The elaborations on gender of the last 20 years, in particular Queer theory, challenge the Marxist approach to the issue of gender oppression, and thereby demand the overcoming of an approach based on the establishment of a hierarchy of priorities between oppressions. At this year's annual Left Forum (the former Socialist Scholar Conference), IIRE Fellow Cinzia Arruzza hosted a panel to discuss this challenge: "Does Marxism have Gender Trouble?" on Saturday, March 19th.
The challenge is to see how a complex relation of material and ideological factors contributes to the continuous reproduction of Capitalism as a whole, and therefore of women's oppression. The panel focused on gender oppression within Capitalism, coping with issues as gender division of labor and social reproduction. In dealing with these topics, the panel took into account the general question of the relation between gender theories, in particular Queer theory, and Marxism. An aim of the panel was the discussion of the critical potential of the notion of gender performativity, and the way in which this transformative perspective might offer a common ground for both Socialist and Queer politics.
The panel was joined by Catherine Sameh, Johanna Brenner and Rutgers University's Nancy Holstrom. For a full programme of this year's Left Forum see: http://www.leftforum.org/conference/2011