Call for Papers | Terms of Privacy: Intimacies, Exposures and Exceptions

Deadline: Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The McGill Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies (IGSF) is pleased to invite presentation proposals for a two-day conference entitled “Terms of Privacy: Intimacies, Exposures and Exceptions”, Nov. 4-5, 2016. The conference is held in collaboration with Studio XX’s biennial feminist festival of media arts + digital culture, The HTMlles 12: Terms of Privacy, Nov. 3-6, 2016.

The contemporary moment is marked by conditions of intimate exposures; the very terms of privacy are a key sight of political struggle around self and social fashioning, control and surveillance. If technologies of surveillance don’t simply passively monitor, but preempt and produce forms of behavior, how might feminist practices disrupt and rechannel surveillance regimes through tactics of intimate exposure? For those for whom privacy was never a given to be transgressed (women of colour, trans-women, the poor, migrants, those labeled ill or differently abled) what is to be gained by reworking the terms of privacy through art, activism and agency?  What are properly queer and feminist metrics for calculating the risks, rewards and pleasures of intimacy and exposure? What new media forms, practices and habits have feminists developed to account for, resist and radically enhance life under the conditions of constant monitoring, self reporting and surveillance? How do the terms of privacy not simply mark a delimited field, but actively produce subjects and conditions?

Topics might include     

  • labour and surveillance in the “oversharing” economy
  • dataveillance and new subject formations in online spaces
  • feminist generations and shifting norms of the public/ private divide
  • intimate somatechnics
  • sexual violence, the law and the right to privacy
  • coming out: strategies against shame and isolation
  • new frontiers of violation: at the limits of governmentality and embodiment
  • sex and sexualities
  • performing intimacy in public spaces
  • border crossings: IDs, identity and mobility
  • profiles and profiling: criminality, connection and correspondance
  • rethinking intimacy through transfeminisms
  • racial surveillance and resistance; “dark sousveillance” (Simone Browne)
  • self fashioning and technologies of circulation
  • the public feminist intellectual, harassment and the risks of exposure
  • techniques, technologies and tactics of surveillance
  • biometrics and embodiment

Participants may present proposals for both academic talks and non-traditional conference presentations. Submissions will be accepted in either English or French (though please note that the conference will only offer passive translation for those who need it). We particularly encourage graduate students and post-graduate scholars to apply, though submissions will also be accepted from faculty and non-academic participants.


Interested persons should submit a 250-word abstract including a title, a short bio and contact information to Alanna Thain, Director, Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, at by Wednesday, June 15 2016.

As the subject line of your email, please include your last name followed by: Terms of privacy Conference (eg: “Smith: Terms of Privacy Conference”). All abstracts must be submitted electronically, in PDF format.

Since 1997, The HTMlles has brought together artists, scholars, and activists passionate about critically engaging new technologies from a feminist perspective. The festival takes place biannually in Montreal, and its aim is to showcase cutting-edge projects produced by local and international artists. Each edition focuses on a specific theme and addresses urgent socio-political questions by pushing the boundaries of artistic and feminist practices.

The HTMlles is produced by Studio XX, a bilingual, feminist artist-run centre for technological exploration, creation, and critique, founded in 1996.