Punishing Bodies: Feminist Responses to the Carceral State

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The Gensler Family Symposium on Feminism in a Global Context will take place April 13-17th, 2015.  Supported with generous funds from the Gensler family, this annual conference is part of the Program in Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies and this year will be co-sponsored by the Center for the Comparative Study of Race & Ethnicity at Middlebury College. We have an exciting week of events planned, with speakers and films culminating in a full-day conference on April 17th.  The conference is open to all.

This year’s theme is a meditation on what feminism can tell us about mass incarceration, the policing of  poor communities, and the highly radicalized violence we see the state commit over and over again. Racial hierarchies have been built upon gender binaries since the birth of modernity. The hyper-masculinization of black and Latino communities and marking them as dangerous goes alongside the “racial innocence” of a white state. Whatever response comes after Ferguson, after Trayvon Martin, after Eric Garner, after Tamir Rice, after decades of a war on the poor, they must include feminism’s intersectional analysis of how race and gender, class and nation, space and sexuality work together to punish some bodies in the name of protecting others.

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