Meet the Committee 2019/20

 

AnnaAnna-Viktoria Vittinghoff grew up in Germany and Hungary and moved to Edinburgh in 2016 to do her MSc in East Asian Studies at the University of Edinburgh. After graduating last summer, she started her PhD in Japanese Studies at the same university. Her research is focusing on Japanese radical feminist and disabled rights activist Yonezu Tomoko and her role within the women’s liberation movement of the 1970s. When not studying in the library or drinking coffee in George Square complaining about Japanese primary sources, Anna enjoys playing Gaelic Football with Edinburgh’s local club Dunedin Connollys, analogue photography, live music and re-watching the Office and Veep.

 

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Beth Wallace is a PhD student at the University of Aberdeen. She graduated from Aberdeen with an MA in Politics and International Relations and went on to obtain an MSc in International Relations and International Law from the same university in 2015. Having escaped the obscure world of academia for a year or so, she found herself crawling back to the Granite City and to the [mostly] enjoyable life of a PhD. Her thesis explores the gender-related issues within the UK asylum system. In her little spare time, she can be found with her nose in a book, missing her cat, attempting to cook and, most likely, talking about feminism with [to] anyone who listens.

 

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Emilia Belknap is a PhD Candidate in Politics at the University of Edinburgh. Emilia graduated from the University of Manchester with her MA in Politics: International Relations. While conducting qualitative research for her MA Thesis ‘Escape to Exploitation: The Sex Trafficking of North Korean Female Migrants and China’s Interstate Relations,’ Emilia developed a keen academic interest in gender and international politics. Her doctoral research currently investigates gender differences in preferences towards constitutional change using Scotland as a case study. Emilia enjoys laughing with friends, dancing unapologetically, and scrolling through her ASOS Saved List.

 

IMG_4976 (1)Laura Shaw is a PhD student at the University of Glasgow. Originally from Edinburgh, she graduated from the University of Stirling with a BA (Hons) in Social Policy and Sociology in 2017 and an MSc in Applied Social Research the following year, having written both dissertations on women’s experiences in Scottish politics. Her PhD research is an extension of this fascination, focusing on women’s leadership within the Scottish Parliament since devolution. She enjoys walking her cocker spaniel Ciara, particularly in the Scottish Highlands, going to the gym and watching/listening/reading anything to do with true crime (especially serial killers). You can find her at twitter.com/@Laura_Shaw1.

 

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Sophie Duncan-Shepherd is a PhD student at the University of Strathclyde. She graduated from Strathclyde in 2018 with an MSc in International Marketing and gained a BA in Tourism from Abertay University in 2007. In the ten years between degrees, she worked in higher education fundraising and dreamed of doing a PhD. She’s s sociologist in disguise, hiding in a business school. When she’s not adding to her ever-increasing reading list, she can be found trying to go to the gym more often, walking her dog Basil or faffing about with her bullet journal.

 

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Huzan Bharucha is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh. She moved to Scotland from India in 2013 to pursue an MA (Hons) in English Literature, followed by an MSc in Book History and Material Culture. Her PhD explores the influence of the New Woman movement in the writings of Agatha Christie. When not holed up at the NLS, Huzan enjoys dabbling in handicrafts, reading fanfiction, cooking, and re-watching copious amounts of The Golden Girls and Call the Midwife with her cat, Trixie.

 

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Anna McEwan is a first year PhD student at the University of Glasgow, she is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Scottish Graduate School. Anna is a gender historian of the East German Democratic Republic (GDR); her research specifically considers gendered citizenship and the relationship between Communist regimes social welfare systems and women’s political loyalty to these regimes. Anna is preparing her PhD which focuses on the relationship between gendered citizenship and social care provision in East Germany between 1970 and 1990. Anna has undertaken several academic endeavours including co-founding the postgraduate journal, ‘Engendering the Past’ and working as Social Media Officer for the Leverhulme funded ‘Translating Feminism’ project. Most recently, Anna presented her Masters research at the University of Oxford as part of the ‘Thanks for Typing’ conference which is being prepared for a book chapter. Outside of the archives and the library, Anna enjoys travelling, gigs, cooking, spending time with her twin and re-watching Friends on repeat.

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UPDATE** Intersections Conference Programme

INTERSECTIONS

 

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Investigating Gender Through an Interdisciplinary Approach

PGRNS Annual Conference

5th June 2019

2.12 Appleton Tower, University of Edinburgh

 

10:00 – 10:20     Teas and Coffees

10:20 – 10:30     Welcome: PGRNS committee

10.30 – 11.50     Session 1: Gender and Violence

Chair: Leah McCabe, University of Edinburgh

Casey L. Bevens, University of Edinburgh, ‘Men’s Sexual Aggression Against Women: Development of an Online Intrusive Behavior Paradigm’

Clare McKeown, University of Stirling, ‘Representing men’s violence against women’

Julia Zauner, Glasgow Caledonian University, ‘The continuum of symbolic violence: When Sexting Education neglects Image-Based Abuse, Dismisses Perpetrators’ Responsibility, and Violates Rights to Sexual Intimacy’.

 

11.50 – 12.00       Comfort Break

 

12.00 – 13.20       Session 2: Art, Literature, Culture, Media and Gender

Chair: Anna-Viktoria Vittinghoff, University of Edinburgh

Rebecca Elton, University of Leeds, ‘Mother of Dragons: Motherhood and the Subversion of Patriarchy in A Song of Ice and Fire (1997-)’

Helena Roots, University of Napier, ‘Watchfulness, Widows, and Womanhood: Gendered Trauma and Performative Grief in the Writing of Lorna Moon and Willa Muir’

Lauren Kilbane, University of Aberdeen, ‘O woe is me!’: Female Remembrance and Mourning in Early Modern England

 

13.20-14.00       Lunch

 

14.00-14.30       Keynote: Dr Radhika Govinda, Sociology, University                              of Edinburgh ‘Interrogating Intersectionality and Feminist   Knowledge Production

 

14.30-14.40       Comfort Break

 

14.40 – 15.40       Session 3: History and Gender                      

Chair: Beth Wallace, University of Aberdeen

Anna McEwan, University of Glasgow, ‘The life of Irma Thälmann and the myth of Ernst Thälmann: a case study into the effect of concentration camp detainment on Communist women’s access to power in the GDR’

Mairi Hamilton, University of Glasgow, ‘Lived Experience of Abusive Behaviour in the Nineteenth-Century Scottish Household’

 

15.40 – 15.50       Comfort Break

 

15.50 -17.10       Session 4: Gender, Law, Marketing and Consumerism

Chair: Rebecca Smyth, University of Edinburgh

Alice Krzanich, University of Edinburgh, ‘Looking at the Law: Female Domestic Servants in Scotland c 1790 – c 1850’

Zhouda Zhan, University of Edinburgh, ‘How to improve gender equality through global trade governance mechanism:what has been done and what could be better?’

