Call for Papers: Gender, Nature and Peace

Peace, development, environmental protection are interdependent and indivisible (Rio Principle 25). Environmental degradation and natural disasters can be a cause and a consequence of conflict. Natural resources can fuel and fund conflicts or may in fact be a reason for conflict where resources are scare or abundant (the so called “resource curse”). Global demand for oil, diamonds, gold and other metals and commodities can start and prolong conflicts. During conflict, the environment and nature is destroyed, including catastrophic destruction by nuclear weapons as recently recognised by the Treaty Prohibiting Nuclear Weapons. Post-conflict it is recognised that agreements and peace negotiations must have regard to the environment and natural resources.

Since the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security, women’s essential role in peace negotiations and building sustainable peace has  been recognised by the UN. There is increasing recognition at the institutional level that women are disproportionately and differently impacted by climate change, extraction and environmental degradation and destruction. The CEDAW Committee’s General Recommendation No. 35 specifically links violence against women to extractive economies and destruction. The CEDAW Committee’s most recent General Recommendation 37 addresses the gender-related risks related to climate change and disasters.

The purpose of this workshop is to draw together the links between the nature, the Earth, our home, and gender discrimination and structural inequality in the context of international legal conceptions of peace and security. This workshop aims to explore gender, peace and the environment through a number of different feminist lenses. The topics might include nature, climate change, environmental peacebuilding, destruction, extraction/extractive economies, water, land rights, mining, mines, indigenous rights, natural disasters and sustainable development.  The workshop welcomes work which explores these issues from a range of disciplines from a feminist approach/perspective under the broad umbrella of peace and security. Relevant disciplines and perspective might include international law, international relations, geography, economics, ecology, gender, war studies, environmental humanism. Research which uses feminist methodologies is particularly encouraged.

Key questions for exploration include:

  • What is the relationship between gender, nature and peace?
  • What place does nature/the environment have in the Women, Peace and Security agenda?
  • What is the relationship between climate security and gender equality?
  • What is a gendered nature of peace?
  • How do material feminist, environmental humanism and territorial feminisms assist understandings of peace?
  • What is the relationship between WPS and extractive economies?
  • How does a feminist vision relate to sustainable peace?
  • What might a gendered re-imagining of the nature of peace look like?

Papers are encouraged to consider one or more of these key questions. Both theoretical and empirical papers are welcome.

Deadline: Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be sent by 10 am SMT 11 February 2019 to Dr Keina Yoshida at k.yoshida@lse.ac.uk with the email subject heading ‘Gender, Peace and Nature’. Please also send a biography of no more than 1 page.

Workshop: The workshop will be held on 28 June 2019 at the Centre for Women, Peace and Security at the London School of Economics and Political Science. It will be held in partnership with the University of Rosario, Colombia.

Funding: Limited standard class travel and accommodation may be available for those who are invited to present, and would otherwise be unable to participate. This is only available to those in conflict-affected areas or ODA-recipient countries.

This workshop forms part of the project for a Feminist International Law of Peace and Security, an AHRC funded project.

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A Constitution for Mars: A Call For Founding Feminists

Constitutions. Hamilton. Founding Fathers. Fathers. Father. Patriarchy.

purple and brown colored planet

In July scientists found a lake in Mars, raising hope that life on Mars, or a ‘colony’ on Mars, may become possible. Elon Musk has been telling us it is possible. Blue Origin tells us that ‘our dramatic next step will take us closer to the potential space holds for us all’. Space exploration has become the sport and object of the super rich and of transhumanists who are convinced that the Event is coming upon us.  Beyond the bunkers in New Zealand built by the capitalist uber elite, space, planets, and terrain beyond ‘the Earth, our home’ is destined for exploration. And if they achieve their goals, then what?  When the first to arrive are the super elite and the wealthy will they do anything other than impose the capitalist extractivist patriarchy under which we live here and now?  What type of rules would these founding fathers desire to regulate their affairs in Mars? Who will the ‘founding fathers’ be?  Bezos, Musk, Zuckerberg, Trump?

It is time that international feminist lawyers start talking about founding space feminism (For an excellent doctrinal overview of the laws on outer space including environmental protection and appropriation see Gerardine Goh Escolar here).  If space exploration is to happen (and it is happening), we must ensure that life in other spaces and times are not subject to the oppression, poverty, racism, sexism, and inequality to which most people on this planet are subjected to. It is up to us to become what Giaconda Belli termed the portadores de sueños (in her poem) and to write the treaties, covenants, and other instruments that provide for an alternative and better future. We must ensure that our ‘space’ constitution is binding and that it binds those who wish us to be bound.

The idea of a Bill of Rights in Mars or a Constitution for Mars is not new. CS Cockell has argued in an Essay on Extraterrestrial Liberty that ‘the most profound irony of the settlement of space is that the endless and apparently free expanses of interplanetary and interstellar space will in fact allow for, and nurture, some of the most appalling tyrannies that human society can contrive  Thwarting this tyranny will be the greatest social challenge in the successful establishment of extraterrestrial settlements’. He and others have previously gathered to discuss what a bill of rights for Mars would look like.  Astrobiologists, it seems, may be ahead of us critically minded lawyers.

The race for space exploration is undoubtedly influenced by the destruction of the planet, and fears over climate security. The UN has recently held debates on water, peace and security. The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, principle 25 make it clear that ‘Peace, development and environmental protection are interdependent and indivisible’. Environmental peacebuilding recognises that conflict can be caused by or exacerbated by resource scarcity or resource abundance (for example, the war in Sierra Leone and its links to ‘blood diamonds’). More recently, General Recommendation No 35 (updating General Recommendation No 19 on violence against women) of the CEDAW Committee specifically recognises that:

Gender based violence against women is affected and often exacerbated by cultural, economic, ideological, technological, political, religious, social and environmental factors, as evidenced, among others, in the contexts of displacement, migration, increased globalization of economic activities including global supply chains, extractive and offshoring industry, militarisation, foreign occupation, armed conflict, violent extremism and terrorism.

As GR35 recognises, extractive industries exacerbate violence against women and girls. It is deadly. GR35 also recognises the role that corporations play when they operate extraterritorially. And what about when they operate extra-terrestrially?

So what then would a founding feminist constitution look like? How would it guarantee foundation against what bell hooks has termed the ‘white supremacist capitalist patriarchy’? Is it a democracy to come? Whose work should we draw upon to inform this constitution?  Around the world, the brave, the portadores de sueños work on the ground against systematic violence.  Activists and academics work together on feminismos territoriales, and the rights of  women, forests, trees, and rivers.  Who will protect their rights in Mars?

The feminists.

 

Keina Yoshida is a research fellow at the Centre for Women, Peace and Security.  She is currently working on the AHRC funded project a Feminist International Law of Peace and Security.