Maternal Gift Economy: Breaking Through -
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Salon #15 - June 19, 2021

Endless Economic Colonisation or Return to the Maternal Gift

June 19, 2021

Mary Condren (Ireland) and Genevieve Vaughan (USA/Italy)

Mary Condren

Presentation title: Gendering colonisation: the effects on bodies, minds and souls

Gendered imagery pervades the records and discourses of colonisation. Yet the many forms of the theological, physical and symbolic violence inherent in colonisation are seldom analysed. This session aims to outline the tactics and gendered underpinnings of the European drive for political, theological and economic dominance and the unmitigated and unchallenged greed underlying the sacrificial social contract of patriarchal capitalism.

Mary Condren, Th.D is director of Woman Spirit Ireland and a Research Fellow at the Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies in the School of Histories and Humanities at Trinity College Dublin. Her critical work concerns the role of violence and the discourses of sacrifice in contemporary politics. Her constructive work focusses on recuperating the indigenous female traditions of Old Europe in Ireland.

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Genevieve Vaughan

Presentation title: Colonisation as the plunder of gifts

There is a psycho social mechanism that is driving us toward rapacious behavior without our knowledge. Infants are raised in a maternal gift economy with a logic that creates community and positive growth for all. The opposite logic of quid pro quo exchange, which seems benign and unremarkable, actually warps our original gifting ways, and combined with motivations of patriarchal power-over, creates a mechanism that exploits the maternal gift giving way and plunders the means of life for the many, It disguises itself as normal according to the ego oriented logic of the lie and it exists at many levels, the individual, the family, the nation, the race. Colonialism is the use of the mechanism of commodity exchange by nations to plunder gifts internationally, backed by military might.

Genevieve Vaughan (b.1939) is an independent researcher who lives part time in Italy and part in Texas. She created the multicultural all-woman activist Foundation for a Compassionate Society (1987-2005) and the Temple of Sekhmet in the Nevada desert (1992 – ongoing) and she co-created the network: International Feminists for a Gift Economy (2001 – ongoing). Her books are For-Giving, a Feminist Criticism of Exchange (1997), Homo Donans (2006) and The Gift in the Heart of Language: the Maternal Source of Meaning (2015). She has edited Il Dono/The Gift (2004), Women and the Gift Economy (2007) and The Maternal Roots of the Gift Economy (2019). A volume of the Canadian Women’s Studies Journal dedicated to the maternal gift economy has just appeared (2020).

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