Sophie Duncan Shepherd, University of Strathclyde, ‘Trans-cending Vulnerability: Exploring the experiences of gender non-conforming consumers’

 

17.10       Closing and to Spoons!

INTERSECTIONS: Investigating Gender Through an Interdisciplinary Approach 2019 Conference Programme

 

;

INTERSECTIONS

Investigating Gender Through an Interdisciplinary Approach

PGRNS Annual Conference

5th June 2019

2.12 Appleton Tower, University of Edinburgh


 

10:00 – 10:20         Teas and Coffees

 


 

10:20 – 10:30          Welcome: PGRNS committee

 


 

10.30 – 11.50          Session 1: Gender and Violence

Chair: Leah McCabe, University of Edinburgh

Casey L. Bevens, University of Edinburgh, ‘Men’s Sexual Aggression Against Women: Development of an Online Intrusive Behavior Paradigm’

Clare McKeown, University of Stirling, ‘Representing men’s violence against women’

Julia Zauner, Glasgow Caledonian University, ‘The continuum of symbolic violence: When Sexting Education neglects Image-Based Abuse, Dismisses Perpetrators’ Responsibility, and Violates Rights to Sexual Intimacy’.


 

11.50 – 12.00           Comfort Break

 


 

12.00 – 13.20           Session 2: Art, Literature, Culture, Media and Gender

Chair: Anna-Viktoria Vittinghoff, University of Edinburgh

Rebecca Elton, University of Leeds, ‘Mother of Dragons: Motherhood and the Subversion of Patriarchy in A Song of Ice and Fire (1997-)’

Helena Roots, University of Napier, ‘Watchfulness, Widows, and Womanhood: Gendered Trauma and Performative Grief in the Writing of Lorna Moon and Willa Muir’

Lauren Kilbane, University of Aberdeen, ‘O woe is me!’: Female Remembrance and Mourning in Early Modern England


 

13.20-14.00            Lunch*

 


 

14.00-14.30           Keynote: Dr Radhika Govinda, Sociology, University of Edinburgh                                                  


 

14.30-14.40            Comfort Break

 


 

14.40 – 16.00           Session 3: Gender, Law, Marketing and Consumerism

Chair: Rebecca Smyth, University of Edinburgh

Alice Krzanich, University of Edinburgh, ‘Looking at the Law: Female Domestic Servants in Scotland c 1790 – c 1850’

Zhouda Zhan, University of Edinburgh, ‘How to improve gender equality through global trade governance mechanism: what has been done and what could be better?’

Sophie Duncan Shepherd, University of Strathclyde, ‘Trans-cending Vulnerability: Exploring the experiences of gender non-conforming consumers’

 


 

16.00 – 16.10           Comfort Break

 


 

16.10 -17.10            Session 4: History and Gender

Chair: Beth Wallace, University of Aberdeen

Anna McEwan, University of Glasgow, ‘The life of Irma Thälmann and the myth of Ernst Thälmann: a case study into the effect of concentration camp detainment on Communist women’s access to power in the GDR’

Mairi Hamilton, University of Glasgow, ‘Lived Experience of Abusive Behaviour in the Nineteenth-Century Scottish Household’


 

17.10                      Closing and to Spoons!

 


*Lunch is not provided

‘INTERSECTIONS: Investigating Gender Through an Interdisciplinary Approach’ Paper Presenter Abstracts

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We are currently organising our third annual conference, INTERSECTIONS: Investigating Gender Through an Interdisciplinary Approach, which will showcase postgraduate students’ research on gender at Scottish institutions (with one presenter from an English institution!). This year’s conference is hosted at the University of Edinburgh (home to three of the committee members) and the conference theme is very timely as 2019 marks thirty-years since Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the term ‘intersectionality’. 

We are very excited to hear about all of our presenters’ research and thought we would share the fantastic and interesting abstracts with our followers! We will also share the conference programme closer to the event.


INTERSECTIONS: Investigating Gender Through an Interdisciplinary Approach

3rd PGRNS Annual Conference

5th June 2019

Appleton Tower, University of Edinburgh


Casey L. Bevens, University of Edinburgh ‘Men’s Sexual Aggression Against Women: Development of an Online Intrusive Behavior Paradigm’

Sexual Aggression, a term used here inclusively to indicate a continuum of manifestations of unwanted sexual attention and behaviors, covering all acts of unwanted sexual contact from sexual harassment up to and including rape, is an ongoing global problem that disproportionately effects women and girls (Garcia-Moreno et al, 2006; Smith et al., 2017). The present work focuses on male sexual aggression perpetrated by men against women. Sexual aggression is a complex phenomenon, with no unifying theoretical model dominating the field of study (Gannon, Collie, Ward, & Thakker, 2008; Ward & Hudson, 1998). Models that exist tend to fall into several categories, including taxonomies (e.g. Groth et al., 1977; Knight & Prentkey, 1990; Seghorn & Cohen, 1980), micro/rehabilitation theories (e.g. Pithers, 1990; Ward & Hudson, 1998; Polaschek & Hudson, 2004), single factor theories (e.g. psychodynamic, feminist, evolutionary, social-cognitive), and multi-factor theories (e.g. Hall & Hirschman, 1991; Malamuth, 1996; Marshall & Barbaree; 1990; Marshall & Marshall, 2000; Ward & Beech, 2005; Ward & Polaschek, 2006). Due in part to this conceptual complexity and in part to the need for major ethical consideration in creating approaches, attempts at measurement of this construct to date tend to be extremely-somewhat removed from ecological validity. These have largely included self-reports (ASAI- Malamuth, 1989; LSH- Pryor, 1987; ASBI- Mosher & Anderson, 1986; SES- Koss, Gidycz, & Wisniewski, 1987), although some behavioral (e.g. Interpersonal touching paradigm- Pryor, 1987; Rape behavior analogue- Rudman & Mescher, 2012) and physiological (Penile circumference- Abel, Becker, Blanchard, & Djenderedjian, 1978; Earls & Proulx, 1986) measures exist as well. As all of these existing measures have minor and/or major problems, I have developed a behavioral measure, termed the Intrusive Behavior Paradigm (based in part on Diehl, Rees, & Bohner, 2012; Siebler, Sabelus, & Bohner, 2008), which uses Facebook and Facebook messenger as an ecologically valid alternative. This has proven to correlate well with existing measures. Implications will be discussed.

Presenter Biography

Casey L. Bevens is a third year PhD student in social psychology at the University of Edinburgh, working under the supervision of Dr. Steve Loughnan. She comes originally from the U.S., and completed her undergraduate degree at Berry College in Rome, Georgia, and her master’s degree at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in Lafayette, Louisiana. Her primary area of research is dehumanization and objectification. Her work to date has explored both self-objectification and objectification of others, and she is particularly interested in real-world consequences that disproportionately affect women, including sexual aggression as well as other less overt aggression and violence. Casey enjoys doing psychology research that is ecologically valid, and as a result has been drawn to looking into effects related to online contexts and environments both in her PhD work and side projects. Casey also enjoys her present teaching roles and is a former committee member of PGRNS


Sophie Duncan Shepherd, University of Strathclyde, ‘Trans-cending Vulnerability: Exploring the experiences of gender non-conforming consumers’.

