The Centre for the Study of Democracy in the Department of Politics and International Relations welcomed a new theme of gender and sexuality research to the centre by hosting a workshop for staff and postgraduate research students from across the university working in this area. 

The premise of this workshop was that gender and sexuality are not only political in the formal policy-making sense, but that the everyday practices of gender and sexuality are themselves political. The event was well attended and involved intense discussions.

The inter-disciplinary workshop highlighted the work of 16 current staff and postgraduate students from Politics, History, Sociology, Law and the Business School. The first session was on institutions and professional identities where papers covered the politics of LGBT inclusion in organisations, the struggle of married women for the right to work, globalising Chinese masculinities and the role of sexual minorities in legal profession.

The second session on political subjectivities shifted the focus on democratic innovations between consensus and diversity in Austria, gendering democracy and occupation in India and Kashmir, struggles for women’s emancipation in Zimbabwe and a reflection on teaching feminism and gender at university.  The third session focused on themes including queering nationalism, debate over global queer activism and heteronormativity around Rupaul’s Drag Race, LGBTQ school teachers and queering the activist body and challenging fatphobia as well as transphobia.

The final session covered topics ranging from historical examination of sex, race, nation and masculinity in socialist responses to the 1912 Criminal Law Amendment Bill, legal take on balancing differing interests in the abortion debate, an ethnographic commentary on Palestinian women’s experiences of violence, and a political theoretical investigation of violence as a barrier to citizenship and substantive equality. The event details are available on the Workshop page.

Dr Dibyesh Anand, Director of CSD, says “We are committed to becoming the hub for research, public engagement activities and mentoring around gender and sexuality within the University and hope that this is the beginning of a most dynamic research group”.

The multidisciplinary workshop was organised by Dr Daniel Conway (DPIR), Dr Helen Glew (History, Sociology and Criminology) and Ashley Kitchen (DPR)  and attended by over 40 delegates. The gender and sexuality studies group holds regular reading groups and will host Professor Cynthia Enloe for a series of student and public lectures in September 2016.

Pictured, from left to right: Francis Ray White (History, Sociology and Criminology), Naomi Rudoe (History, Sociology and Criminology), Daniel Conway (Politics and International Relations), Dibyesh Anand (Politics and International Relations) and Ashley Kitchen (Politics and International Relations) 

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