Within feminist political theory, theorizing the political is closely linked to an understanding of gendered oppression as well as of gender and sexuality itself: The debates about equality and differences since the 1970s have proven that framing gender oppression as either lack of equality or effect of the dominance of a universalizing logic of “the One” also leads to different conceptualizations of power, representation, and politics. The political has also been a crucial point of intervention for deconstructivist approaches. Here, gender has not only been conceptualized as an effect of power relations but has also been abandoned as a natural or objective reference for (re-)defining justice, democracy or political agency. More recently, debates about gender and sexuality have come to profoundly engage with the intersectional dimensions of gendered exclusion, oppression and political agency; thereby benefiting from post-colonial theories, critical “race” studies, queer studies and disability studies. Feminist debates about the character of (state) power, oppression, representation, resistance and agency as well as the critiques that are advanced within such debates suggest that political theories are themselves always and invariably political. Theories not only depict and represent a specific social and political order but also partake in social and political processes, (re-)producing or challenging a specific order of knowledge and understanding of society and politics. By means of such epistemological contributions, social and political exclusions and hierarchies may be repeated, re-shifted, or subverted.
Against this background, the section seeks to bring together a wide range of feminist theorizing from different epistemological and political standpoints. It aims at investing various strands of political theories and at exploring their possible intersections. The section raises various questions: How can political theory be reconstructed in a way that advances feminists concerns? What are the normative positions that inform current political theories? What are the conceptual premises that are currently discussed as informative tools for empirical research? How may intersectional approaches as well as an understanding of traveling concepts inform, challenge and inspire political theories? What privileged locations of knowledge are currently discussed? The section welcomes papers that engage with questions on gender and sexuality at a local, national and transnational level or that invest in (re)defining key political concepts such as (post-) democracy, (state) power, oppression, agency, citizenship, representation, justice, equality, exclusion, and differences. This list is by no means restrictive: panels or papers that investigate other political concepts or axes of gendered oppression are very welcome. Paper and/or panel proposals which address questions of feminist epistemology and issues of engendering political theories on a meta-level are equally welcomed.