This study focuses on transgender issues within the context of the marketplace. Several global brands, including Magnum and H&M, have included transgender and gender non-conforming people in their advertising. On the one hand, these campaigns may be seen as supporting the destigmatisation of transgender people but, on the other hand, increased visibility brings with it increased risk and evidence suggests that the socio-political environment in which transgender consumers must interact with the marketplace is becoming ever more hostile (McKeage, Crosby and Rittenburg, 2017). As a result, transgender consumers are prone to consumer vulnerability.

Although a strict gender binary is deeply embedded in UK society, little research has been conducted to discover how trans and non-binary people are affected. In marketing and consumer research, gender has been investigated as a variable in consumer behaviour, reflecting the discipline’s roots in behaviourism (Hearn and Hein, 2015). This study builds on this perspective by exploring transgender consumer experiences through the lens of Consumer Culture Theory.

The Consumer Culture Theory (CCT) paradigm, which grew out of a dissatisfaction with existing conceptualisations of consumption as a process of acquiring, using and disposing of a product or service. Within CCT, there is space for feminist perspectives, taking a critical view of gender as a fluid cultural and social category (Arsel, Eräranta and Moisander, 2015). This interpretive study, which is still at an early stage, looks to critically investigate gender nonconformity and vulnerability, taking insight from feminist, queer and intersectional approaches. Using netnography to investigate consumption online and conducting interviews with trans and non-binary consumers will provide rich, in-depth data. It will be important for this study to include a range of perspectives, as trans and non-binary identities are not homogenous. Significant findings would include instances of empowerment and adaption in an adverse marketplace, however predicting results is difficult as this study is based on lived experiences.

References

Arsel, Z., Eräranta, K. and Moisander, J. (2015) ‘Introduction: theorising gender and gendering theory in marketing and consumer research’, Journal of Marketing Management, 31(15–16), pp. 1553–1558. doi: 10.1080/0267257X.2015.1078396.

Baker, S. M., Gentry, J. W. and Rittenburg, T. L. (2005) ‘Building Understanding of the Domain of Consumer Vulnerability’, Journal of Macromarketing, 25(2), pp. 128–139. doi: 10.1177/0276146705280622.

Hearn, J. and Hein, W. (2015) ‘Reframing gender and feminist knowledge construction in marketing and consumer research: missing feminisms and the case of men and masculinities’, Journal of Marketing Management, 31(15–16), pp. 1626–1651. doi: 10.1080/0267257X.2015.1068835.

McKeage, K., Crosby, E. and Rittenburg, T. (2017) ‘Living in a Gender-Binary World: Implications for a Revised Model of Consumer Vulnerability’, Journal of Macromarketing, p. 027614671772396. doi: 10.1177/0276146717723963.

Presenter Biography

I am a first year PhD researcher in the Department of Marketing at the University of Strathclyde.  My areas of research interest are consumer culture theory, consumer vulnerability and stigma, and gender and LGBT lived experiences in the marketplace. My thesis will look at experiences of trans and non-binary consumers, their feelings of vulnerability and empowerment, and the impacts of different conceptualisations of gender. I am a longstanding supporter of the LGBT community and have written about how my experiences have encouraged me to pursue gender research in my field.

Prior to undertaking doctoral research, I worked in higher education fundraising for ten years at the University of St Andrews, the University of Aberdeen Development Trust and the University of Dundee. During this time, I was part of a team working towards a £100m campaign target, and alongside a senior colleague was responsible for raising over £1m in 2013. Working with students was my favourite aspect of my fundraising career, and now I’m enjoying being on the other side!


Rebecca Elton, University of Leeds, ‘Mother of Dragons: Motherhood and the Subversion of Patriarchy in A Song of Ice and Fire (1996-)’

Whilst contemporary feminists often emphasise the need to value motherhood as a female and feminine experience, influential theorists from Beauvoir to Butler have in some capacity described motherhood as a gendered institution diminishing possibilities of enfranchisement for women. Essentialist perspectives dominant in Western society posit women as naturally suited to childcare given their centrality in reproduction. These perspectives restrict women’s opportunities and emphasise unattainable standards of maternal conduct. Equally, the maternal body is seen as ‘abject’, unnerving for its innate creative capacity and liminality, existing at ‘the threshold of existence’, thus seeming ‘both sacred and soiled, holy and hellish’ (Braidotti, 2011: 227).

Meanwhile, ‘mother of dragons’ is now a ubiquitous phrase in popular culture, and Daenerys Targaryen a central figure in popular culture through the success of A Song of Ice and Fire (1996-) and its HBO television adaptation, Game of Thrones (2011-2019). Whilst critics of the series frequently address concerns of gender within the series, Daenerys’s relationship with motherhood is little explored. That a mother should be such a central and powerful figure in a fantasy series is subversive in itself, given the frequent absence of mothers in fantasy, as well as the powerlessness associated with motherhood in Western society. Yet how might Daenerys further subvert expectations of motherhood?

This presentation will examine portrayals of motherhood in A Song of Ice and Fire (1996-) by George R.R. Martin, with a focus on popular culture icon, Daenerys Targaryen. It will use gender and feminist theory to explore Daenerys’s maternal experience, arguing that motherhood can be interpreted within Martin’s series as a force to potentially destroy patriarchy rather than uphold its values. The presentation explores Daenerys’s status as ‘mother of dragons’ as representative of the abjection of motherhood, but equally of the potential power latent in mothers to destroy patriarchy.

References 

Braidotti, Rosi, 2011. Nomadic Subjects: Embodiment and Sexual Difference in Contemporary Feminist Theory. New York: Columbia University Press.

Presenter Biography

Rebecca Elton is a PhD student in modern languages at the University of Leeds. Her research examines masculinities in post World War Two French and British children’s literature in light of events that have challenged masculinity over the past century. These stretch from wartime trauma and second wave feminism, to contemporary men’s mental health campaigns, sexual abuse scandals and configurations of ‘toxic masculinity’. Her MA research examined female and feminine power in A Song of Ice and Fire (1996-) and the French historical fiction series that influenced it, Les Rois maudits (1955-77), with a focus on the themes of motherhood, sexuality and violence. Her research interests include comparative cultural studies, 20th and 21st century Anglophone and Francophone literature, popular culture, genre and gender.


Mairi Hamilton, University of Glasgow, ‘Lived Experience of Abusive Behaviour in the Nineteenth-Century Scottish Household’

A number of significant studies have historicised sexual violence in specific social and cultural contexts. Violence against women in the past has been considered as a feature of marital conflict, a judicial matter, a discursive motif, and a cause for reform. Where there is scope for further research that takes an alternative perspective from existing historiography concerns the lived experience of abused women. The historical record captures the speech and action of women who suffered habitual abuse at home. Examining this evidence may lead to a better understanding of sexual violence from the ‘victim’s’ perspective, advancing beyond a societal or cultural level. Traces of women’s visceral reactions to long-term patterns of abusive behaviour are opportunities to try to explicate the reality of the material and psychic impact of abuse on individuals in historical context. A gendered analytical approach recognises how the toll of abuse on women’s bodies, livelihoods and outlook shapes their social identities and their sense of self as women.

Examples of the various forms of abusive behaviour women faced are recorded in narrative accounts in historical cases of judicial separation on grounds of cruelty. The records of the Edinburgh Commissary Court describe in immense detail the abuse Scottish women experienced within the household and its impact during the early nineteenth century. This paper will present extracts from these court records that illustrate the sensory dimension of certain acts of abuse perpetrated against women and the emotional, corporeal responses they elicited.

