March 26-29, 2015
Trafficking in gender: feminist dialogues on embodiment

The Center for Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Florida Atlantic University was a generous host to the SEWSA 2015: “Trafficking in Gender: Feminist Dialogues on Embodiment.” The 2015 Southeastern Women’s Studies Association conference was held at the Wyndham Hotel in Boca Raton in beautiful South Florida!

FAU invited paper abstracts and complete panel, workshop, and roundtable proposals on all aspects of gender and embodiment. They especially encouraged those that engaged the conference theme to discuss feminism in relation to the themes of (im)mobility, trafficking, and movement. Gayle Rubin’s landmark essay, “The Traffic in Women: Notes on the ‘Political Economy’ of Sex,” provided a touchstone for the SEWSA 2015 conference theme, with its references to cultural anthropology, theories of sex and gender, activism, histories of sexual subcultures, deviance, SM, prostitution, and “modes of reproduction.”

Suggested topics/approaches for proposals were:

•             routes of transnational feminist politics

•             body trafficking, displaced and misplaced bodies

•             various forms of illicit trafficking (organs, cultural objects, drugs)

•             anti-trafficking movements and activism

•             engendering health

•             narratives of activism

•             pedagogical meditations on teaching gender and embodiment

•             circulations of cultural production (music, film, literature, visual arts)

The conference topic was inspired by FAU's Center’s initiative to raise awareness about sex trafficking, particularly in South Florida. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center found that the state of Florida ranked 3rd in the number of phone calls amassed by their human trafficking hotline in 2011. The keynote speaker, Carrie N. Baker, an Associate Professor in the Program for the Study of Women and Gender at Smith College, published The Women’s Movement Against Sexual Harassment (Cambridge UP, 2004), and her current research was on sex trafficking.