Time for Reflection? Considering the "Past", "Present" and "Future" of Feminist Legal Scholarship: A Roundtable Discussion
In his "Theses On the Philosophy of History" (1940), Walter Benjamin called for a blasting open of the continuum of history. His call was one that would bring into question teleological narratives of progress, and urge a radical rethinking of the concept of the “present”. Similarly, Judith Jack Halberstam considers the ability of new temporal logics to “open up new life narratives and alternative relations to time and space” (2005). Though differently conceptualised, these insights from Benjamin and Halberstam make poignant interventions on the pitfalls of unreflective time, and the political possibilities of imagining a new temporality. What do such insights mean for feminist legal studies? Has an orientation towards a "future" feminist ideal been productive in feminist legal scholarship and activism? How does your own work engage with temporality? Does a reconceptualization of time offer any insight for your work, or for feminist legal projects more generally? Discussion of these questions intends to interrogate what is often taken for granted as "progress" within the field, and to consider the benefits and drawbacks of thinking feminist research and activism inside or outside (or indeed of deploying this dualism in the first place) the domain of chronological time.
This Roundtable Discussion was recorded at the PECANS (Postgraduate and Early Career Academics Network) conference, 'Transgressing Power(s)', held at the University of Westminster, UK, on 30 April 2010. It was organised by Stacy Douglas and chaired by Sarah Keenan.
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