New Scholars' Conference in Citizenship Studies

On Friday, February 27, 2004, the Center hosted a conference highlighting recent work in citizenship studies by advanced graduate students and junior-level professors. The initial call for papers generated considerable international interest and the Center received 40 abstracts from a number of countries. From these abstracts, the Center and its Advisory Board selected nine presenters for the conference.

Joan W. Scott, the Center’s distinguished scholar-in-residence delivered the conference’s keynote address. The title of Professor Scott’s address was “French Universalism in the 1990s.” The following is a brief précis of her speech: In June, 2000, passed a law that now requires that half of all candidates for elective office be women. It is referred to as the 'parity law.' Joan Scott examines the way in which the feminists who organized the successful campaign for passage of the law argued for it, placing their demands carefully within the context of French republican political theory. The law is not about quotas (as most Americans assume), nor is it about the state imposing political correctness on its citizens. Rather the parity law was overwhelmingly endorsed by public opinion and, for that reason became a prudent measure for politicians to endorse. The argument for parity was, at the outset, neither essentialist nor separatist; it was not about the particular qualities women would bring to politics, nor about the need to address a special women's interest. Instead--and this is what the lecture will explore--the original argument was rigorously universalist. This study of a recent French feminist movement's attempt to refigure universalism addresses a set of questions much debated by philosophers, psychoanalysts and feminist theorists: What is the relationship between anatomical difference and its symbolic representation? Is sexual difference a fixed or mutable phenomenon? The parity movement offers a case study through which these questions can be explored. 

Call for Papers

Conference Program  

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