Feeling Democracy: A Conference on Politics and Emotions

Sarah Tobias's picture
Call for Papers
November 15, 2019
New Jersey, United States
Subject Fields: 
Women's & Gender History / Studies, Sexuality Studies, Social Sciences, Humanities

Call for Papers:

Feeling Democracy: A Conference on Politics and Emotions

Rutgers University

April 17, 2020


The Institute for Research on Women (IRW) at Rutgers University invites paper proposals for Feeling Democracy: A Conference on Politics and Emotions to be held on April 17, 2020.


In January 2017, when millions of women here and abroad took the streets chanting “Show me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!” they channeled mass anger at the incoming president’s misogyny and racism into worldwide protests. From social media flame wars to fiery political speeches, emotion shapes political rhetoric and action. Politicized emotions can galvanize participation and inspire democratic renewal, such as in Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. But emotional appeals can also undermine democratic stability, as demonstrated by the global rise of authoritarian populism.  


Emotions and affect have emerged as a rich field of inquiry in the social sciences and humanities. How can feminism help us make sense of the complex relationship between emotions and democracy? To what extent are solidarities around gender, race, and sexuality catalysts of a passionate democratic politics? Is the expression of emotion in democratic politics only acceptable when it is voiced by certain types of people or communities? We seek to explore these and other related questions in an interdisciplinary conference and welcome national and international perspectives related to our theme. The most compelling papers from the conference will be collected in an edited volume of IRW’s new Feminist Bookshelf series, published by Rutgers University Press.


Submission Guidelines

To submit proposals for individual papers or group sessions, please send the following information to irw@sas.rutgers.edu:


  • Name
  • Affiliation (please note that independent scholars and activists are welcome to present)
  • Mailing address
  • Office and cell phone numbers
  • Email address
  • Equipment needs
  • Biography (50 words)
  • Title of Presentation
  • Abstract (250-300 words)


Deadline for submissions is November 15, 2019. 

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