All parallel sessions are in the Sutherland Building

To download a booklet of all abstracts in a PDF format, please click here: Thinking Gender Justice Book of Abstracts.

 

PARALLEL PANEL SESSION F, THURSDAY 24th, 11.30-1.00

PANEL 19

Fat Bodies: Gendered Expectations, Intersectionality, and Biopolitics

HANNELE HARJUNEN (University of Jyväskylä, Finland): Gender, Fatness, Vulnerability, and Neoliberal Governing

In this paper, my intention is to examine consequences of neoliberal culture and governing especially regarding gendered fat bodies. Neoliberal governing of bodies strives for a neoliberal subject, who is a master of self-governing (e.g. Gill 2007; Harjunen 2017), i.e. free and independent, responsible and rational, and continually striving to be in control of their bodies by all means available (e.g. nutrition, exercise, medication, surgery, wellness practices, etc.). I am interested in what happens to those gendered bodies that fail to become neoliberal bodies. Against the backdrop of the dominant political economic rationale of neoliberalism that emphasizes all-around productivity, cost-effectiveness, freedom of choice and individual responsibility, the fat body is constructed as an epitome of a body that is unproductive, unprofitable, immoral and irresponsible. Fat people are societally positioned as “out of control”, excessive and an economic burden to society. My aim is to discuss how for instance, neoliberalization of the public and private sphere, e.g., marketization and economization of health and health care, extensive responsibilizaton of the individual over their bodies’ appearance, capabilities and performance as well as promotion of the entrepreneurial approach towards the self, participate in the construction of the “neoliberal body” and at the same time forcibly reject fat bodies (among many other groups of people who reside in marginalized bodies), thus making them especially vulnerable to neoliberal governing.

Hannele Harjunen is a Senior Lecturer in Gender Studies at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Her research focuses on fatness and fat bodies, gendered body norms and embodied experience. Harjunen’s current research project concerns Finnish women and men’s experiences of weight discrimination. Her recent publications include a number of articles for example in Feminist Theory (with Katariina Kyrölä), and book chapters, and a monograph Neoliberal Bodies and the Gendered Fat Body (2017).

 

FRANCIS RAY WHITE (University of Westminster): Embodying the Fat/Trans Intersection

This paper will explore fat embodiment from trans, non-binary and genderqueer perspectives. Drawing on interview data from research with trans participants in the UK, it suggests new ways of thinking about how fat and gender intersect, and how this might prompt new paths of inquiry within fat studies and activism. It is not that gender has been absent within fat studies, however, approaching the intersection of fat and gender through trans people’s experiences helps reveal the limitations of cis-centric accounts that underpin much of the thinking around gender in critical discourses of fat. Through an analysis of interviewees’ narratives of embodiment, this paper will specifically seek to complicate fat activist assumptions around the need for body ‘positivity’ and ‘acceptance’ as part of a fat political project. It will ask whether ‘acceptance’ is required only in relation to the body’s fatness, and what happens when this is inseparable from other factors? For example, can one learn to accept one’s fat, whilst it works to inscribe the body with a gender you do not identify as? What are the specific issues at stake for trans people in decisions to modify their bodies, either through weight-loss, training regimes, hormones or surgery? The ultimate aim is not to argue that trans people’s experiences are exceptional, or demand their addition to existing frameworks, but is rather to develop a better understanding of how fat bodies ‘do’ gender at all.

Francis Ray White is a senior lecturer in Sociology at the University of Westminster. Their research, writing and teaching is in the area of gender studies and queer, transgender and fat embodiment. Francis is currently researching trans people’s relationship to body size and weight and is a co-investigator on an ESRC-funded project on experiences of trans-male pregnancy. Francis’ previous research has been published in journals including SexualitiesSomatechnics and Fat Studies.