Presenter Biography

Mairi Hamilton is currently a second-year PhD student in the Centre for Gender History at the University of Glasgow. Her thesis examines narratives of women’s experiences of abuse within domestic settings in nineteenth-century Scotland. This research project is funded by the AHRC through the Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities (SGSAH) and is supervised by Professor Lynn Abrams and Professor Alex Shepard. She has a MSc in Gender History and a MA with First Class Honours in History from the University of Glasgow. Mairi is the current convenor of the Hufton Postgraduate Reading Group at Glasgow, which brings together postgraduate students to discuss gender in history on a monthly basis, and is a member of the Steering Committee of Women’s History Scotland. Her research interests include the history of everyday gender relations and sexual violence, exploring issues concerning subjectivity, the self and the body from a feminist perspective.


Lauren Kilbane, University of Aberdeen, ‘‘O woe is me!’: Female Remembrance and Mourning in Early Modern England’.

In the twenty-first century, when considering previous research surrounding the theme of gender and mourning, one typically encounters several conflicting arguments. Previous scholars have argued that attitudes towards gender roles in Early Modern England were static and women remained subject exclusively to patriarchal law. However, recent developments in manuscript culture and drama studies have unearthed a somewhat different view.

This paper examines the relationship between gender roles and attitudes to death and mourning in Early Modern England. By examining the relationship gender, religion and death played in the Early Modern era, I highlight the ways and methods in which women used their role in society to their own advantage. Juxtaposing previous critical study on the subject with 21st-century interpretations of Early Modern gender roles, I offer an insight into the extent of Early Modern women’s flexibility within their societal position. Gender, in this instance, was not a limiting factor in these women’s lives; rather, it allowed them to manipulate the society around them to their own advantage.

In examining previous research surrounding gender and religion in the Early modern era, this paper challenges the stereotypes that women were submissive to patriarchal influences, and were viewed as meek and without influence in Renaissance society. It instead allowed for the development of their own cultural space, an exploration of their own creativity, and an opportunity to become agents of remembrance and mourning in their own right. In doing so, Early Modern women not only had a voice, but they were not afraid to use it in order to explore their own sense of self. (262 words)

Presenter Biography

Lauren Kilbane is a first year English Literature PhD student at the University of Aberdeen. She obtained both her Undergraduate and Masters degrees at the same university, before deciding to remain within the English department for her doctoral research. As a recipient of the Ledingham Trust PhD studentship in English, Lauren has been able to develop her continuing research interest in the interactions between gender, drama and the religio-political transformations of the Renaissance era.

In particular, she is focussing on the gender roles that women play in Early Modern drama when confronted with death, and how changes to attitudes in mourning influence the performative roles they play. Whilst her research is still in its early phases, Lauren is keen to explore the extent to which societal attitudes to grief throughout the transition of the English Reformation were open to more change than previously theorised. At the moment, she is very interested in epitaphs, and the history of early modern emotions.

Lauren currently lives in Aberdeen with her many cacti and an ever-growing book collection, and is contemplating adopting a cat or dog to complete the set. (186 words)


Alice Krzanich, University of Edinburgh ‘Looking at the Law: Female Domestic Servants in Scotland c 1790 – c 1850’                                                                                   

This paper explores the author’s work to date on an untapped topic in Scotland’s legal history: historical master-servant law as it applied to female domestic servants in the period c 1790 – c 1850 in Scotland. During this period, many women worked as servants in the households of other people. The law regulated this work, providing the terms on which a person could enter service; the obligations he or she owed to their master and/or mistress; and the terms on which they could leave service. The author hopes to explore the way this law treated female servants (in both substantive legal doctrine and in its application), using gender as a tool of analysis. This research is therefore an exercise in women’s legal history, a highly interdisciplinary field that draws upon social history, the study of law and gender, and women’s history to understand the relationship between women and the law from a historical perspective.

As the author is a first-year PhD student, this paper will summarise some of the key matters informing her research so far. These include the research questions driving her analysis of the law, as well as the proposed resources and methodology she will use to conduct the study. The paper will also address the context of this research and how it fits within the broader research field. Tentative commentary on the significance and originality of this research will also be given. Throughout, the author will be motivated by the view that as many women (and men) in Scotland’s past have been servants, it is only fitting that the law regulating service is given due weight and analysis.

Presenter Biography

Alice Krzanich is a first-year PhD student in Law at the University of Edinburgh. Her thesis is provisionally titled: “Female domestic servants in early industrial Scotland: legal principles of the master-servant relationship as they applied to women in the period c 1790 – c 1850”. Alice’s research is situated within the developing field of women’s legal history and reflects her interests in law and gender; law and economics; and the history of law. She has an interdisciplinary supervisory team consisting of Professor Laura Macgregor (Law), Dr Chloë Kennedy (Law) and Professor Louise Jackson (History). Alice holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from the University of Auckland, NZ, alongside a Bachelor of Arts majoring in History from the same institution. She worked for a number of years in law before returning to university in 2017 to complete a Master of Law (First Class) at the University of Cambridge.


Anna McEwan, University of Glasgow, The life of Irma Thälmann and the myth of Ernst Thälmann: a case study into the effect of concentration camp detainment on Communist women’s access to power in the GDR’.

My presentation is based on my Gender History Master’s thesis which considered how concentration camp detainment affected communist women’s access to political power in the East German Democratic Republic (GDR) between 1945 and 1974. In my thesis I argued that gendered family relationships were a significant contributor to former female political prisoners’ accessing political power in the GDR. Using uninvestigated archival and published material, I reveal the way in which Irma Thälmann’s political career was symbolic of the lack of power former female political prisoners held in the GDR. Thälmann did not commemorate her own experiences as a resistance fighter, particularly her time incarcerated. Instead she devoted her life to her father, the fallen leader of the German Communist Party (KPD), Ernst Thälmann’s, memory. I argue her actions were deliberate as the male political prisoner’s narrative was defined by the GDR as the struggle that led to its creation. I claim that Thälmann understood the GDR’s gendered social order and accordingly negotiated her power. As the child of the fallen leader, Thälmann held a position in the GDR’s youth organisations alongside receiving a sizeable pension as a persecuted person of the Nazi regime with special fighter status. The Socialist Unity Party (SED) placed upmost importance in educating the youth in the Ernst Thälmann myth as it was central in the founding story of their republic. I argue as Thälmann could not rely on her own detainment experiences to secure her place in the political elite, she relied on her father’s, which played a major role in the SED’s indoctrination of the youth.

