Interuniversity Gender Research Seminar 2019

9-11 September 2019: Embodiment and the Performativity of Gender 

Having an interdisciplinary focus, since 2010, this yearly course, jointly organised by Ghent University, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the University of Antwerp, provides PhD and advanced MA students whose research is situated in or related to the field of Gender and/or Diversity Studies with in-depth and advanced training in contemporary Gender Studies and theory and methodology in related fields, such as Sexuality Studies, Cultural Studies, Postcolonial Studies, etc., next to general scholarly skills such as reading, writing, discussing and presenting. The course is not limited to issues of gender alone, but aims to attract students broadly interested in subjectivity, identity, diversity and agency and questions of (in)equality and power in society and culture from a critical research perspective.

This year’s focus in on Embodiment and the Performativity of Gender. Questioning an overriding focus on the female body as an object of processes of domination and control, contemporary gender scholarship is giving increased attention to embodied practices as mundane sites that entail both compliance and subversion and give way to diverse forms of agency. The notion of gender performativity, i.e. that gender identity is constituted through performance that emerges from within the existing matrix of discursive power, is crucial in this regard. The course will familiarize students with this major topic in gender studies while giving critical awareness of the current call for an intersectional approach in research on embodiment and performance. Beyond explaining the main concepts, the speakers will discuss the bodily enactment of gendered subjectivities as they are shaped by different dimensions such as age, class, culture and religion. This will highlight the complexity of assessing gendered empowerment and of comparing embodied practices and related discourses cross-culturally.

Registration deadline is September 1, 2019



The course will consist of three lectures and three masterclasses. The lectures will last one hour each and be open to the scholarly public. Each lecture will be followed by a discussion of one hour with the audience moderated by a respondent. 

Students will prepare reading assignments before each masterclass. During the masterclass, which will last three hours, the lecturers will discuss the readings in exchange with students. Student will reflect on their own research, on how they have dealt with or intend to deal with bodily enactments of gendered subjectivities and which questions arise in this respect, both of a conceptual and practical nature. The objective of the masterclass is to give guidance to the students on how to proceed further with their research. 



The course is open to PhD students from a variety of disciplines (including anthropology, area studies, arts, communication and media studies, economics, education, gender and diversity studies, linguistics, literature, geography, history, moral sciences, performance studies, philosophy, political studies, religion studies, sociology). No prior knowledge is requested.


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