 

JACQUELINE O’TOOLE (Institute of Technology, Sligo) “Being a ‘good’ woman”: women, dieting and fatness in Irish society

Social life is intrinsically moral. Being able to present oneself as a moral self and to claim a moral space are enmeshed in social life and the ideal of the ‘good’ citizen. A socio-historical précis of the lives of women in Irish society reveals how the necessity of claiming and holding a moral space has permeated narratives of womanhood. While this has affected most areas of women’s lives, arguably it has had a particular resonance in the deep-seated and on-going societal surveillance of women’s bodies. Arthur Frank (2000) reminds us that moral life ‘takes place in storytelling’. Narrative inquiry has emerged has one significant methodological strategy to analyse stories and storytelling. The paper draws from a narrative ethnography of women’s narratives of dieting in the context of their participation in slimming classes, and in the context of the pathologising of fatness and the ubiquity of anti-obesity rhetoric. I will illustrate that a narrative analysis of aspects of women’s everyday lives, of what I conceptualise as the mundane, routine cultural spaces that women occupy, can help unmask the challenges and difficulties that women encounter in their attempts to claim a moral space. In turn, this enables an in-depth examination of the workings of gender relations in society. I will argue that how women’s bodies fit in, what they look like, and what they embody about self and society, remain key aspects of normative femininity within which women are framed and frame themselves in Irish society.

Jacqueline O’ Toole, Ph.D. is a feminist sociologist and lecturer in Social Research in the Department of Social Science, Institute of Technology, Sligo. My research interests are in narrative inquiry, critical weight studies, feminist theory and methodology, and gender and social care. I have published in the areas of gender, sexuality and social care; women and dieting; and professionalisation of social care. I co-convene the Narrative Inquiry Series of conferences with colleagues in Maynooth University and the National University of Ireland, Galway.

 

JEANNINE A. GAILEY (Texas Christian University) The “obesity epidemic” as a form of symbolic violence

The concern globally over the “obesity epidemic” has become one of the most widely discussed social problems over the last twenty or so years. In fact, there has been an intense focus from the media, popular culture, government, and medical community on the harms of fat along with recommendations for how to best combat the “obesity epidemic”. Public discussions of “excess weight” typically imply that fat persons are responsible for their body size. In this paper, I explore the interface between the perceptions fat women have of themselves and the (gendered) expectations and judgments society places on them. I conducted 74 in-depth interviews with North American women who are fat about their experiences in an increasingly global fatphobic society. The societal attitude towards people of size has become increasingly hostile, aggressive in its message, psychologically crippling for some, and thoroughly unwarranted. The children’s “playground tease” has become an unjust social institution within adult society. Through these data and the growing literature in the area of fat studies, I aim to show how the discourse surrounding the “obesity epidemic” serves as a form of symbolic violence (Bourdieu 1991). The public “knowledge” and rhetoric surrounding “obesity” have created taken-for-granted assumptions about the causes, lifestyles, and even personality traits of those who are fat. Fat people are assumed to overeat and are often considered lazy, irresponsible, gluttonous, and a nuisance. These popular beliefs have led the women I interviewed to internalize negative views of themselves and other fat people.

Jeannine A. Gailey is associate professor of Sociology and director-elect of the Women and Gender Studies Program at Texas Christian University. Her research focuses on sociology of the body, sexualities, deviance, and organizational wrongdoing. She is currently co-guest editing two issues of Fat Studies. Her recent monograph, The Hyper(in)visible Fat Woman, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2014. In addition, her recent work has appeared in journals such as, Fat Studies, Social Psychology Quarterly, Deviant BehaviorQualitative Research, and the Journal of Gender Studies.

 

PANEL 20

Gender, (ethno)nationalisms and women’s activism

LINDA EITREM HOLMGREN: Reforming Citizenship During Ethno-National Conflict: Women’s Political Activism and Public Participation During the Northern Irish Troubles

This paper provides a theoretical synthesis of three research areas – gender, nationalism and citizenship – by linking together the gendered discourses of ethno-nationalism and citizenship to women’s activism for reform and gender justice. It explores the potential for building a gender equal citizenship in societies divided by ethno-national conflict. More specifically, it analyzes women’s activism and participation in public and political life during the Northern Irish Troubles (1968-1998). The paper provides an intersectional analysis of working-class women’s public and political activism in a deeply divided ethno-nationalist society. First, it studies how gendered notions of citizenship and ethno-nationalism created both possibilities for and obstructions to women’s political participation in public life in Northern Ireland. Second, the paper examines how working-class women’s grassroot projects in the North of Ireland attempted to reform the politics of citizenship in a gender just and equal manner, while also navigating the politics of an ongoing armed ethno-national conflict. Third, the paper provides a discussion of the premises of working-class women’s local initiatives and analyzes how both identity politics and intersectional identities were utilized as a basis for action. The paper discusses how maternal, ethno-nationalist and feminist principles were used to different degrees as foundations for solidarity among women in their work for reform and resistance.