Presenter Biography

Anna McEwan is an AHRC/SGSAH funded PhD student at the University of Glasgow. Anna graduated from the University of Dundee in MA History with German in 2017 and graduated from the University of Glasgow in MSc Gender History in November 2018. Anna’s undergraduate dissertation considered gender politics in the German Communist party during the Weimar Republic focussing on two leading Communist women; Clara Zetkin and Ruth Fischer. Her research interests include women in Communist regimes generally, women and detainment and women’s roles in the political and social care system in the East German Democratic Republic. Anna’s Masters dissertation investigated the effect of detainment on the politics of Communist women in the GDR; the study focussed on female concentration camp detainment commemoration in the GDR, detainment’s effect on mother-daughter relationships and detainment’s connection to women’s access to political power in the Communist regime. Anna has undertaken several academic endeavours including co-founding the postgraduate journal, ‘Engendering the Past’ and working as Social Media Officer for the Leverhulme funded ‘Translating Feminism’ project. Most recently, Anna presented her Masters research at the University of Oxford as part of the ‘Thanks for Typing’ conference. Currently, Anna is preparing her PhD which focusses on the relationship between gendered citizenship and social care provision in the GDR between 1970 and 1990.


Clare McKeown, University of Stirling, ‘Representing men’s violence against women’.

In 1992, the original Zero Tolerance (ZT) Prevalence campaign to address men’s violence against women and girls (MVAW) launched in Scotland. The ground-breaking feminist public communications campaign used thoughtful representations of women’s bodies to facilitate political activism.

Prevalence represented MVAW – e.g. sexual abuse, rape, and domestic abuse – in nuanced ways that represented the reality that MVAW may not be explicitly physical or immediately visible on the body. Furthermore, the domestic “middle-class” staging of the images, as well as the choice of models, reveals an intersectional lens which challenged popular misconceptions that only certain “types” of women experienced male violence.

The campaign featured arresting images of women by feminist photographer Franki Raffles that deliberately did not show their bodies being actively brutalised or sexualised. The images do not reinforce norms of feminine objectification by rendering the subjects as objects of either lust or pity; nor do they resort to over-simplifying visual tropes, such as black eyes and raised fists. It was the interaction with the accompanying dissonant text that gave the images their impact (e.g. a picture of an elderly woman reading to a child with the text: “From 3 to 93, women are raped”).

Building on the original campaign’s success, Zero Tolerance became a Scottish charity and continues campaigning against MVAW to this day. The spirit of the original ZT campaign would infuse later campaigns such as (No) Excuses (1994/1995), Justice (1997), Respect (2001), and Violence Unseen (2018). Violence Unseen, in particular, addresses intersectional concerns about erasure: it depicts other kinds of often “unseen” violence (including FGM and online abuse) and often “unseen” women (such as trans women and disabled women).

This paper will argue that ZT provides a powerful illustration of how radical organisations and artists can responsibly represent the complexities of men’s violence against women.

Presenter Biography

I am a 2nd year SGSAH / AHRC-funded PhD researcher working across the Universities of Stirling and Strathclyde. My PhD is on the role that Western beauty norms have in the conception and delivery of Scottish anti-men’s violence against women (MVAW) campaigns.

I am primarily based in the Communication, Media and Culture department at the University of Stirling, but my work is informed by a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives from the humanities and social sciences. As a feminist academic, I believe research is an important tool in building a more just world.

After completing my MA in English Literature from Arcadia University in the USA and my MSc in Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh, I worked and volunteered in the Scottish charitable sector for nine years. I currently volunteer as a board member for a local domestic abuse support service.

My research interests include:

  • Feminist theory and gender studies
  • Men’s violence against women (MVAW)
  • Media studies and public relations
  • Visual and narrative representations of women generally and MVAW specifically
  • Discourses around and perceptions of “beauty”
  • Public education, awareness, and fundraising campaigns

Helena Roots, Edinburgh Napier University, ‘Watchfulness, Widows, and Womanhood: Gendered Trauma and Performative Grief in the Writing of Lorna Moon and Willa Muir’

My paper will examine the intersections between gendered domestic trauma, and watchful communities in interwar Scottish women’s writing, particularly in terms of performative grief and idealised widowhood. This paper will predominantly focus on Lorna Moon’s collection of short stories Doorways in Drumorty and Willa Muir’s two published novels Mrs. Ritchie and Imagined Corners, alongside archival items such as unpublished letters and diary entries. Their work will be considered within the specific context of watchful communities, and performative female trauma.

My work argues that the ever-present threat of being watched leads to complicit behaviour wherein women in particular perform in a certain way to ensure that they adhere to community determined regulations and therefore avoid negative scrutiny. There is also friction between what is believed to be consensual, mutual and supportive watchfulness and harmful surveillance. Furthermore, as a direct result of subversive public behaviour women are at risk of displacement from their communities and subject to either ridicule or complete rejection. This is seen in varying degrees in the work of Moon and Muir; in Moon’s ‘The Corp, for example, performative grief is explicitly satirised as a competitive act which impacts the performer’s future role in society. Moon also presents a powerful portrait of life for a physically handicapped woman in rural Scotland, with the protagonist’s PTSD and seclusion from society centred. Muir’s Mrs. Ritchie exposes the ‘sham’ of performative grief and widowhood, but Imagined Corners subverts the role of the widow to instead highlight post-wifehood opportunities. This paper will therefore explore the multi-faceted representations of gendered trauma and grief, and how these are both directly related to intrusive and watchful communities.

Presenter Biography

Helena Roots is studying part-time for her PhD at Edinburgh Napier University where she is researching early twentieth-century Scottish women’s writing and rural modernity in the writing of Willa Muir, Lorna Moon and Nan Shepherd. She also currently leads tutorials on two Undergraduate English Literature modules at Edinburgh Napier.


Julia Zauner, Glasgow Caledonian University,‘The continuum of symbolic violence: When Sexting Education neglects Image-Based Abuse, Dismisses Perpetrators’ Responsibility, and Violates Rights to Sexual Intimacy’.

This feminist case study critically analyses the discourses of three UK educational campaigns regarding sexting ‘dangers’ and adolescents when explicit images are shared without the consent of the person depicted. I will argue that current campaigns (re)produce symbolic violence through victim-blaming on three levels. Firstly, the seriousness of image-based abuse is vastly neglected through the penalisation of sexual expression of particularly young women. Focusing on sexting as a ‘key mistake’ young people can make fails to address that image-based abuse is still a form of abuse and diminishes the harm done to survivors. Secondly, the dominance of heteronormative depictions of female survivors and male perpetrators obfuscates abuse as an experience across all social groups. This neglects the importance of paying attention to class, race, and other gender/sexual identities. Thirdly, survivors are consistently held accountable for their own victimisation while perpetrators are excused for violating their partners trust and integrity. Survivors are responsible for adequately risk-assessing a situation before engaging in sexting and are penalised if they fail to do so. Yet, the perpetrator’s unawareness of consequences acts as an excuse. I will finish by discussing that by neutralising and denying responsibility, educational work dismisses 1) that image-based abuse is still as a form of gender-based violence and therefore, breaches the survivor’s rights to dignity and bodily/sexual autonomy, and 2) young people’s rights to explore sexuality – through digital means or not – in a safe environment.

Presenter Biography

Julia is a Phd researcher at Glasgow Caledonian University working on gender-based violence in the digital age (e.g. image-based abuse, digital harassment, virtual sexual aggression etc.) where she is also involved in the Justice Violence and Gender research group. She has previously researched on sexting education, sexism in videogames and comic books, and cyberbullying among young people. Julia is currently a board member of the Empower Project Scotland – an intersectional feminist membership organisation supporting communities to end tech abuse.


