Feminist Utopias: Transforming the Present of Philosophy

Historical and Contemporary Perspectives


Symposium in Reykjavik and Skálholt, Iceland 30th of March to 2nd of April, 2017

 Co-hosted by

Feminist Philosophy: Transforming Philosophy at The University of Iceland and

NSU Study Circle Feminist Philosophy: Time, History and the Transformation of Thought

Keynote speakers:

Alison Jaggar University of Colorado, Boulder

Kristie Dotson Michigan State University

Ruth Hagengruber University of Paderborn

Nancy Bauer Tufts University

Willow Verkerk Kingston University

Theme of the symposium: Feminist Utopias: Transforming the Present of Philosophy

Some of the most ground-breaking inventions in contemporary philosophy have come from feminist philosophy. More gender-conscious conceptions of humans have modified and enriched traditional philosophical ideas about epistemic, ethical and political subjects, and our understanding of the past of philosophy has been improved by recent scholarship on women in the history of philosophy. However, the transformative potential of feminist philosophy for renewing the discipline in terms of canon, concepts, histories, institutional cultures, content, and plurality of styles has not yet been actualized. The feminist utopias envisioned by feminist philosophers across traditional philosophical divides and cultures possess the potential for invigorating philosophy and bringing it back to basic questions of philosophy born out of wonder or frustration. Such utopias are not idealistic but represent our striving for a more realistic grasp of who we are and how we experience the world. The inherent tension between the particular and the universal, the private and the public, so strongly debated within feminist philosophy is a resource for disclosing new philosophical futures.

Over the course of four days we will explore these themes together. The first day will be spent at the University of Iceland in Reykjavík where we will listen to keynote speakers in an open conference. In the evening we leave for Skálholt which is a beautiful historic place in the south of Iceland, about an hour’s drive from Reykjavík. In Skálholt we will have a three-day workshop with paper presentations and discussion sessions.

The symposium provides a space for theoretical experimentation and cross-fertilization of methodologies and ideas. It aims to develop insights that could be used for further research within philosophy, literature, history of ideas and related areas. We welcome proposals for presentations at the workshop in Skálholt.

Format of the presentation

Each presentation will have 30 minutes for presentation and discussion.

To submit a proposal please send via email to the coordinators: feministphilosophy@nsuweb.org or to eyjabryn@hi.is 

  1. A written proposal (350 words) with a title and descriptive subtitle.
  2. A short bio (200 words)

If you would like to attend the symposium without presenting, please email a short bio.

The deadline to submit proposals is November 15, 2016. The preliminary program will be announced on December 15, 2017 on www.nordic.university.

Registration and fee

There will be a fee for those attending the workshop in Skálholt, covering the cost of room and board there. This fee is yet to be determined, but it will be reasonable.

Participants should apply to their institutions, Art Councils, local foundations or other possible sponsors to have their travel cost covered. Those not affiliated with an institution may apply to NSU for travel funding.

Feminist Philosophy Transforming Philosophy is a project based at the Institute of Philosophy at the University of Iceland. The project focuses, among other things, on extending concepts of gender and equality by framing issues of identity and gendered connotations within larger systemic frameworks, directing a critical approach at the generic concepts of “man”, “human”, “self” and “subject” in philosophy. The notion of the relational subject is a result of feminist philosophy’s idea of the human subject as embedded and embodied. This project combines two crucial insights and inventions of contemporary feminist philosophy, the body and power, and offers a rethinking of the human subject on that basis. This entails rethinking ontologies of private relations and linking them to the political in novel ways.

Contact persons are Sigríður Þorgeirsdóttir sigrthor@hi.is  and Eyja M. Brynjarsdóttir eyjabryn@hi.is.

Feminist Philosophy: Time, history, and the transformation of thought is a three year project within the Nordic Summer University. Beginning in 2017, it will organize six conferences in the Nordic and Baltic region on the theme of feminist philosophy in historical and contemporary perspectives.

 The Nordic Summer University (NSU) is a nomadic, academic institution, which organises workshop-seminars across disciplinary and national borders. Since it was established in 1950, Nordic Summer University has organised forums for cultural and intellectual debate in the Nordic and Baltic region, involving students, academics, politicians, and intellectuals from this region and beyond.