Linda received her BSc in Politics and Economics in 2009 and her MSc in Political Science in 2014 from Lund University, Sweden. In addition to this, she has also studied Gender, International Relations and Archaeology. Her doctoral project is positioned at the intersection of three research areas: (1) ethnonational conflict as a gendered phenomenon; (2) reconciliation and peace-building through transversal dialogue; and (3) feminist perspectives on citizenship. The project aims to provide a gender analysis of the constructions of femininities and masculinities in the field of dialogue-based peace-building and reconciliation in order to demonstrate how discourses of nation and gender intersect. The gendered discourses of nationalism and ethnonational conflict will then be linked to women’s participation in public life, as well as to possibilities for and obstructions to equal citizenship. The dissertation project is focused on the case of Northern Ireland.

 

THERESA O’KEEFE (University College Cork): Gender Troubles: Feminist organising in the North of Ireland, 1960-1996

While much has been written on the gendered effects of the war in Northern Ireland, less is known of the ways in which conflict has shaped or constrained feminist organising. Little has been written on the north from a social movement perspective and the history of women’s organising is very much contested. The intricacies and shapeshifting particular to the feminist movement remain hidden in favour of a focus on groups or initiatives like the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition, Peace People or the Women’s Support Network (Fearon 1999; Cockburn, 2003; Power 2011). This paper is part of wider research on feminist genealogy in the six counties, based on documentary research and in-depth interviews, charting feminist movement development during the Troubles and beyond. Though the North is a territory bounded by a vibrant feminist movement in mainland Britain and the rest of the island of Ireland we see a fractured feminist history in the six counties and a ‘movement’ unsupported by and much less organised than its sister movements across the border and the pond. To be sure, the logistics that accompany armed conflict played a role in dictating how social movement actors organised during this time. I argue, however, that upon closer inspection an unwillingness to engage in intersectional feminism is the most damaging determinant of feminist movement development in the north. I suggest that, in addition to the lack of support from feminists in southern Ireland or Britain, the adoption of a politics of avoidance and ‘bridge-building’ on pressing gender issues gravely undermined the feminist movement. This case is significant because it raises questions about misguided interpretations of intersectionality and the importance of intersectionality as a radical politics of difference.

Theresa O’Keefe is a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at University College Cork. Her research focuses on gender and protest, feminist resistance, political violence, and precarity. Her work has been published in International Feminist Journal of Politics, Feminist Review, Women’s Studies International Forum, Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, and National Identities. Her full-length book on feminism in the north of Ireland entitled Feminist Identity Development and Activism in Revolutionary Movements published by Palgrave Macmillan in November 2013. Theresa’s scholarship, teaching and engagement is rooted in a wider commitment to feminist egalitarian social change.

 

DOROTA SZELEWA (University College Dublin): Right-wing populism, gender, and social policies in Hungary and Poland

After the fall of state-socialism, conservative attitudes towards gender roles dominated the public debate in most of the East European countries. As aspiring to EU membership, Hungary and Poland reformed their legal systems adopting anti-discrimination law and the principles of gender mainstreaming. And yet, the legacy of this initial anti-feminist turn continued to influence social policies in the direction of re-familialization. But a more profound backlash against gender equality took place quite recently, when right-wing populist parties formed governments in these two countries. In the context of demographic decline, women started to be predominantly perceived through their reproductive functions. In Hungary, pro-natalist policies favouring cash transfers were intensified under the slogans of ‘demographic revolution of the middle class’ and blaming women for falling fertility rates. In Poland, aligned with the Catholic Church, the new government has openly attacked the notion of gender, while limiting access to emergency contraception, IVF treatment, and allowing the repeated attempts to introduce a complete abortion ban. The goal of this paper is to analyse recent reforms and discourses about gender roles as produced and activated by the right-wing populist governments in Hungary and Poland. My research strategy would be to apply the framework of discursive institutionalism, pointing to the role of crucial actors and ideational path-dependencies. My argument is that the recent developments in these policies and discourses are in line with the conservative climate for the development of social policies that already emerged during the period of transition and should be interpreted as re-building and strengthening national identities. Finally, as previous studies often focussed on Hungarian Polish comparison due to differences in their policy mixes, with Hungary being labelled ‘public maternalism’ and Poland – ‘private maternalism’, this paper demonstrates how the recent reforms contribute to transformation of Polish version of maternalism from ‘private’ to ‘public’.

