23 – 27 May 2011   print this page

Course directors:

Jasmina Lukić, Central European University, Hungary
Natka Badurina, University of Udine, Italy
Antonella Riem, University of Udine, Italy
Rada Borić, Centre for Women's Studies, Zagreb, Croatia
Renata Jambrešić Kirin, Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research,Zagreb, Croatia
Durre S. Ahmed, Centre for the Study of Gender and Culture, Lahore, Pakistan

Course description:

The intellectual impulse for the fifth feminist course in the seminar on Feminisms in transnational perspective (Dubrovnik, 23–27 May, 2011) comes from Hannah Arendt’s statement that “lives without words and action are dead for the world”. Extensive scholarship has established links between gender and genre in women’s (auto)biographical discourses, while feminist theorizing has offered political and activist perspectives on the wider socio-cultural frame of positing, producing, communicating, and manipulating women’s self-representations. The exploration of autobiographical ethics and “first-person plural subjectivities” involved in national identity formation in turbulent times and politically charged contexts has been particularly fruitful. Now we may ask, how do the contexts and communitarian vocabularies of selfhood intervene in pervasive neoliberal structures of power/knowledge and capitalist reification in the transnational negotiation of feminisms?

A challenge for feminist theory and practice is how to find forms to enunciate the dignified, empowered and desire-driven, but also forbidden, shocking, and traumatized women’s voices demanding truth and justice? On the one hand, the “testimonial turn” in the study of women’s life writing has shifted our focus to the forces that contribute to the interplay of emancipation and liberation with subordination that expose the trauma to which a witness may speak or write in public. Testimonies, although contested and often manipulated by persons and situations, importantly contribute to subverting essentialized discourses of identity and prejudices of (meta)cultural representation in the validation of victimized communities. On the other hand, emergent practices of women’s self-authoring through community art, social forums, public hearings, artistic performances, and new media signal creative prospects for the future.

Participants are invited to consider the following issues and dilemmas relevant to our focus:

- How have poststructuralist, postcolonial and feminist theorizings of the self, subjectivity and voice changed women’s self-representations?

- How have feminist theories focused on gender and genre in traditionally marginalized modes of writing intervened in the formation of national literary canons?

- How, in media-saturated environments, is the telling of trauma narratives enabled or undermined?

- In what ways can women’s testimonies and international public hearings for women mobilize feminist activism, empathy, and compassion across borders?

- What is the political and educational impact of compassionate reading and listening to women’s coming-out stories, confessions and testimonies from the “rest of the world”?

- How is feminist art a stimulus to a poetics and ethics of women’s self-expression and self-authoring?

- What practices support the recognition of and respect for other/ness in multi-lingual, nomadic, and experimental projects of women’s self-presentation?

- To what extent (if at all) can feminist projects of self-authoring be considered acts of self- and collective decolonization of mind and body?

Participants are invited to propose theoretical and/or empirical projects that address and explore various modes of women’s self-representation and self-authorship emerging from new social movements, women’s political initiatives, theorizing of radical consciousness and activism, as well as experimental forms of self-expression in the traditional fine arts, literature, film, theatre and dance.


IUC courses are conducted at the postgraduate level. All interested postgraduate students may apply to participate, although the course targets young scholars and postgraduate students with a defined interest in women’s studies, transnational studies, postcolonialism, or anthropology. The course will be limited to 25 participants (15 students), in order to provide sufficient space for discussion, seminar work and student presentations. Participants must seek funding from their own institutions for the costs of travel, lodging and meals. Limited financial support is available for participants from Central and Eastern Europe. The IUC requires the payment of 40 EUR for the course fee. The working language of the course is English.

Application Procedure:

Please submit a proposal consisting of a short narrative describing your interest in the topic and your C.V. Put all current contact information at the top of your C.V. Send submissions by e-mail to zenstud@zamir.net. Use the subject: IUC Dubrovnik 2011. The proposal deadline is January 20, 2011.

Course lecturers:

Jasmina Lukić, Central European University, Hungary
Natka Badurina, University of Udine, Italy
Renata Jambrešić Kirin, Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research,Zagreb, Croatia
Durre S. Ahmed, Centre for the Study of Gender and Culture, Lahore, Pakistan
Rada Borić, Centre for Women's Studies, Zagreb, Croatia

Work Schedule:

Monday, 23 May (10.00– 18.00)

9.30. – 10.00 Gathering of the participants at the IUC, Don Frana Bulića 4

Moderator and welcome address: RADA BORIĆ (Zagreb, Croatia)

10.00-10.45 Short self-presentation by all participants

10.45-11.30 DURRE AHMED (Lahore, Pakistan)

A Different 'Voice': Textual and Psychological Reflections on Scriptural Narrative, Patriarchy and the Quran

11.30-11.45 Coffee break

11.45.-12.30 JAANA VUORI (Tampere, Finland) Studying auto/biographies and narratives from a methodological perspective

