apparatus available, as well as through an analysis of the micropolitics of recognition underlying social relations focusing on the subjective processes and on the individual and cultural identities. Regarding Gender Studies, it is not possible to move forward with the backs turned to the ways in which citizens are seeking the recognition of their rights and individuals are seeking the recognition of their subjectivity in the cultural process.
From femicide to transphobia, from equal marriage to the adoption of children by same-sex couples and assisted reproduction, the recognition of gender identity of transgender people, the right to pleasure and free expression of affection, gender issues multiply , intersect and, of course, overlap, but without losing their specificities. We are, therefore, faced with a set of complex and urgent problems, which are part of individuation and subjectivity processes in the context of contemporary cultural identities.
The V International Congress on Cultural Studies – Gender, Human Rights and Activisms invites researchers and activists to gather, from the 7th to 9th September 2016, in Aveiro, to think about theories and practices around these issues, seeking complementarities between scientific and activist practices, not to dilute the differences between them, but to find the possibilities to enrich each other, precisely because they are different. Thus, this Congress will host presentations of scientific papers, artistic works and experiences of activists in social movements.
In addition to presentations and discussions in plenary sessions and symposia, the organization committee challenges participants to produce a document, for which we suggest the name “Aveiro Charter”, laying out the conclusions and claims identified during the Congress, at the last plenary session. This document, once the consensus on its final form is reached, will be widely publicized in the media and sent to the Portuguese and European policymakers as a means of informing the general public and the direct agents of public policy on issues that the participants consider to be the most relevant in the field of gender studies and activism in Portugal.