Dorota Szelewa is currently a Lecturer in Social Justice at University College Dublin, School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice. Her main areas of expertise are: gender and public policy, migration, reproductive rights, comparative welfare state, political economy of East European transformation and the process of Europeanization. After completing her doctoral studies at the European University Institute in Florence, Dorota worked at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, at the Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences and at Warsaw University (Institute of Social Policy). Her recent publications include a chapter on the current developments in Polish family policies, an article on the impact of the Catholic Church on abortion law (Social & Legal Studies), the analysis of Poland as involved in a migration chain (Transfer) and a chapter introducing the concept of social investment.

 

PANEL 21

Postfeminism, Gender Subordination, TERF wars

HAYLEY FOX-ROBERTS: Talking Women: promoting meaningful discourse in the TERF wars

The presentation uses as core material Call me Woman: Trans Exclusion and Inclusion in the Women’s Movement (Fox-Roberts, 2017), a study of conflict between Trans activists and so-called Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists (TERFs) regarding the use of vaginas and ‘pussy hats’ as symbols of female power in protest rhetoric. Trans activists found this imagery exclusionary whilst many feminists welcomed the use of this image in the fight against the oppression of women. Talking Women explores this debate, questioning to what extent focusing discourse into the language of trans inclusive- or exclusive- actions upholds existing patriarchal constructs. Feminists are in a position to promote intersectionality whilst upholding identities and to use transdisciplinary perspectives to see where feminism and trans inclusion meet. The aim of this presentation is to stimulate debate on the ways language is used for, and against, women. It acknowledges that both extremist and reasonable views are present and asks where the meeting ground between these two sides may lie. The emphasis on using inclusive language involves a de-gendering of language, in turn upholding the patriarchal stance of women’s invisibility. The use of the vagina symbol, including its euphemistic sister the Pussy Hat, has questioned female identity and value. Further debate on this can benefit feminist strategic planning, provided the TERF Wars are opened up to moderate voices where feminists, queer theorists and activists contribute to current discourses that are respectful to all sides. The presentation takes the form of a paper, followed by an interactive discussion in which routes to discourse can be identified and activated.

Hayley Fox-Roberts is a poet, LGBT activist and researcher: her wide experience focuses on equality and inclusion, emphasising language as a tool for positive change. Her academic work focuses on gender and sexuality, particularly in the areas of exclusion, collaboration and creative development. Her experience in rural LGBT development includes establishing a ten-year Northwest LGBT Pride and as the first Regional LGBT Development worker in the Northwest and Border Counties of the Republic (LGBT Diversity, 2010-2012). Presentations, performances and workshops include Lesbian Lives conferences in University College Dublin and Brighton University (1999 – 2017); ‘Outing Exclusion, NLGF Conference 2013; ‘Young, Rural and Queer’ at the CRiSP Youth Conference, Sligo 2016; Wise Woman Weekend 2017, European Lesbian* Conference, Vienna 2017 and Cavan LGBT Youth Conference, February 2018. Her current work reflects her direction in developing creative strategies for communication and action within dyke communities and is linked to her MA in Sexuality Studies (2017).

 

SILVIA DIAZ-FERNANDEZ (Coventry University): Postfeminist sensibility in student’s talk on lad culture

‘Lad culture’ in Higher Education has become a pervasive and normalised part of everyday life in campuses across the UK. One of the characteristics of laddish behaviours is its group orientation and homosociality, which provide the basis for intimidating micro-aggressions, ‘rape jokes’ and in the most extreme cases, sexual assault. In this paper, I ask how postfeminist sensibility is inextricably linked to the emergence of lad culture. To do so, I draw on McRobbie’s (2009) formulation, where a postfeminist sensibility incorporates feminist ideas, only to repudiate them. Within this context, women become the objects of policing practices that seek to present them as empowered subjects while articulating highly gendered constructions of femininity. Drawing on these ideas, I ask: how are students’ subjectivities shaped by a lad culture that takes place in the context of postfeminist sensibility? In which ways do postfeminist discourses shape student’s experience of lad culture within the University? To address these questions, I analyse data collected with 11 University students. I demonstrate how the discourses of postfeminism permeate the student’s sense making. This was done in the participants talk in several ways, including: a discourse of ‘women’s empowerment’ and regulation of women’s bodies; a self-responsibilisation discourse; and, a desire in the student’s talk to not be seen as ‘unfeminine’ or ‘too serious”. I conclude by suggesting that even in otherwise critical student voices, the articulation of postfeminist sensibility does little to undermine campus-based sexism and misogyny, and, in fact, supports it, insofar as the power structures are re-gendered in traditional ways.