Zhouda (Darwin) Zhan, University of Edinburgh, ‘How to improve gender equality through global trade governance mechanism: what has been done and what could be better?’

It is well known that since the first industry revolution era, women’s role in social production is getting more and more important. In current 21st century, the development of industries even bring women’s role to a higher level in general, because more and more job positions welcome the women’s effort, and some of the positions fit women better than men, objectively. Ideally, the situation for women’s participation does gradually improve year by year. However, the general tendency cannot represent that the women’s work-relevant problems have expired. There are still many tough issues existed. In a globalisation era, global governance mechanisms can make effect through imposing pressures on the sovereignty states to undertake their international obligations, which will be an innovative and practical way to promote gender equality. This paper (presentation) will support this opinion by organising three parts logically. Part I is to introduce what the global governance mechanism is firstly, and assess its advantages and disadvantages in light of the ‘legal effect’, which it imposes on sovereignty states. After finding that the influence is conveyed by the pressure that can forces the Member States to undertake the international obligations, Part II will pick up some typical examples, such as the MERCOSUR system, the ECA agreement, the WTO system and so on, to assess the current achievements and shortcomings they have at present, respectively. The periodic finding will be that the gender relevant considerations have already (and will) played more and more important role in trade governance, therefore, Part III is to discuss how to response to the current calls under the current social background by presenting proposals.

Presenter Biography

Zhouda Zhan, also known as Darwin Zhan, is a current LLM Candidate in International Economic Law Programme, Edinburgh Law School. He holds a LLB degree and a BOE second degree granted by Beijing Normal University, Law School and Business School, respectively. During his undergraduate years in China, He once acted as the associate editor of a national-wide textbook, International Trade in Service, 3rd Edition (ISBN:9787303210831), and he also published a paper on social governance in one journal. After arriving Edinburgh, his academic interests focuses more on the global trade governance mechanism, especially the WTO law and China’s Belt and Road Initiative, as well as the trade and investment relevant issues in energy sector. His poster on the topic of Legal Protection on China State-owned Enterprise’s Oversea Investment was published in the 2018’s UK-China Doctoral Academic Forum, ‘A Dialogue to the Future’. He also does some research on the nexus areas between trade law and other subjects, including but not limited to, the trade-security nexus, energy trade issues, as well as trade and gender issues.

 

Gender and quantitative methods – The Romeo and Juliet of social sciences

Remember the story of Romeo and Juliet, the tragedy about two lovers who must hide their relationship due to their feuding families? Now replace Romeo and Juliet for gender and quantitative methods, and there you have my PhD research.

 

I have identified as a feminist since my teenage years and cannot stop seeing gender in most aspects of everyday life. As an undergraduate, inspiring scholars (shout-out to Dr Melanee Thomas and Professor Susan Franceschet at University of Calgary) introduced me to electoral behaviour and I took a liking to the subject. At the same time, Scotland was in the midst of its independence referendum campaign, with women being identified as less likely than men to support Scottish independence. I had found my research topic. It encapsulates the best of two worlds – gender and voting behaviour. But it also brings with it a fundamental challenge – researching gender with quantitative methods.

 

Gender and quantitative methods seems to many be a provocative combination. It has been, and continues to be, difficult for me to find ‘my people’ that also research gender with quantitative methods. I have more than once felt that my research is seen as not ‘feminist enough’ simply because of my methods chosen. When I meet fellow gender researchers, the majority is in the qualitative methods camp and I always sense the pressure to defend myself or even apologise for using quantitative methods. On the other hand, when I meet fellow electoral behaviour researchers, very few are interested in gender and seem to not want to treat it as more than an unnecessary evil in the form of a control variable.

 

Despite the challenges, researching gender with quantitative methods is highly rewarding. Like most interdisciplinary work, the seemingly odd combination of gender and constitutional preferences has forced me to become familiar with many different literatures. One day I am reading about edgework in sport psychology only to the next day explore sociological articles on ambiguous discourses of nationalism. Furthermore, I get to learn all these cool skills like coding and statistics, two fields that unfortunately are male-dominated and need more women. Most importantly, it gives me the tools to challenge previous quantitative work and demonstrate the gendered nature of such knowledge. I am currently looking at the difference between women’s and men’s Scottish constitutional preferences over time, which makes it possible to demonstrate that because gendered attitudes fluctuate they are not natural but affected by gendered norms and processes. For example, why women historically have been less likely to support Scottish independence has dominantly been explained through the idea that women are more risk averse. But because gender is not high on the quantitative agenda, such risk aversion has not been thoroughly investigated and thus assumed to be natural. However, by bringing gender into the quantitative mainstream, I can go further and ask why, whenand whichwomen are more risk averse. Thus, it is not the method that makes research feminist, it is how you use it.

 

In the future, I hope to see more feminist research explore the possibilities that come with quantitative methods. Perhaps more importantly, I hope to see more curiosity among all us scholars in different methods and disciplines than just our own ones. We cannot and should not all do the same research. Each research project is just one tiny piece of a much bigger puzzle. Different questions require different methods and it is powerful to have fellow feminist researchers in both methodology camps. The future looks bright and I do believe that my PhD story will have a happier ending than Romeo and Juliet.

Vik. photo

Viktoria Eriksson is a first-year ESRC PhD student in sociology at University of Aberdeen, where she also completed an MA in Politics and Sociology, and an Mres in Social Research. Her work focuses on gender and constitutional attitudes. When not in the office, Viktoria can be found enjoying the outdoors and/or drinking beer.

 

 

April bulletin

Hello hello hello!  It’s all go here at PGRNS towers, between marking, more marking, and adding the finishing touches to our conference.  The amazing Dr Radhika Govinda is going to be our keynote speaker, so if you haven’t sent us an abstract yet, perhaps getting to hear her speak will entice you to do so – it definitely should!  The deadline is the 26th of April at 5 pm for your 250-300 word abstract and 150-200 word biography.  Ah go on!

Another conference worth looking into is The Women’s History Scotland Conference ‘Gender Transgressions – Historical Perspectives’  The deadline is the 31st of July, so plenty of time yet.

That’s all for now – join us soon for more conference updates and a call for new committee members!  Yes, you too could be as cool as us!

Rebecca, on behalf of the rest of the PGRNS Committee who are sitting at home shaking their heads at the tone of this bulletin.

