Purpose, Power and Profit: feminist ethical enterprise and cultural industries

July 12 2019, Murray Edwards College, Cambridge

Organisers: Lucy Delap, (History Faculty, Cambridge), and Margaretta Jolly, (Media, Film and Music, Sussex)

The symposium will bring into conversation feminist, cultural and media debates with those in business, management, accountancy and economics. We are also interested in connecting with fields which include, but are not limited to, technology studies, digital studies, new materialism, gender studies, transatlantic feminisms, posthumanism, postcolonialism, narrative studies, history and oral history, and publishing studies. We are especially interested in contributions that transgress the traditional academic boundaries between the humanities, the social sciences, and finance and business studies.

Confirmed Plenary: Prof Joshua Clark Davis (University of Baltimore)

  • The tensions between political purposes which may drive and inspire cultural production, and the need to remain financially viable;
  •  The history, culture and business of feminist presses, for example The Women’s Press, Honno, Onlywomen, Sheba, Virago, Les Éditions des Femmes, Kitchen Table, Aunt Lute, Firebrand, Seal, Urban Fox, Spinifex, Kali, Silver Press or others;
  • Histories of the transformation of the book trade, including its financialization since the 1990s;
  • The business strategies of magazines and journals in social movement contexts, including approaches to production, advertising, marketing, distribution;
  • Academic presses and the role and impact of educational markets;
  • Concepts and practices of social movement distribution and distributors including radical bookshops, digital and e-publishing innovations;
  • How theories of industrial and post-industrial labour illuminate the history of feminist and women’s publishing; marketplace feminisms;
  • Management and organizational theory and practice in publishing and recording contexts, including collectives, cooperatives, small and medium sized enterprises, social enterprise initiatives; mergers and merged structures;
  • Capital and investment as determining concepts as well as conditions of business, and activist responses to these, including notions of value, profit, investment and subsidy;
  • Regional, national and transnational relationships in creative industries and the cultural geography of ethical enterprise;
  • How digitization has impacted radical publishing and recording in the twenty-first century;
  • The archiving and history of publishing and business including oral history methods, and as they engage with corporate memory in general;
  • Pedagogical challenges, delights, and opportunities for innovative scenarios and curricula in teaching feminist/radical/environmental/queer business practice/praxis.

The contributions to this symposium may also be considered for a special issue of Women: A Cultural Review, titled “Purpose, Power and Profit in Feminist Publishing”, to be published in 2020.

Please send a 200-word abstract, along with a current CV and a 100-word biography describing your areas of research/practice, to:

Lucy Delap <lmd11@cam.ac.uk> and Margaretta Jolly <m.jolly@sussex.ac.uk>

Deadline for proposals Feb 1, 2019. Participation will be confirmed by April 1, 2019.

Lucy Delap is Reader in Modern British and Gender history at the University of Cambridge, and Fellow of Murray Edwards College. She has published widely on the history of feminism, gender, labour and religion, including the prize-winning The Feminist Avant-Garde: Transatlantic Encounters of the early twentieth century (2007), Knowing Their Place: Domestic Service in Twentieth Century Britain (2011), and with Sue Morgan, Men, Masculinities and Religious Change in Twentieth Century Britain (2013). Her interest in feminist publishing has come about through research on earlier phases of feminist periodical publishing in the early twentieth century, as well as through some recent work on feminist bookshops in the 1970s to 2000s. She is Co-Investigator for The Business of Women’s Words: Purpose and Profit in Feminist Publishing.

Margaretta Jolly is Professor of Cultural Studies in the School of Media, Film and Music, University of Sussex and directs the University’s Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research. Her work has focused on auto/biography, letter writing and oral history, particularly in relation to women’s movements. She is the editor of The Encyclopedia of Life Writing (Routledge, 2001) and the author of In Love and Struggle: Letters in Contemporary Feminism (Columbia, 2008), for which she won the Feminist and Women’s Studies Association UK Book Prize. She is also Principal Investigator for The Business of Women’s Words: Purpose and Profit in Feminist Publishing, partnered with The British Library, and of Sisterhood and After: The Women’s Liberation Oral History Project at bl.uk/sisterhood.

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