B.S., Università degli Studi di Firenze; M.A., University of Notre Dame; Ph.D., University of Southern California
Zoom Café Hours (by appointment): Tuesday, 3:30-4:30 pm Thursday 11:30-12:30
Catia ConfortiniProfessor of Peace and Justice Studies
Scholar and activist around issues of peace and gender.
I am a Feminist International Relations scholar-activist. My scholarship and training are interdisciplinary and broadly inscribed in the humanistic social sciences, with graduate degrees in International Peace Studies (MA) and International Relations (PhD). My research pays attention to the intersection between theory production and political practice, in particular women’s and feminist activism and advocacy around peace and social justice issues. I draw from a vast tradition of feminist research that takes activists seriously as theorists. This has allowed me to rethink and reshape the subjects, methodologies and foundational questions of the fields of Peace Studies and International Relations (IR).
I write and publish on the history of feminist international thought and feminist organizing, particularly about the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). This is the main subject of my book entitled Intelligent Compassion: Feminist Critical Methodology in the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (New York: Oxford UP, 2012) as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters.
Second, my individual historical research and the collaborations developed through the Feminist Peace Research Network have led me to contemporary forms of feminist peace thinking and action, including feminist engagements with the UN Women, Peace, and Security Agenda and feminist peace theories. Besides several co authored peer reviewed articles and book chapters, the primary result of this engagement has been the co-edited (with Tarja Väyrynen, Swati Parashar, and Élise Féron) Handbook of Feminist Peace Research (New York: Routledge, 2021).
More recently, I have expanded my interests toward the exploration of intersections between feminist peace research and global health. This resulted first in a 2015 article co-authored with one of my Wellesley students and published in Health, Policy and Planning. I have also co-edited with Tiina Vaittinent a volume entitled Gender, Global Health and Violence: Feminist Perspectives on Peace and Disease (London: Rowman and Littlefield International, 2020).
Both edited volumes were completed thanks to the support of the Fulbright Finland Foundation, which enabled me to spend a sabbatical semester at the Tampere Peace Research Institute (TAPRI), Tampere University, Finland between July 2019 and January 2020.
Besides my academic work, I have been involved in peace and justice activism and advocacy at the local and international levels. In the past, I have been: a counselor/advocate for a domestic violence shelter in Long Beach, California; an intern with the Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, where I ran women’s human rights workshops and helped write and translate the Centro’s reports; an educator and fundraiser for international peace organizations; a community organizer and political advocate for California legislative initiatives, such as the reform of the California Three Strikes Law, a death penalty moratorium, and opposition to a California constitutional amendment precluding marriage rights to same sex couples. In the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), I served as US Representative to the International Board and member of the US Section from 2011 to 2014, and as International Vice President from 2015 to 2018. I am currently the convener of WILPF’s Standing Personnel Committee and President of the Board of WILPF UNO, Inc.