Current events and seminars
The CGF seminar series featuring invited guests as well as researchers at Karlstad University with a bearing on gender scientific issues. All presentations will be given in English.
The politics and intersections of COVID-19: critical perspectives from gender studies
Call for contributions to an open online seminar series during the fall semester of 2020, organized by the Centre for Gender Studies, Karlstad University
The current global pandemic has brought with it many challenges. Most obviously, the costs are seen in the lives lost and the health, emotional, social, and economic challenges that many people face around the globe due to the pandemic. While some also point to positive side effects of COVID-19 such as stark reductions in CO2-emissions, the pandemic is more likely to intensify already existing (social) inequalities than to alleviate them. This is most noticeable when it comes to health. Older people and people with pre-existing conditions are more likely to die from the virus. At the same time, according to public statistics men fall victim to COVID-19 more often than women. What is more, as more knowledge emerges about those infected with and dying from COVID-19, well-known intersections of gender, class, and race appear to determine who will survive this pandemic and who won’t. Socially, the pandemic also acerbates existing inequalities. In professions heavily exposed to infection risks, such as healthcare or daycare workers or teachers, employees are overwhelmingly women. In professions hardest hit economically, people in the lower income ranges feel the consequences by getting laid off and losing their income.
This is paired with racial discrimination. After the American president called Corona “the Chinese virus”, people identified as Chinese by others experienced an increase in racial discrimination in public in the US and Europe. At the same time, prejudices against racial minorities also gained traction in China where Black Africans, after reports of them supposedly bringing Corona-infections back to China, were discriminated against because of their skin color. Not least, the current pandemic also points to the violent heritage of colonialism, empire, and capitalism, with countries in the Global North paying themselves out of the direst consequences while at the same time being unwilling to share the financial burden of countries from the Global South. All this begs the question how social inequalities structure the current crisis and how the crisis will come to shape social inequalities in the future.
This online seminar series wants to tackle these questions. We are looking for contributions that reflect critically on the social consequences of COVID-19 from a gender studies perspectives, exploring the diverse politics and intersections of COVID-19. Contributions should consist of 30-45 minutes presentations followed by discussions that will be held online in a digital meeting room organized by the Centre for Gender Studies at Karlstad University during the fall of 2020. Contributors will be remunerated with 2000 SEK for their involvement and a publication of all contributions is planned at the end of the semester, either as a special issue or an edited collection. Abstracts of max 300 words and a short author bio should be send to email@example.com until the 31st of May 2020. Contributors will be notified about their acceptance shortly thereafter.
CGF Higher Seminar | Centre for Gender Studies, KAU
15 | Higher Seminar
Time: 15:15 – 16.45; Place: 4A:301A
Trans* in Scandinavian Queer Activism of the 00's
Jan Wickman, Swedish School of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland
Over the past 30 years, trans* research and activism has been connected and entangled with queer-theoretical thinking and queer activism in many ways. There have been different phases and permutations of this dialectic relationship, from trans* being seen as queer with a stronger emphasis on gender than on sexuality to a perceived conflict between queer-theoretical questioning of the gender binary and strategic interest of those trans* who seek gender reassignment treatments. In this paper, I will discuss how most of these variations of the trans-queer relationship could be identified/observed even in the limited context of Scandinavian queer activism of the 00s. Based on interviews with activists from Denmark, Sweden and Norway, the role of trans* in activism that was named queer in these three countries.
29 | Higher Seminar Online
Time and place: 15.30 – 17.00 Online seminar on Zoom.us (please register with firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Temptation of Citizenship: Sexual Politics and LGBT-activism in Post-Maidan Ukrain
Olga Plakhotnik, Open University, UK
This seminar is based on my recently accomplished doctoral research project that explores the discourses of sexual citizenship in post-Maidan Ukraine by asking how LGBT+ communities seek to position themselves in relation to hegemonic discourses of state and nationhood. In my study, I reconceptualised the ‘sexual citizenship’ concept (Evans, 1993) by drawing on a feminist (Lister, 2002) and a poststructuralist (Cossman, 2002) account of citizenship and pursuing a decentering approach to the study of sexualities in non-Western societies (Mizielińska & Kulpa, 2011). In my presentation, I summarise the findings of my study and develop further queer feminist theorising on citizenship in the Eastern European context.
Olga Plakhotnik is currently Research Fellow at the Open University (UK) and editor-in-chief of Feminist Critique: East European Journal of Feminist and Queer Studies (Ukraine).
11 | Higher Seminar (CANCELLED)
Time and place: 15:15-16:45, Place: 5A415
Telling Feminist Stories of Intersectionality Trouble
Nina Lykke, Prof. Em. Dr. Phil., Gender Studies, Linköping University
The lecture will argue for a rethinking of feminist histories from intersectional perspectives, and discuss how intersectionalities are claimed to be involved or to have been lacking attention in these histories. Critically rethinking my own research and early activist trajectories, as socialist feminist, and as sex-positive queer-femme-i-nist, I will challenge the well-established myth that second wave feminism started out as monolithically monocategorical, bent on consensual sisterly unity, and women-identified women.