April Newsletter

WhatsApp Image 2019-04-03 at 15.03.59

>> PGRNS Intersections Conference, 5thJune 2019 <<

Upcoming Conferences

Rethinking Disruptive Sex from the 19th to the 21st Century, 15-16th April 2019

Human rights in a changing context: Annual PGR Conference, Durham, 9-10th May 2019

Race, Ethnicity, and Post-colonial Studies (REPS) PHD Symposium, Glasgow, 28th June 2019

3rd European Conference on Domestic Violence, Oslo, 1st-4th September 2019

Call for Contributions

Special Issue of Social Sciences Open Access Journal: “Gender and Identity”

Women, Gender, and Families of Colour

The Economic and Labour Relations Review

  • Deadline: rolling
  • Seeking submissions regarding low pay and wage theft
  • More information

Women Are Boring

  • Deadline: rolling
  • Blog featuring research carried out by women in all fields and all disciplines.
  • Word limit approximately 1,000-2,000
  • Intended for a general audience with informal style and minimal jargon
  • Submit to womenareboring@gmail.com
  • More information

The History Girls Scotland

  • Deadline: rolling
  • Topics relating directly to Scotland including feminism, history, heritage etc.
  • Word limit 1000 (flexible)
  • Website

Postgraduate Gender Research Network of Scotland

  • Deadline: rolling
  • Blog posts sought on any subject of gender research
  • More information 

PhD Women Scotland

  • Deadline: Rolling
    • Sign up for a blog space for 2019 by getting in touch with them.
  • Blog posts sought on any topic related to the PhD process – struggles, tips, great experiences!
  • More information

LSE Department of Gender Studies and Engenderings

  • Deadline: rolling
  • Blog posts sought on transnational anti-gender politics
  • More information

PalgraveMacmillan Gender Studies Book Series

Queer Research Network

Funding Opportunities, Recruitment and Awards

Foundation Scotland Fran Trust

  • Deadline: Rolling
  • Funds scholarly activity in the fields of feminism, gender or women’s studies
  • Funding for students at UK universities to help cover conference travel costs
  • More information 

 

Events

 

Free Stuff

Zero Tolerance ‘Talking Gender’

  • Zero Tolerance have launched a new online resource helping people to navigate difficult conversations about gender, especially with the ‘unconvinced’.
  • The blogs are here.
  • You can also join the conversation on Twitter #talkinggender

Judith Butler’s Gifford Lectures

  • For those of us unlucky enough to miss out on her lectures in Glasgow, you can listen to them all online!
  • More information

EqualBITE: Gender equality in higher education

  • Free e-book
  • Get it here

 

To Get Involved and Stay in Touch with PGRNS

  • Follow us on Twitter @PGRNScotland
  • Email us at PGRNScot@gmail.com to join the mailing list or Facebook group, tell us about an event or CFP, suggest a project, organise a pub night etc.
  • Join our Facebook group: Post-graduate Gender Research Network of Scotland – is a semi-private group so you can find us but you can’t see what’s going on until you’re a member.
  • Subscribe to our Blog and let us know if you would like to write a post for us!

Best Wishes,

The PGRNS Organising Committee

Laura Jones, Leah McCabe, Rebecca Smyth, Anna Vittinghoff and Beth Wallace.

On Teaching about Gender: Or a story of pedagogical whiplash

 

On Teaching about Gender

Or a story of pedagogical whiplash

Elaina's picture

I am relatively new to teaching in an academic context. I am lucky to have experience teaching migrant workers, youth with disabilities, and public servants, but somehow this did not prepare me to lead tutorials, especially ones on topics related to gender issues. This prompted me to reflect on why this felt so drastically different. After all, the same pedagogical concerns about the clarity of my communication, the skill-building component of the material, and the importance of a healthy and constructive discussion space were relevant regardless of the topic at hand. The following points of difference reflect my own experience and are by no means exhaustive, but I hope they will resonate with others and maybe contribute to ongoing discussions.

 

  1. The myth of the “neutral educator”

I was always taught that any presentation, whether it was informative or argumentative, always has an angle and betrays some kind of bias. This is just a bi-product of choosing how to arrange which words to better secure the desired outcome of the communication. As I transition into the role of an educator I try to stay acutely aware of how my choices affect and direct the learning opportunities of my students. When I taught Cartesian metaphysics and epistemology my main concern was how to convey Descartes arguments in such a way that would stimulate inquiry and analysis. I tried different tactics and felt free to play with various pedagogical approaches. However, when I started teaching a course called “Gender Equality” I suddenly felt jerked to a stop in my tracks.

I felt that a strong part of my identity as a feminist was somehow in conflict with my role as a tutor. I realised this was because academia still maintains the unspoken rule that lecturers and tutors should not show bias and be “neutral” moderators. As I have mentioned above, this is silly and impossible to achieve, yet it is required of us. Some of the most common complaints from students about this specific course is that they feel they cannot express themselves because “tutorials are biased”. The very limited amount of training I received included being encouraged to not correct students who said factually incorrect things. The only problem is that, in a course pertaining to gender issues, I consider some of these interventions to be at best jarring and at worst very damaging. It is one thing to let a logical fallacy slide in the name of the learning process and another to not intervene when a student declares proudly that systemic racism doesn’t exist, at least in my opinion. It is not that I don’t care about the integrity of rational discourse, but my alarms go off when uninformed opinions are shared about women’s “natural and biological role as caregivers”.

When I am teaching about gender I feel like more of a stakeholder. It is therefore harder for me to slip into the costume of the impartial moderator and I am not sure if this is a problem or not. I know that tutorials are intended to be a collaborative learning experience for the students and are not primarily a forum for my own ideas, but I still feel that sensitive topics expose the reality that is present in all teaching: we cannot successfully remove ourselves completely from the equation. My work lately has focused on experimenting with ways of being transparent with my students about my general beliefs while at the same time practicing active listening even if I personally disagree. But this leads me to my second point.

 

  1. No one prepares you for the emotional damage

All teachers should receive emotional resiliency support. When the focus is on improving the student experience it is too easy to forget that educators are also human beings. It is not just the hours of preparation and marking that take a toll on us; sometimes the very thing we live for, witnessing students learn, can be triggering and damaging. I mentioned above the issue of dealing with problematic statements in class, but the process of marking assignments can be even more difficult emotionally in my experience. I get a twinge of irritation when a student’s essay blatantly misses the point, but I get anxious and distraught when essay after essay argues that women’s bodies are inferior. I taught “Gender Equality” last year as well and it took me weeks to process the terrible effects of marking exams. This sounds very dramatic, but imagine sitting alone at your desk, reading anonymous pieces that are trying their best to rationalise the very power structures you deal with every day and are actively trying to oppose. The fact that they are not addressed to you specifically makes it worse. These aren’t malicious trolls foisting their general anger onto you, they are well-intentioned 19 year-olds who are speaking from their gut in an assignment that ostensibly has nothing to do with you. Except it does have to do with you. Your body-mind has to absorb harmful messaging and somehow manage to produce constructive comments about it.

I do not write this because I want to be pitied. I write this because I hope that someone will relate, if only to let me know I am not a (complete) drama queen. I want to be an effective and inspiring educator. I want to be able to help others learn and learn from them in return. But I also believe that too much dissociation is asked of teachers while at the same time demanding their full presence. There is no such thing as an objective way to teach. There is no way we can remove ourselves as human beings from the learning process. We must find ways to support each other and acknowledge that teaching is not only about being effective and inspiring. It is about being vulnerable.

 

Élaina Gauthier-Mamaril (she/her) is a third-year PhD student in philosophy at the University of Aberdeen. Her research focuses on Spinoza’s theory of agency and she has been leading tutorials and lectures for the past two years.

