Gender Research Seminar 2016


Interuniversity Gender Research Seminar - 17 & 18 May 2016

Having an interdisciplinary focus, since 2010, this yearly course 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 is on Moralities and the Intimate Life: Late capitalism has witnessed significant transformations of the intimate life and relations and practices of intimacy, care and kinship, including changes that have been induced by processes of globalization and new technologies. There has been a diversification of the ways in which relationships are constituted (living together unmarried, polyamorous relationships, LGBT relationships, living alone, mail-order brides…), cohabitation is organized (communes, cohousing, kangaroo housing…), families are formed (ART, surrogacy, marriage migration, transnational adoption, transnational parenting, blended families, single parenthood, co-parenting, foster families,…) and communities of intimacy, care and kinship are molded (temporary communities, sites and meetings online, virtual communities and connections and transnational relations of care). The seminar will feature speakers and respondents form various disciplines (history, women’s studies, literary studies, sociology, anthropology, moral philosophy,…) to explore feminist and postcolonial perspectives and theorizations of these new (or not so new) intimacies and the moral discourses they produce. Questions include but are not limited to: In what ways do ethnocentric and objectivist scientized language obfuscate moral assumptions and socio-economic, raced, gendered, religious/secular, and aged, unequal power relations? How do they work to legitimize increased policy intervention in the personal lives of target groups? In what ways do new (or not so new) types of relationships of love and care, (co)habitation and building households challenge (or reproduce) normative assumptions of relationships, family, kinship and (national) belonging? To what extent do they succeed to expand definitions of relationships, families, households and communities and what are the new exclusions, inequalities and moral dilemmas they create? What lessons can be learned from historical accounts in relation to understandings of the intimate life? How has the intimate life been imagined in the arts and literature and how do these cultural representations affect our moral understandings? How are changes in the intimate life reflected in legal language, state law and policy? What is made visible legally and socio-politically and what remains excluded or silenced?

The course set-up will involve a two-day full programme of lectures, guest lectures and parallel master classes. Here you can find the programme, more information on the lectures, on the master classes; and practical information. Students attend all morning sessions and the evening lecture. In addition, they are assigned to one parallel master class on each day and prepare all reading assignments. They choose one master class in which to present their research related to the class theme. The morning and evening lectures are open to everyone.

Confirmed speakers: Dr. Jennie Bristow (Visiting Research Fellow, Centre for Parenting Cuture studies, SSPSSR, University Kent); Prof. Dr. Matt Cook (Birkbeck University of London, UK, Department of History, Classics and Archaeology), Prof. Dr. Dilek Cindoğlu (Abdullah Gül University, Turkey, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences) and Dr. Ilke Turkmendag (Newcastle University, UK, School of Law).

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the evening lecture by Prof. Dr. David Eng (University of Pennsylvania) that was scheduled for the 17th of May 2016 has been cancelled. Apologies for any inconvenience.

Registration by sending an email to

For more information click on the following hyperlinks