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The panel explores the potentials of feminist approaches to humanitarian action for reimagining the ways in which we respond to different forms of crisis. In recent years, feminist organizations have begun to articulate the need to transform the humanitarian system not least of all for its tendency to privilege certain (Northern-centric and patriarchal) values, approaches, and worldviews. They seek to make humanitarian action more attentive to the gendered, racialized, and lived experiences of crises thereby making aid more accountable, responsive, and accessible to those most affected. The emergence of feminist advocacies within the humanitarian field offers opportunities to engage with and reflect on current practices. However, the ideas emanating from this are rarely brought into direct conversation with other (mainstream and non-mainstream) strands of humanitarian research and practice. This panel therefore aims to explore contributions of feminist perspectives to the debates on how the humanitarian system can address the challenges of responding to crises in ways that are attentive to (gendered) inequalities and structures of power.
We invite conceptual, empirical, and practice-based papers that engage with any of the following questions:
1. In what ways can humanitarian practices be considered ‘feminist’? Where can we find examples of these?
2. What difference does a feminist perspective make on the everyday practice of humanitarian action?
3. How can feminist advocacies and approaches to humanitarian action help address the challenges in contemporary humanitarian practices and governance?
4. What alternative forms of ‘humanitarianism’ are made visible when we apply a feminist perspective?
This panel follows on from a similar panel held at the Development Studies Association conference in June 2023. Contributions to both panels will be considered for an edited collection on the topic.