Great Lakes Colleges Association

Strengthening Education in the Tradition of the Liberal Arts

Global Liberal Arts Alliance

Alliance Institute - Transnational Feminism(s)
The American University of Paris
March 12-14, 2020

Transnational feminism is an increasingly important feminist perspective that emphasizes the differences among women and their struggles around the world while simultaneously recognizing the interconnectedness of what may at first glance seem like disparate and independent socio-political phenomena. From the feminization of poverty to the targeted persecution of women in marginalized communities, from the public outcry worldwide against rape culture to the #MeToo movement, the current global climate is one in which women around the world continue to fight inequality, political violence, and social injustice. In some cases, it is laws and institutions themselves that create and perpetuate these injustices. More insidious, but equally far reaching, are the invisible and interconnected social norms that have kept such structures of oppression and exclusion intact even in societies claiming to be egalitarian. While transnational feminism often focuses on women, it recognizes that gender inequities do not occur in a vacuum and are interrelated with social, economic, and political injustice affecting other social identities.

As liberal arts institutions, it is our mission to provide opportunities for faculty and students alike to develop and apply skills of deep critical inquiry that we might productively engage with the urgent and complex social crises of our contemporary world. Addressing and resolving large, complex problems that often cross international borders requires actions of many kinds involving multiple parties in diverse settings, as well as an understanding of the imperative of finding meaningful and efficacious local solutions to local problems. That said, a Global Alliance cross-institutional investigation of transnational feminism(s) will also reveal what might be global in our approaches. The 2020 Alliance Institute on Transnational Feminisms, bringing together faculty and students from a broad swath of Alliance institutions, will invite participants to undertake community-engaged learning to focus on generating empowering solutions to one of the most pressing issues of our time.

Institute Goals

In this highly interactive institute, participants will work together to:

  1. Understand the power and risks of theorizing global and transnational feminism(s);
  2. Articulate the role of liberal education — via curricular development, collaborative faculty / student research, and classroom-fostered activism — in empowering our graduates to action to improve women's lives around the world;
  3. Identify best practices for curricular and co-curricular programs that develop student's commitment to transnational feminism(s), social justice, and equity;
  4. Explore and compare local issues and seek to find empowering solutions to them through encouraging creativity, collaboration, fierce dialogue, risk-taking, and a commitment to activism for the public good;
  5. Identify opportunities for sharing and collaboration that will continue the work of the Institute, connecting students and faculty within our transnational network, including course pairings, sharing resources, and encouraging research collaborations.

Institute Themes

We are particularly interested in proposals that explore the following themes:

  1. Transnational feminism as pedagogy and practice: How do transnational feminist perspectives transform student engagement and learning?
  2. Transnational feminisms in theory and practice: Why does theory matter to practice, and vice versa, in transnational feminisms?
  3. Transnational feminist activism inside and outside the classroom: How do we engage students in acting on their knowledge and values?
  4. The locality of transnational feminism — or "TNF on the ground": How is what you do a transnational feminist practice?
  5. Transnational feminist tensions: How do class and labor interests collide (for example, farm workers and film workers) in different national settings and how can transnational feminists respond to such collisions?
  6. Transnational feminist resources: How do literature, visual culture, and other media function as sites and tools of resistance?

Session Formats

The Transnational Feminism(s) Institute is not a traditional academic conference. Inspired by feminist methodologies and epistemologies, we invite proposals from students and faculty that explore one or more of the Institute Themes using one of the formats described below. We seek proposals that encourage discussion and have concrete takeaways that will benefit Institute attendees. Proposers who would like to discuss an idea before submitting are encouraged to contact one of the Institute co-chairs. Students are strongly encouraged to submit session proposals. This could be on student-faculty joint research or activism, student group projects, or student-led sessions. In addition to sessions, there will be time for informal conversation and interaction.

Panels with representatives from Alliance schools in different parts of the world are especially welcome. To allow panelists time to share their perspective and still enable audience participation, a panel should have no more than four panelists, and possibly a moderator. If you wish to form a panel and need assistance in identifying panelists, please complete this Google Form.

