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CIVIS Gender Studies Network (CGSN) – Gender Studies Lectures 

CIVIS Gender Studies Lectures 

The CIVIS gender studies lectures, organised by the CIVIS Gender Studies Network (CGSN), are aimed to bring together and make visible ongoing gender research carried out in the CIVIS member universities. 

CIVIS is a European Civic University formed by the alliance of 11 leading research higher education institutions across Europe: Aix-Marseille Université, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, University of Bucharest, Université libre de Bruxelles, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Sapienza Università di Roma, Stockholm University, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, University of Glasgow, Paris Lodron University of Salzburg and University of Lausanne. It brings together a community of more than 470,000 students and 58,000 staff members including 35,000 academics and researchers.https://civis.eu/en 

All seminars are organised digitally on Zoom and hosted by Minerva – Laboratory on diversity and Gender Inequality at Sapienza University of Rome.

To receive a Zoom link and passcode, please register before the seminar by writing to emil.edenborg@gender.su.se 


Wednesday 15 February 2023, 5 pm (CET) – Stockholm  

The Female Turn – how evolutionary science shifted perceptions about females 

 Malin Ah-King 

Description: This talk traces the history of how evolutionary biology transformed its understanding of females from being coy, reserved and sexually passive, to having active sexual strategies and often mating with multiple males. Why did it take so long to discover female active sexual strategies? What prevented some researchers from engaging in sexually active females, and what prompted others to develop this new knowledge?

Based on the scientific literature on sexual selection and in-depth interviews with leading researchers, pioneers and feminist scientists in the field, I analyse how conclusions drawn about sex were formed by the researchers’ scientific interests, theoretical frameworks, specific study animals, technological innovations, methodologies and feminist insights. Thereby, my analysis shows how and why certain researchers gained knowledge about active females, and also how ignorance was and continues to be produced.

Speaker: Malin Ah-King is an Associate Professor in Gender studies and evolutionary biologist (PhD) at the Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, Stockholm University, Sweden. Her research focuses on gender/queer perspectives on biology and feminist science studies of contemporary sexual selection research. Her book The Female Turn – How Evolutionary Science Shifted Perceptions About Females is forthcoming from Palgrave Macmillan 2022 and her current project explores a controversy over sex differences in evolutionary biology.


Wednesday 15 March 2023, 5 pm (CET) – Tübingen  

 Dealing with disrespect: How women attribute experiences of unequal treatment 

Marion Müller 

Description: Experiences of disregard and marginalization may be a common occurrence for women and girls in Germany, but they are not automatically recognizable as sexism or sexist discrimination. It depends on the social situation, the observable behaviour of the other persons involved and the self-identification of the affected women. Thus, especially women with a migration background tend to attribute unequal treatment not to their gender but rather to their ethnic origin. The talk explores how women interpret and respond to incidents they identify as stigmatizing or discriminatory and under which conditions they attribute unequal treatment to their gender or seek other explanations. The starting point is the assumption that the recognition of sexism is a social very prerequisite process. The data used are qualitative interviews with affected women which were collected by students during a teaching research project at the Department of Sociology at the University of Tübingen.

Speaker: Marion Müller is a full professor of Sociology at the University Tübingen, Germany. Her main research areas include the analysis of gender, ethnicity and disability in different social areas (e.g. international politics, pregnancy/transition to parenthood, or sport), interaction theory and Sociology of World Society.


Wednesday 26 April 2023, 5 pm (CET) – Athens 

Growing Up Queer In Contemporary Greece: Tactics of Everyday Life 

Yulie Papadakou 

Description: Based on thirty-five in-depth interviews with adult queer youth and two-year fieldwork in the Athenian queer scene, I explore patterns of resistance in childhood and adolescence. Since the bulk of research concerning queer youth’s early and school years tends to emphasize victimization and exclusions, I place emphasis on the creative practices they employ in order to develop their subjectivities and avoid abjectification. I argue that throughout their early years, even before they identify as queer, the subjects devise agentic cultural practices in order to resist heteronormative ways of growing up. These cultural practices are “tactics”, drawing from de Certeau’s theory of using time to undermine dominant cultural systems and suggest that queer youth might grow sideways, troubling heteronormative notions of developmental and linear time, childhood, and innocence.

