Oceans, Islands, and Continents : Reconceptualizing the Spatialization of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Histories

Berkshire Conference of Women, Genders and Sexualities, 2023

Published on 14 December 2021 par Héloïse Humbert

Berkshire Conference of Women, Genders and Sexualities, 2023
Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Big Berks!
28 June-2 July 2023, Santa Clara University, California

Oceans, Islands, and Continents:
Reconceptualizing the Spatialization of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Histories

What does it mean to gather on the Ohlone peoples’ ancestral homeland, situated next to the San Francisco Bay, a gateway to the Pacific Ocean and Pacific Islands? What does it mean to convene, craft, share, and celebrate feminist histories in the ongoing contexts of climate change-fueled hurricanes and storm surges, sea level rise and coastal flooding, fires, and marine life extinction? What does it mean to celebrate fifty years of promoting and exploring histories of women, genders, and sexualities when immigrants, refugees, Indigenous and Black people, queer and trans communities are marginalized and subject to violence; political and individual freedoms are eroded; and growing autocratic and totalitarian regimes embolden racial nationalism?

We invite you—national and international scholars of all persuasions, and especially graduate students and early career colleagues—to collaborate with us in framing histories within broadly expansive configurations across time, space, and place. We seek to develop conversations across our interconnected yet disparate social, political, economic, and cultural worlds and to consider the transitions, transformations, and spatializations that keep them in constant flux.

We solicit panels, papers, and workshops that help us consider what histories emerge when relations are formed and linkages are drawn that transcend traditional national borders and reference instead, for example, oceans, islands, or continents?
What innovative or timeless feminist methodologies help us conceptualize and engage in conversations at new depths, attentive to the vastness of the oceans, lands, and islands we traverse and inhabit, as well as the importance of the care we give to a loved one, a garden, or a forest?

What are the affective geographies and histories of spaces of refuge, resistance, and renewal? What are the gendered histories of water, rain, and rivers that move us into new understandings of the relationships among plants, animals, and humans?
What are the specific histories of organizing against nuclear testing, deep sea drilling, rainforest destruction, political prisoners, femicide, human and sex trafficking, forced labor, state-based, anti-gay, lesbian, and trans legislation, and religious persecution that center women’s leadership as activists as well as mothers, daughters, sisters, partners, and friends?

How do we illuminate the depths of connective organizing across Asia, North and South America, the Pacific and Caribbean Islands, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East?

What are the ways these efforts transcend temporal and spatial boundaries?
As the Big Berks contemplates its fiftieth year of triennial conferences and plans for the future, we invite you to explore these questions through gendered analyses in addition to more spatially and temporally focused approaches.

We encourage submissions to engage activism and resistance, the local, global, and transnational, the biopolitical and necropolitical, as well as geographies that transcend the continental and the human. We also welcome submissions that explore interdisciplinary methodological, pedagogical, and digital humanities approaches that engage up to three of the themes listed below. Please begin by selecting the format of your proposal. You can choose to submit a single paper, traditional panel, roundtables, interactive workshop, lightning session, curriculum discussion/workshop, or other formats.

Once you begin your submission you will be required to select 1-3 of the following themes in order of relevance.


  • Activism, Resistance, and Feminisms
  • Affective Geographies of the Sacred, Religious, and the Secular
  • Bodies, Health, and (Dis)ability
  • Childhood, Family, and Reproduction
  • Decolonizing the Environment and the Post-Human
  • Disaster Capitalism, Social Death, and Femicide
  • Economies, Work, and Labor
  • Imperialism, Militarism, and Pacifism
  • Indigeneity, Colonialism, and Revitalization
  • Migrations, Diasporas, Refugees, and Borderlands
  • Queering and Querying Intimacies, Desire, and the Erotic
  • Racial Justice, Abolition, and Decolonization

The names of the program committee members reviewing proposals for each subtheme may be found here.

The 2023 Berkshires conference will have a small theater setting for the ongoing screening of films submitted for viewing at the conference. To submit a film to be included as part of the screening, we offer a separate form on the submission site to provide required information for the film along with information for the format required to be included in the screening. Note that this venue does not allow for post-screening discussion nor responses and is distinct from submitting a panel or roundtable about a film.

Submissions for the 2023 conference opened on on 1 September and end on 31 December 2021.

Submit your proposal here:
For more information, please contact Sandra Trudgen Dawson, execadmin@berksconference.org

The Berks is committed to encouraging new scholarship, especially by graduate students. If your session includes at least three presentations by graduate students and you would like your session flagged, please check “emergent scholars” on your session submission.

The Program Committee actively promotes the full and equitable inclusion of racial and ethnic minorities, religious minorities, differently-abled people, and LGBTQ+ people. To that end, the Program Committee encourages session proposals that include diverse participants as well as participants in various career paths and of various ranks (i.e., senior and junior scholars, public historians, graduate students, independent historians, and historically-grounded scholars in any discipline).

The Program Committee encourages the submission of complete sessions. When this is not possible, the program committee will accept single papers that will then be added to the program where appropriate.