12.30-13.00 General discussion

13.00-16.30 Welcome reception

16.30-18.00 Presentations by (post)doctoral students (20 ' presentation + 10' discussion)

16.30-17.00 VIKTORIJA RATKOVIĆ (Klagenfurt, Austria)

Migrant media and the question of identity

17.00-17.30 SHUCHI KARIM (Haag, the Netherlands/ Bangladesh)

Memories of the 'Other': Bihari women's narratives of life, identities, and nationalism

17.30-18.00 TINA PAVLOVIĆ (Zadar, Croatia)

Negotiation of identities: the analysis of Nawal El Saadawi's autobiographical texts

Tuesday, May 24 (09.15 –18.30)

Moderator: IVA GRGIĆ (Zagreb/Zadar, Croatia)

9.15–10.00 IRENA ATELJEVIĆ (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Decolonizing myself: (r)evolution from within and without

10.00–10.45 VITA FORTUNATI (Bologna, Italy)

Memory as a complex act in women's autobiographies: three case studies

10.45 –11.00 Coffee break

11.00–11.45 JULIA WATSON (Columbus, USA)

The cultural works of women's graphic memoirs

11.45–12.30 SLAĐANA MITROVIĆ (Ljubljana, Slovenia) Contemporary female expression in autobiographical art

12.30–13.00 General discussion

13.00–16.30 Lunch break

16.30–18.30 Presentations by (post)doctoral students (20' presentation + 10' discussion)

16.30–17.00 MOJCA PIŠKOR (Zagreb, Croatia)

In my little private darkness… - narrating life and actions in song

17.00-17.30 ALJA ADAM (Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Women narrating their own sexuality: interpretation of contemporary prose

17.30 -18.00 LAURA SARNELLI (Napoli, Italy)

Antigone's legacy: some feminist readings

19.00 Film screening and conversation with director JASMILA ŽBANIĆ (Sarajevo, BiH)

Wednesday, May 25 (09.15 –18.00)


9.15–10.00 SILVANA CAROTENUTO (Italy)

Deconstructing the rhetoric of human rights: a feminist poet(h)ics

Panel: Voicing trauma, conveying memory

10.00–11.15 NATKA BADURINA (Udine, Italy): Testimony between history and literature; JASMINA LUKIĆ (Budapest, Hungary): The language of body as the language of trauma in J. Žbanić's Grbavica; et al

11.00–11.15 Coffee break


RENATA JAMBREŠIĆ KIRIN (Zagreb, Croatia): Voicing trauma in Croatian women's documentary novels;

NEJRA NUNA ČENGIĆ (Sarajevo, BiH): War and time in women's life stories;

NATASHE LEMOS DEKKER (Utrecht, the Netherlands): Influences on the Self and the becoming of a movement, How women in Argentina transformed mourning into collective action;

KATHRINE VAN DEN BOGERT (Utrecht, the Netherlands):The dialogical religious self

BILJANA KAŠIĆ (Zadar/Zagreb, Croatia) Women and war voices et al.

13.30–18.00 Lunch break

Venue: IUC, Conference Hall, Ground Floor

Thursday, May 26 (09.15 – 18.30.)


09.15–10.00 IRINA NOVIKOVA (Riga, Latvia) Women's narratives and women's anti-feminism in post-Soviet Baltic contexts of the 1990s

10.00–10.45 IVA GRGIĆ MAROEVIĆ (Zadar/Zagreb, Croatia)

Looking for ways to say "I". The early-20th century Italian heritage

10.45–11.00 Coffee break

11.00–11.45 SERGIA ADAMO (Trieste, Italy)

Self-narration in a feminist perspective related to J. Butler's though

11.45-12.30 General discussion

12.30 –17.00 Lunch break

17.00-18.30 Presentations by (post)doctoral students (20' presentation + 10' discussion)

17.00–17.30 OLGA KURTO (Moscow, Russia)

The students of the Franciscan Sisters’ Missionaries of Mary Boarding School (1924-1950, Harbin, China): women narrating their lives

17.30–18.00 JANA KRISTOFORYOVA (Brno, Czech Republic)

Life stories of three Muslim women living in the Czech Republic

18.00-18.30 NELLA VAN DEN BRANDT (Ghent, Belgium)

Dialogue and transversal feminist practice in Antwerpen

Friday, May 27 (09.15 – 13.00)


9.15–10.00 NATALIA LVOVNA PUSHKAREVA (Moscow, Russia)

Women narrating their lives in Russian Academia of sciences

10.00–10.45 MARTA DRURY (The Heart and Hand Fund, USA)

What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life?

10.45–11.00 Coffee break

11.45-12.30 ULLA VUORELA (Tampere, Finland)

(title to be defined)

11.45-13.00 Course evaluation and concluding discussion moderated by RADA BORIĆ