Speaker: Yulie Papadakou is a PhD candidate at the Department of Early Childhood Education, University of Athens. Her research focuses on queer youth socialities in contemporary Athens by exploring uses of time and emerging generational conceptualisations of age, gender, and sexuality.


Wednesday 17 May 2023, 5 pm (CET) 2023 – Brussels  

Female Genital Mutilation or Modification? The socio-legal conundrums of the international zero-tolerance approach 

Sarah O’Neill 

Description: The United Nations (UN) is committed to enforcing zero tolerance of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) on the basis of it violating women’s rights, yet increasing numbers of women and girls in high-income countries undergo labiaplasty and other forms of Female Genital Cosmetic Surgery, which is not considered a human rights violation. In many high prevalence FGM countries there is a trend towards its medicalization. At the same time surgical interventions, such as hymenoplasty, labiaplasty and clitoral reconstructive surgery are growing in availability and popularity in African countries and among migrants in diaspora. While nation states in the global north (+Australia) are estimating the numbers of girls at risk of Female Genital “Mutilation”, and developing strategies to prevent, identify and prosecute new cases of FGM, the economy of female genital cosmetic surgery is booming more than ever. The UN has acknowledged the controversial nature of this medicalized turn. Yet, cosmetic interventions are not subject to debate as the ultimate goal is the complete abandonment of ‘mutilation’ and not modification. With illustrative examples this presentation reveals the systemic inequalities of the current socio-legal framework. I show that current frameworks are not just inconsistent in their approaches to women’s bodies, notions of free choice and informed consent but also latently racist. I argue that there is an urgent need to re-think conceptions of the gendered body to address racial and class-based inconsistencies as well as notions of human rights in post-colonial contexts. 

Speaker: Sarah O’Neill obtained her PhD in Social Anthropology at Goldsmiths College, University of London in 2013. Her PhD research was concerned with local people’s opposition to the national ban on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Fouta Toro, northern Senegal. The thesis was awarded the Audrey Richards Prize of the African Studies Association of the UK in 2014. Between 2013 and 2017 she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium. Between 2017 and 2021 she worked as a consultant on FGM/C for the World Health Organization (WHO) and for the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE).

In 2018 she started working as a lecturer at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). Between 2019 and 2022 she held a GenderNet funded postdoc position at the School of Public Health-ULB, to work on the health systems response to female genital cutting with partners in Canada, France, Sweden and Switzerland. In 2022 she was a Visiting Professor at the Anthropology Department of the University of Toronto, Canada. Since 2022 she holds an Associate Professor position in Medical Anthropology and a FEDtWIN position between LAMC-ULB and the Royal Museum of Central Africa (Tervuren) to work on the anthropology of food.


Wednesday 21 June 2023, 5 pm (CET) 2023 – Salzburg 

Women in American Studies: History of a Discipline from a Gender Perspective

Ralph J. Poole

Description: The talk provides an overview of the history of American Studies as a discipline from a gendered perspective by discussing (1) the inclusion of women in that history as protagonists, i.e. as teachers, researchers, etc., (2) the inclusion of women as topics, for example researching female novelists and artists, (3) the inclusion of gender as a method, i.e. as a category for analyzing topics within American Studies

Speaker: Ralph J. Poole is an American-German researcher who teaches as Professor of American Studies at the University of Salzburg, Austria. He taught at the University of Munich, Germany, at Fatih University in Istanbul, Turkey, and was a research scholar at CUNY’s Center for Advanced Studies in Theater Arts in Manhattan. His publications include a study on the Avant-Garde tradition in American theatre, a book on satirical and autoethnographic “cannibal” texts, a collection of essays on “dangerous masculinities”, and another collection on “queer Turkey”. Having wrapped up a project funded by the Austrian Science Fund on “Gender and Comedy in the Age of the American Revolution”, he is currently researching the Austrian Heimatfilm from a trans-European and genderqueer perspective. 


More info: https://civis.eu/en/events/civis-gender-studies-lectures-dealing-with-disrespect