But, I shall also discuss the histories of feminist complicities with epistemologies of ”white innocence” (Wekker 2016), and put focus on the current ”intersectionality wars” (Nash 2019), as part of which white European and Nordic feminist intersectionality scholars, myself included, have been criticized for gestures of whitening and neoliberalizing intersectionality. I shall enter into transversal conversations with the critics, and discuss how the critique has prompted me to rethink the early history of Nordic socialist feminism and gender research, with a focus on the whiteness of classic marxism.
18 | Higher Seminar (CANCELLED)
Time and place: 15:15-16:45, Place: 3A340
Theorising social change in Gender and Sexuality: Heterodox Heterosexuality, Heterodox Heteromasculinity
Chris Beasley, Emerita Professor, Adelaide University, Australia
The central intention of this paper is to challenge orthodoxies regarding heteromasculinity— orthodoxies which have tended to constitute it as a static monolith and queer as the only potential site for a less oppressive sexuality. In questioning such orthodoxies, I consider the possibilities for (libidinal) heterodoxy in relation to hetero-masculinity. The term heterodoxy enables thinking about heteromasculinity differently. In developing an alternative approach to hetero-masculinity, I turn to the question of how a transgressive hetero-masculinity might be conceptualized. Such a question complicates our understandings of gender, sexuality and social change and opens up new more positive theoretical and empirical directions which move beyond existing orthodoxies.
Chris Beasley is Emerita Professor in the Dept of Politics and International Relations. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences and was recently named as the leading researcher in Feminism and Women’s Studies in November 2018 in The Australian's annual assessment of national Research based on major journal publications in the field (see p. 36). She was founder and inaugural Co-Director of the Fay Gale Centre for Research on Gender (2009-2013), at the University of Adelaide.
Her books include 'Heterosexuality in Theory and Practice' (co-authored with Heather Brook and Mary Holmes, Routledge, 2012),' Engaging with Carol Bacchi' (co-edited with Angelique Bletsas, University of Adelaide Press, 2012), 'Gender& Sexuality: Critical Theories, Critical Thinkers' (Sage, 2005), 'What is Feminism? '(Sage, 1999) and 'Sexual Economyths' (Allen & Unwin, 1994). She has recently completed a book on contemporary popular film titled 'The Cultural Politics of Popular Film: Power, Culture and Society' (with Heather Brook, Manchester UP) and is currently preparing another book, 'Internet Dating' (with Mary Holmes, Routledge).
15 | Higher Seminar Online
Place: Online seminar on Zoom.us (please register with email@example.com)
FROM VILLAIN TO HERO: TRANS MEN AND NON-BINARY PERSONS AS CARE PROVIDERS IN SOUTHERN EUROPE
ANA CRISTINA SANTOS, PHD IN GENDER STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF COIMBRA, PORTUGAL
This seminar explores the role of trans* men and non-binary persons in informal care practices and provision to others. When dominant networks of care fail, informal care becomes a safety blanket, especially in contexts of increasing vulnerability stemming from precariousness and discrimination. This is especially important in Southern Europe, where prejudice based on gender identity remains particularly strong. By placing trans* masculinity at the center of theoretical and political debates about care, we expose the gaps in dominant literature about care which has left little space to consider the significance of gender-based diversity. The embodied experiences of care by trans men and non-binary persons constitute a fundamental political platform to rethink sociologically concepts of care, masculinity and corporal dissidence within the framework of intimate citizenship.
With a background in Sociology and a PhD in Gender Studies, University of Leeds, Ana Cristina Santos is a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra. She has coordinated a number of research projects on LGBTQI+, gender and intimate citizenship. After being awarded a Research Grant by the European Research Council to lead INTIMATE - Citizenship, Care and Choice: The micropolitics of intimacy in Southern Europe (2014-2019) and acting as Vice-chair of the European Sociological Association Sexuality RN (2012-2016), she is currently the PI in Portugal of CILIA LGBTQI+ Lives, funded by NORFACE (2018-2021), and Diversity and Childhood, funded by the European Commission (2019-2021). Her most recent book is The SAGE Handbook of Global Sexualities (forthcoming, 2 volumes, coedited 2020).
