7th Chuss Seminar Series: ‘Kneeling to Conquer’: Reading Women’s Resistance, Subversion, Negotiation, and Complicity to Structures of Difference and Dominance in Various Contexts

Date

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Event Details

The Dean, School of Women and Gender Studies invites you to the 7th Chuss Seminar Series 

Topic: ‘Kneeling to Conquer’: Reading Women’s Resistance, Subversion, Negotiation, and Complicity to Structures of Difference and Dominance in Various Contexts 

Presenters: Dr. Nella van den Brandt (University of Utrecht, Netherlands) and Dr. Lydia Namatende-Sakwa (Uganda)

Date: Wednesday 5th September 2018

Time: 2:00pm

Venue: SWGS Conference Hall

Abstract

Across various politico-geographical, socio-economic, cultural-ethnic and religious contexts, women build life trajectories in which they negotiate gendered and sexualised differences. How do women in different settings and communities fulfil their own interests, or live up to their desires? Resistance to structures of dominance through counter-voices and activism is one way in which women negotiate difference and power inequalities. ‘Kneeling in order to conquer’ is another manner in which women’s lives take place: through surrendering to power, i.e. acting like ‘mere’ women and/or enacting harmless humility, women find spaces to remake their realities. ‘God is not like this!’ is again another potential mode of women finding their voice: through religious rhetoric and conviction, women attempt to create change within their communities of life and faith.

In this workshop, the presenters aim to think through women’s trajectories through the concept of agency. This theoretical perspective, emerging from post structural, feminist and postcolonial theory (Foucault, Butler, Mahmood, Abu-Lughod, Spivak, Tamale), will help us to shed light on the perspectives, desires and experiences through which women construct their identities and subjectivities. As empirical examples, we draw from our recent and current research in African and European settings on women active in a variety of domains – academia, social movements, daily life, and religion.

The examples moreover enable us to also pose questions about different kinds of research material and data: what possibilities, as well as limitations, do research materials such as interviews, media sources and art have for understanding women’s agency? How can we analyse women’s perspectives, desires and experiences as they are conveyed through interview conversations, documentary and film? 

You are all welcome!

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