Feminist Research Seminar Updates
Established in 2014, IRWG Feminist Research Seminars are small, themed residential conferences bringing together a group of scholars to address quandaries in theoretical or empirical research related to gender, women and sexuality. Feminist Research Seminars are awarded annually through a national application process, offering feminist scholars from around the country the opportunity to work together in an intimate and supportive setting in Ann Arbor for several days.
Since the inaugural group convened in Fall 2014 around the theme, “Feminist Postcolonial Science and Technology Studies: Instigations, Interrogations and New Developments,” they’ve made great strides in examining and developing new bodies of scholarship. The seminar was co-organized by Laura Foster (Gender Studies, Indiana University) and Kim TallBear (Anthropology, University of Texas‐Austin). For many participants, the seminar was their first opportunity to engage with one another. With space and resources provided by IRWG, the group focused on the preliminary phases of a special journal issue and an edited collection developing and interrogating work at the intersections of feminisms, post-colonialisms, and science studies. From this initial project, the group hoped to promote further works at the intersection of these three social/intellectual movements and ultimately, make it easier for researchers in all of these fields to produce scholarship and to teach high quality upper-level undergraduate and graduate level courses on a variety of topics.
In the three years since their seminar, the group has produced several individually and collectively-written publications, including:
- “The Emperor’s New Genes: Science, Public Policy, and the Allure of Objectivity” by Ruha Benjamin, in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (2015);
- "Feminism, Postcolonialism, and Technoscience" co-authored by Banu Subramaniam, Laura Foster, Sandra Harding, Deboleena Roy, and Kim TallBear, in The Handbook on Science and Technology Studies (2016);
- and a special journal issue on "Feminism and Postcolonial Science Studies” in Science, Technology, and Human Values (2016) featuring articles from Anne Pollock, Banu Subramaniam, Ruha Benjamin, Angela Willey, Laura Foster, Lindsay Adams Smith, and Sandra Harding.
Their work will also be part of the Fall 2017 special issue of Imaginations: Journal Of Cross-Cultural Image Studies on Critical Relationality: Indigenous and Queer Belonging Beyond Settler Sex & Nature.
Last summer, several seminar participants traveled to the 4S/EASST Conference in Barcelona where they facilitated an Open Track session on “Feminist Postcolonial Science and Technology Studies” which featured 17 paper presentations. The conference, jointly presented by the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) and the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST), focused on the exploration of science and technology performed by nontraditional means, such as DIY design, citizen science and maker communities, feminist and environmentalist technoscience projects, and other platforms seeking to create alternatives to public/private technoscientific arrangements.
Reflecting on her experience, Laura Foster said, “We are so grateful for the opportunity to participate in IRWG’s Feminist Research Seminar - it’s been a pivotal, game changing moment in helping to more firmly establish the field of feminist postcolonial/decolonial science studies.”
Other FRS themes have included: disability and environmental activism, feminist filmmaking, queering Jewish texts, and Black feminism. The next call for proposals will be announced in Fall 2017.
2017-18 Feminist Research Seminars
Beyoncé's Lemonade Lexicon: Black Feminism and Spirituality in Theory & Praxis
Organizers: Kinitra D. Brooks (Associate Professor of English, University of Texas San Antonio), and Kameelah L. Martin (Associate Professor of African American Literature, Savannah State University)
Opposition to the Political Participation of Women and Gender Justice Advocates: Building a Feminist Research Agenda
Organizers: Denise Walsh (Associate Professor Politics, Women, Gender, and Sexuality, University of Virginia), and Jennifer M. Piscopo (Assistant Professor of Politics, Occidental College)
Writing Blackness and Gender into American Classical Art Music History
Organizers: Naomi André (Associate Professor, Women's Studies, Department of African and Afroamerican Studies, and the Residential College, University of Michigan), and Tammy Kernodle (Professor, Musicology, Miami University of Ohio)