29 | Higher Seminar (CANCELLED)
Time and place: 15:15-16:45, Place: 3A340
Private consultants doing public work - challenges for a working democracy
Malin Rönnblom, Karlstad University and Umeå University, Sweden
The transformation of the forms of governing in Sweden, through the implementation of NPM and other marketized governing models, has been implemented with accelerating speed during the last 30 years, and Sweden is now one of the most privatised countries in the world. One important aspect of this development is the outsourcing of public tasks to private consultants. My presentation starts off by giving a short presentation of a study that focused on the outsourcing of gender-equality work to private consultancy firms. I then use this case-study as a back-drop for a discussion on an ongoing project that concerns the possibilities for democracy in a situation characterised by right-wing populism and neoliberal governing practices. What does it mean for democracy that an increasingly larger part of public responsibility now is both planned and implemented by private actors?
Malin Rönnblom is a Professor of Political Science, Karlstad University and a Senior Lecturer in Gender Studies at Umeå University. Her current research focuses on critical policy studies of gender equality, growth and rural/urban policies, and on practices of governing in an era of finalization and marketization of the state. Her recent publications include “In the Business of Feminism: Consultants as Sweden's New Gender Equality Workers”, in European Journal of Politics and Gender (2019) with Elisabeth Olivius. Together with Chris Hudson and Katherine Teghtsoonian she published Gender, Governance and Feminist Analysis: Missing in Action? (Routledge 2017).
6 | Higher Seminar (CANCELLED)
Time and place: 15:15-16:45, Place: 3A340
Racial/Gender/Sexual Biopolitics in Hungary: Heteronationalism, Homonationalism, and Resistance on Europe’s Geotemporal Edge
Hadley Zaun Renkin, Ass. Professor in Gender Studies, CEU, Budapest.
The geotemporal meanings of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) have long woven together, and been woven together by, a complex mix of racial, gender, and sexual politics. A key constitutive internal European Other, defined as less developed and civilized, the region’s inhabitants were marked through these categories as biopolitically inferior subjects in the West’s scientific-administrative taxonomies. The same categories were instrumentalized within the CEE region as well, to both claim modern Europeanness and defy it. More recently, these borders of belonging have been reinscribed in both Western readings of homophobia as a particularly regional problem, and regional reactions to these. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in Hungary since 1999, this paper traces against these sedimented backgrounds the complex patterns of racial/gender/sexual friction shaping both increasing heteronationalism and LGBTQ movements in postsocialist Hungary.
Viktor Orbán’s rightwing, Fidesz government has welded together racist anti-immigrant, anti-feminist/”gender ideology,” and anti-queer discourses and practices to reassert Hungary’s renewed identity as protector of a National, Christian, traditionally gendered, and heterosexual Europe.Yet LGBTQ reactions to right-wing homophobic politics and violence have also reshaped the Budapest Pride March and Hungary’s LGBTQ movement in ways that at once reinforce and challenge the biopolitical borders of “national” and “transnational.” I argue that comparison of these discursive and material entanglements can help us to better understand the profoundly intertwined biopolitics of nationalism and its resistance, and the deeply shared racial/gender/sexual boundaries - past/present, East/West, heteronational/queer - that continue to divide, yet inescapably bind together, “Nation” and “Europe.”
Hadley Zaun Renkin is Assistant Professor in Gender Studies at the Central European University. His work centers on postsocialist East European sexual politics and sexuality’s implications for changing conceptions of citizenship. He is particularly interested in the regional rise of public homophobia, and its role in reemerging European neo-Orientalist moral geographies. His new research focuses on how the relationships between early ethnography, evolutionary theory, and sexology have shaped modern categories of identity and citizenship. He has published on postsocialist homophobia and Hungarian LGBT history-making, and is revising the manuscript for a book, ‘Gay, Hungarian, Human’: Space, Time, and Sexual Citizenship in Postsocialist Hungary, an ethnographic study of the emergence of Hungary’s LGBT movement, how it has used national and transnational temporalities and geographies to assert multiple forms of belonging, and the resistance its claims have faced.
3 | Higher Seminar (CANCELLED)
Time and place: 15:15-16:45, Place: 3A340
Trans*forming Care - Trans* and non-binary practices of Community Care
Francis Seeck, PhD candidate, Institute for European Ethnologhy, Humboldt University, Berlin.
This presentation looks at trans and queer notions of care. Utilizing ideas from trans and queer studies, feminist cultural anthropology and ethnographic inquiries, I examine the idea of “care” in relation to trans* community work. In this talk, I wish engage with the political potentials of Care through the lens of my ethnographic study with trans* and non-binary activist communities in Germany and Switzerland. Through this input I want to draw attention to how these practices transform hetero- and cisnormative notions of Care. I will also explore the limits and possibilities of Community Care as way of maintaining solidarity in the wake of precarity and violence.
Francis Seeck is a PhD candidate at the Institute for European Ethnology at Humboldt University Berlin. Their research interests include Queer and Feminist Anthropology, Trans Studies, Class and Care. They are teaching Gender and Queer Studies at Alice Salomon School for Applied Science and work as an antidiscrimination trainer in the field of classism and gender diversity. Since 2018 they are part of the Institute for Queer Theory in Berlin