Silvia Diaz-Fernandez is a PhD candidate in the Centre for Postdigital Cultures, Coventry University, UK. Her research is concerned with mapping the ways affect and subjectivities are shaped in relation to lad culture in Higher Education. The research incorporates cooperative inquiry-based and participatory methodologies to explore experiences of misogyny and sexism within the University.

 

EIMEAR WALSHE (Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven): Cuckold Race, De/Colonisation, Intersectionality, Feminist Knowledge

Cuckold describes (more often) a man who either permits, tolerates, or enjoys his wife being sexual with other people. In turn, from this word, we get the abbreviated “Cuck”, first added to Urban Dictionary in 2007. Cuck reached a peak in usage in November 2016, popularised through alt-right online lexicon. It is an insult which equates having any left-leaning policies on the rights of migrant, women, or LGBT people, with the ‘perverse’ renunciation of control involved in cuckolding. It marks the domestic boundaries of the nuclear family under capitalism as analogous with the borders of the contemporary nation-state. It plays on an anxiety that loss of control of state equals the loss of control of women and vice versa, and produces a violent fear of being labelled a ‘cuck’, as exemplified by the murderous anxiety that pornographer Al Goldstein displays in his 1973 interview with Playboy Magazine? This image is extracted from of a photograph in the 2003 work New Sexual Lifestyles by Irish artist Gerard Byrne, the object of study for an upcoming research project with the Van Abbemuseum. This paper will examine Byrne’s work along with the cuckold narrative in Ulysses. It will examine what ways this word encapsulates the far right agendas of border control, and what political potential is there in examining or reclaiming the term “Cuck” as an ethics of operation based on empathy and deliberate renunciation of such controls?

Walshe is artist and writer specialising in feminist epistemology and queer theory, and research fellow at The Van Abbemusem, Eindhoven. Their work seeks to reconcile queer histories with personal or local narratives through research, writing and art practice, with reference to art history, auto-theory. Recent and forthcoming presentations of research at Photography/Archives/Ireland, DIT; Dublin; Precarious Subjects Conference, TCD; Basic Talks, The Hugh Lane Gallery; Pallas Periodical Review, Pallas Projects Dublin. Recent publications in Having a Kiki, Paper Visual Art; and Response to a Request; Galway Arts Centre; Trans Live Art Salon, TBGS; VAI Get Together IMMA; and the Visual Artist’s Workers Forum, Ormston House, Limerick

 

PANEL 22

Race, De/Colonisation, Intersectionality, Feminist Knowledge

ISABEL G. GAMERO (Universidad Nacional de la Plata, Argentina): Epistemic blindness: colonialism and feminist disputes

Following Medina and Fricker’s diagnosis on epistemic blindness, my aim is to clarify some conflicts that arise among feminists from different parts of the World, who have different vital experiences and belong to different trends. The main queries of this paper are: (1) Which conflicts might arise when Western feminists, close to liberal or hegemonic trends, refer to (or “utilise”) authors and concepts of counterhegemonic feminisms, such as Black or Latin feminisms, without taking into account the specificity of these trends? (2) How (or whether) these conflicts might be avoided (or solved) if it is considered that some Western Feminists (myself included) were epistemologically blind to these different contexts? (3) Does it mean that it is not possible to refer to these counterhegemonic theories from Europe or that there are not possible collaborations among feminisms from different parts of the World? One example of these conflicts is the polemic caused by the whitewashed image of Angela Davies in a poster (attached below) of the workshop “Feminism and Hegemony”, organised in the Complutense University of Madrid in 2018. Another example are the misunderstandings among Spanish and Argentinian feminists who organise the March 8th International Women’s Strike. This work is also the product of my experience as a Spanish woman who has lived in Mexico and Argentina and taken part in different feminist movements in these countries.