A panel session is allocated 60 minutes.

Workshops offer participants opportunities to learn new approaches and pedagogies designed to foster education, scholarship, and collaboration. Workshops must be interactive. Proposals must specify equipment needs (e.g., participant-supplied laptops, room configurations, and A/V equipment) and limitation on the number of participants. Workshops on course design, pedagogy, community engagement and activism, and assessment are possibilities, but other ideas are welcome.

A workshop is allocated 60 or 90 minutes.

Individual Presentation
A small number of slots will be reserved for individual presentations addressing the Institute themes. These presentations will be placed in groups of two or three, as thematically appropriate.

Individual presentations are allocated 20 minutes, including time for discussion.

Birds of a Feather Session
Birds of a Feather (BoF) sessions provide an environment for colleagues with similar interests to meet for informal discussions on a topic of mutual interest. These are not formal presentations; A/V equipment will not be provided. BoF topics will be identified at the Institute and announced in advance of the sessions.

A BoF session is allocated 30 minutes.

All sessions should do some of the following:

  • Be interactive
  • Explore concrete local and global/transnational feminist issues and create opportunities to address them
  • Demonstrate awareness of the national, global/transnational, and historical contexts of feminist politics and of correspondingly different representations of transnational feminism
  • Interrogate power, privilege, access through the lens of transnational feminism(s)
  • Articulate the distinct issues of women's movements internationally (environmental, economic, social, etc.) and identifying strategies for change
  • Identify the gendered links amongst social, environmental, and gender justice
  • Measure the impact of globalization on the feminization of poverty

Proposal Submission

To propose a session, please complete the Proposal Form and email it to Simon Gray ( Please contact one of the co-chairs if you have questions.

Important Dates

Proposal submission deadline: October 1, 2019

Proposal acceptance announcement: November 20, 2019

Funding Support

Funding is available to defray costs to attend the Institute, with preference given to presenters. Those receiving funding are required to attend the entire Institute. Nominations for travel support must be sent to Simon Gray ( by the institution's Chief Academic Officer. For those who will not be presenting, the nomination should be accompanied by a short statement in a Word or PDF document indicating how attending the Institute will contribute to the person’s work on campus.

Faculty and Staff
The Alliance will provide travel support — airfare (up to a cap), lodging, and most meals — for one faculty or staff member from each Alliance institution.

The Global Alliance understands that the depth of learning at this Institute will be enhanced by the presence of students from across the Alliance. Through the generous support of the Endeavor Foundation, the Alliance will provide travel support — airfare (up to a cap), lodging, and most meals — for one student from each Alliance institution. Participating institutions are responsible for ensuring their student(s) have the necessary visa for travel.

Course Connections Opportunity

The Alliance Global Course Connections program connects a course offered on an Alliance campus in one country to a course offered on an Alliance campus in another country, providing the courses with an authentic international dimension they would not otherwise have. Through the connections, students from the two courses interact through shared readings, viewings, and working collaboratively on assignments. Alliance schools offering courses in fall 2019 or spring 2020 that touch on issues related to the gender, gender equality, women's rights, or themes pertaining to transnational feminisms are encouraged to consider offering their course through the Global Course Connections program.

Organizing Committee

Lissa Lincoln (co-chair) American University of Paris
Barbara Fultner (co-chair) Denison University
Simon Gray (co-chair) Great Lakes Colleges Association
Sanna Dhahir Effat University
Jennifer Mike American University in Nigeria
Juhi Sidharth FLAME University
Kana Takamatsu International Christian University
Sofia Zaragocin Universidad San Francisco de Quito

The Global Liberal Arts Alliance
535 West William Suite 301
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Voice: +1.734.661.2350
Facsimile: +1.734.661.2349

Map & Directions

Great Lakes Colleges Association

Strengthening Education in the Tradition of the Liberal Arts

The Great Lakes Colleges Association
535 West William. Suite 301
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48103

+1.734.661.2350 (voice)
+1.734.661.2349 (fax)