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The Ethics of Consumption: Activism, Advocacy, Academia


10 mai 2024


Mme Aïcha Bouchelaghem, UNIGE

Prof. Deborah Madsen, UNIGE


Pre. Samantha Pergadia, outhern Methodist University (US)

Pre. Alexa Weik von Mossner, University of Klagenfurt (AT)


This workshop seeks to explore the utility of the now-pervasive term "intersectionality," coined by Black feminist legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw, in the context of literary engagements with social justice issues and hierarchical structures of power such as species, ethnicity, race, sexuality, and gender. Intersectionality, Crenshaw's term for the simultaneous experience of more than one system of domination. As a critical approach, intersectionality acknowledges that the domination of those who are marginalized as "Other" (e.g. women, nature, racialized people, and other-than-human animals) produces a single paradigm of violence that is based on a gendered power binary. Thus, intersectional critique does not address a single "cause" but works to counteract the logic of domination. Indeed, the intersectionality of Otherness encapsulates a range of marginalizing strategies that rely significantly on discursive processes of objectification and the production of consumable objects, of which other-than-human animals offer a fundamental paradigm when they are transformed into the consumable commodity that is meat. Consumption is therefore an ethical flash-point that demands a choice between refusal of, or complicity with, the process of Othering. Intersectional analysis can illuminate the political implications of these choices. The workshop encourages participants to reflect on the ways in which literary and cultural texts, in their domain of expertise, mobilize concepts of intersectional critique, Otherness, and ethical consumption. We want also to ask, what is the role of academia in respect to political critique? Is the classroom an appropriate space for activism and/or advocacy of social justice causes? What limits might participants want to place on the politicization of their research projects? The issues provoked by this topic will be explored in three ways: the two keynote lectures, the sessions of student presentations, and a roundtable discussion comprised of scheduled 10-minute interventions and general participation. The concluding roundtable will allow responses to, and reflections on, ideas introduced earlier in the day while providing a forum in which we can focus specifically on the role of the academy as a site for advocacy. Further information is available at





Deadline for registration 03.05.2024
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