March Newsletter

454px-Women’s_Day_March_(1975)

 

Upcoming Conferences

International Conference on Gender Studies: “Gender and Power”, 2nd March 2019

The International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE): Annual conference, Glasgow,  27-29th June 2019

Rethinking Disruptive Sex from the 19th to the 21st Century, 15-16th April 2019

Human rights in a changing context: Annual PGR Conference, Durham, 9-10th May 2019

Race, Ethnicity, and Post-colonial Studies (REPS) PHD Symposium, Glasgow, 28th June 2019

3rd European Conference on Domestic Violence, Oslo, 1st-4th September 2019

Call for Contributions

Special Issue of Social Sciences Open Access Journal: “Gender and Identity”

Women, Gender, and Families of Colour

The Economic and Labour Relations Review

  • Deadline: rolling
  • Seeking submissions regarding low pay and wage theft
  • More information

Women Are Boring

  • Deadline: rolling
  • Blog featuring research carried out by women in all fields and all disciplines.
  • Word limit approximately 1,000-2,000
  • Intended for a general audience with informal style and minimal jargon
  • Submit to womenareboring@gmail.com
  • More information

The History Girls Scotland

  • Deadline: rolling
  • Topics relating directly to Scotland including feminism, history, heritage etc.
  • Word limit 1000 (flexible)
  • Website

Postgraduate Gender Research Network of Scotland

  • Deadline: rolling
  • Blog posts sought on any subject of gender research
  • More information 

PhD Women Scotland

  • Deadline: Rolling
    • Sign up for a blog space for 2019 by getting in touch with them.
  • Blog posts sought on any topic related to the PhD process – struggles, tips, great experiences!
  • More information

LSE Department of Gender Studies and Engenderings

  • Deadline: rolling
  • Blog posts sought on transnational anti-gender politics
  • More information

PalgraveMacmillan Gender Studies Book Series

Queer Research Network

Funding Opportunities, Recruitment and Awards

Foundation Scotland Fran Trust

  • Deadline: Rolling
  • Funds scholarly activity in the fields of feminism, gender or women’s studies
  • Funding for students at UK universities to help cover conference travel costs
  • More information 

 

Events

Dundee Women’s Festival: ‘Hear Women’s Voices’

Equality and Intersectionality (Free Event – Edinburgh)

Our Space, Our Place: Creating Ecofeminism (Free Event)

Free Stuff

Zero Tolerance ‘Talking Gender’

  • Zero Tolerance have launched a new online resource helping people to navigate difficult conversations about gender, especially with the ‘unconvinced’.
  • The blogs are here.
  • You can also join the conversation on Twitter #talkinggender

Judith Butler’s Gifford Lectures

  • For those of us unlucky enough to miss out on her lectures in Glasgow, you can listen to them all online!
  • More information

EqualBITE: Gender equality in higher education

  • Free e-book
  • Get it here

 

To Get Involved and Stay in Touch with PGRNS

  • Follow us on Twitter @PGRNScotland
  • Email us at PGRNScot@gmail.com to join the mailing list or Facebook group, tell us about an event or CFP, suggest a project, organise a pub night etc.
  • Join our Facebook group: Post-graduate Gender Research Network of Scotland – is a semi-private group so you can find us but you can’t see what’s going on until you’re a member.
  • Subscribe to our Blog and let us know if you would like to write a post for us!

Best Wishes,

The PGRNS Organising Committee

Laura Jones, Leah McCabe, Rebecca Smyth, Anna Vittinghoff and Beth Wallace.

 

Spilling the “T” – how being LGB inspired me to question gender

Chance AgrellaPhoto credit: Chance Agrella

Let me preface this post by saying that I am a bisexual, cisgender woman. I’d consider myself an ally, a trans-inclusive feminist and a member of the LGBT community, but that doesn’t mean I speak for anyone but myself. My experiences are my own, as much as anyone else’s experiences are theirs alone. But by sharing our different perceptions, feelings and understandings, we can all learn something new. I think that’s brilliant, because I’m curious and I like being challenged to refresh my thinking. I hope those are good qualities for a newbie researcher!

The gender binary is something I gradually became aware of in my surroundings. I didn’t really think to question the concept of gender until I made friends online who identified as trans and non-binary. In talking to them, I got to thinking about gender and what it means in our society. How deeply embedded our assumptions about each other can be, and how challenging these assumptions can be hard, worthwhile and inspiring.

In 2017, over 1m people identified as part of the LGBT community in the UK but there’s no statistics as yet for how many people identify as transgender. Even the term ‘transgender’ is a sort of umbrella, incorporating a huge variety of different identities and experiences.   And although trans stories have become increasingly visible in the media the last few years, documentaries like Genderquake and Transformation Street have been divisive in their representation of gender non-conforming people’s lives. And that’s not even starting to look at academic literature on trans and enby lives, which is highly medicalised and full of jargon.

Before I came back to university study, I worked in higher education admin. As a student again, I tried to see different perspectives on gender in education. Positive progress towards acceptance and inclusivity has definitely been made since I was an undergrad in the early 2000s; as a postgrad in 2017, I joined the LGBT society, I noticed which university buildings had gender neutral bathrooms, and I saw how student support staff were working to provide help and guidance to trans and non-binary students.

But I also noticed that in class, conversations about gender were still focused on a male/female dichotomy. We talked about traditional gender roles, we discussed how products are targeted to particular demographics, to men or to women. We investigated ethics in marketing, cross-cultural consumption and the impacts of globalisation on consumer culture. My cohort was pretty culturally diverse, and this prompted a fair bit of back and forth even outside lectures. We had some fantastic debates about what we were studying which made me reconsider, ask questions, and learn. But we still stuck to a strict gender binary. And that fact has stayed with me.

Perhaps it’s a quirk of my discipline, perhaps it doesn’t seem like that much of a big deal, but I’d imagined that it could reinforce a feeling of invisibility if you weren’t male or female, or if you were sometimes male, sometimes female, or if you felt anything other than male, female, or any combination thereof. I felt like there was something missing from our debates. Our class included several cultures and nationalities, backgrounds and previous careers, so there were plenty of dimensions on which we could examine a question or a problem. But none of us mentioned gender. If we’re hoping to go further with our analysis, gain richer insight and advance our understanding of consumption in 2019, surely we need to have gender non-conforming perspectives in there too?

Of course, it would be supremely arrogant of me to say that I or anyone other researcher in this area is giving the trans community a voice. That is not what I’m doing. Trans and non-binary folks are more than capable of telling their stories, as the fantastic variety of blogs, YouTubers and posts on high-traffic sites like Huffington Post and the Guardian shows. Here’s a vocal community which often (rightly) questions how its members are narrowly represented in the news media. It’s important for me to approach my research with sensitivity and openness; however you identify, gender is an emotive subject.

It is not my place to speak for trans and non-binary folks, and it is not my intention to do so. Instead, I hope that both this post and my research will show and encourage solidarity. I recognise my privilege in my status as a white, middle class, cisgender woman, and I want to try to use that privilege in a positive way. Questioning my perception of gender has led me to a PhD, and I’m sure there is so much more to learn. I look forward to continuing to challenge my own thinking, being an appropriate ally, and supporting my trans and enby friends and colleagues.

Sophie Duncan Shepherd is a PhD in the Department of Marketing at the University of Strathclyde. Sophie’s research focuses on consumer research, gender and LGBT experiences.