Call For Papers: Reflections on Social Change: Metamorphosis or Transformation?

Birkbeck Institute for Social Research & Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities

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Graduate Conference 2015 – Call for Papers

Reflections on Social Change: Metamorphosis or Transformation?

Friday 15 May – Saturday 16 May 2015 | Birkbeck, University of London

For a PDF version of this Call for Papers, click here


Keynote speakers: Cristina Flesher Fominaya (University of Aberdeen), Liz Kelly (London Metropolitan University) and Illan rua Wall (University of Warwick)

Chair feminism panel: Jacqueline Rose (BIH)

Life today seems to be continuously changing, floating, and shifting faster than ever. Boundaries and barriers disappear, only to re-appear in new forms. Social movements shout their demands for social change. Subjects face the complexity of the contemporary world and its challenges within and across groups and cultural heritages. Possibilities of completely new approaches to the same old questions blossom together and are shut down. Re-visiting the critical frameworks of feminism, Marxism, psychoanalysis, critical legal theory, and postcolonial studies, we ask ourselves “where are we now?” How should we theorise the social changes of the present? Are we going through a metamorphosis or a transformation?

As the PhD student interns in the Birkbeck Institute of Social Research (BISR) and the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities (BIH), we invite fellow postgraduate students to take part in the conference and discuss their on-going work with others.

Please send abstracts (max. 350 words) to by 24th February 2015 indicating your name, institution, and name of the section in which you wish to take part (below). Interdisciplinary papers are particularly welcomed.


This Call for Papers is divided into three sections:

 1.    Social Change and Social Movements: Historical Perspectives

Social change has often been achieved through the action of social movements, whose objectives ranged from partial transformation to radical change. What enabled or caused their success or failure? What are the differences between older and more recent social movements? How can past experiences inform present struggles?

2.    Life and Law: Possibilities of a New Relation

 Tahrir Sq, Zuccotti Park, Syntagma Sq, Taksim Sq, Sao Paulo and many more are joining to the list every day, calling  for change, and practising common principles. Could these common principles help us to think about other forms of politics, law, and life? Can we think about another relationship between politics, law and life that dismantles biopolitics? Or is it too late? Should we search for a space out-of-law, if such a thing were possible? Are we doomed to live in a Kafkaesque novel? Or can the age of riots light the way to constitute a new law, politics and life?

 3.    Feminism: Oppression, Violence and Transformation

 How can  feminist heritage and knowledge, produced especially since the 1960s, be used today to produce analyses of women’s oppression that can take into account the complexity of the contemporary? Why does violence against women persist as a devastating phenomenon despite many changes to women’s rights and freedom? What categories and theoretical tools can help us understand how to transform the multiple forms taken by women’s oppression?

For more information and updates on the conference please visit our website.

Dr Reina Goodwin-van der Wiel, Manager
Birkbeck Institute for Social Research
Birkbeck, University of London
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HX

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T:  (0) 20 3073 8107



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