Grade in Philosophy (2008), Master in Philosophy (2010), Master in Social Anthropology (2013) and PhD in Philosophy (2014) in the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain). In 2015, contract with the Institut für Philosophie, Technischen Universität Berlin (Germany) to translate the work of Günter Abel from German into Spanish. In 2016, visiting teacher in the Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit (México) to teach Epistemology. I also organised a Feminist Reading Group there. Since 2017, Conicet Postdoctoral Researcher in the Universidad Nacional de la Plata (Argentina). My main lines of research are Epistemology, Theories of the Subjectivity/Subjectivation and Feminist Theories. Collaborator of the Instituto de Investigaciones Feministas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid and member of the collective of migrant women: Femigrantxs. My main publications are here: https://fahce.academia.edu/IsabelGamero

 

CAROLINE CHEUNG (University of Iowa, USA): Intersectionality or Collision: Sexual economics and the revolutionary spirit of adolescent girls

Intersectionality, a term developed by feminist scholar, activist, and critical race theorist Kimberle Crenshaw, posits that people experience oppression in coinciding ways: one’s racial discrimination affects their gender discrimination and vice versa. Systems of oppression overlap, so the movement to resist or revolutionize society must consider gender, sexuality, and race together; this is “intersectional feminism’s” goal. However, enacting intersectionality as a plan of resistance is complicated, because often gender, race, and sexuality aren’t just intersecting, but are also colliding. I address this collision by analyzing how economic status affects intersectionality for women in Ntozake Shange’s 1985 novel, Betsey Brown. Here, sexual opportunity is employed by and excluded from black girls and women of different economic statuses, which then makes them prioritize their gender or race identity. Acknowledging their racial, gender, and sexual identities all at once (in an intersect) is difficult and fleeting, but, as we’ll see, also revolutionizing. Incorporating Patricia Hill Collins’ and Angela Davis’ theories on black sexual politics during racial revolution and Paule Marshall’s 1959 novel, Brown Girl Brownstones, will further my analysis of intersectional politics. “Intersectionality” for adolescents of color doesn’t function as a mere theoretical model; instead the continual struggle to experience a simultaneous and harmonious intersect of their racial, sexual and gender identities, prepares these characters, particularly the adolescent girls, for social revolution.

I am a PhD candidate in English at the University of Iowa. My research examines abstract political uses of language, particularly in prison and detainment literature; I investigate how and why we must center these texts, as crucial social justice and decolonization pedagogy, for concrete sociopolitical progress and transformation. When I am not in school learning or teaching, I serve on the University of Iowa Graduate Student Senate, facilitate a healthy relationships program at the Iowa State Women’s Correctional Facility, prepare for my upcoming 5th degree black belt exam, and eat chocolate. A lot of chocolate.  

 

SARAH DUNNE (University College Dublin): Black or Feminist: the intersections of misogyny, race and antifeminist rhetoric pertaining to the Bill Cosby allegations

The intersections of race and sex historically depict a polarised and complex relationship which were only exacerbated by second wave feminist failures to incorporate the needs of Women of Colour into their politics. Through an analysis of data relating to the Bill Cosby rape allegations, this paper analyses how these intersections continue to undermine feminist politics through specifically racial rhetoric while reaffirming misogynistic dogma and manifestations of rape culture. The data, collected from Twitter during February 2016, depicts a notable correlation and polarisation between racial identity and feminist politics. The data analysed suggests a condition of loyalty from African-America men and, specifically, women. In challenging those who do not support Cosby’s cause, the implication is made that they forfeit their racial heritage and identities to a predominantly white and feminist movement. The implication that African-American women cannot identify as feminist not only reaffirms the schisms originating in the second wave but, furthermore, limits women’s options and freedoms while designating the feminist identity as undesirable. Within this equation, gender and sex are secondary to a racial identity which disputes feminist claims against Cosby. Further implicated within this already politically fraught issue is the figure of the “Black rapist” as an historically false myth utilised to justify excessive racial violence and mass lynching of Black men across the U.S.A. This paper will analyse how these intersections and historical events continue to influence rape allegations, gender politics and racial consciousness in the present day and what that means for a new feminist movement.

Sarah Anne Dunne is a third year doctoral candidate at University College Dublin. Her thesis examines how rape culture and feminist activism manifest on social networking sites and how rape and violence against women is currently discussed on these networks. Her research paper is currently being prepared for print in Gender Hate Online: Understanding the New Anti-Feminism.

 

ANA MARTIN (Ulster University): Intersectionality: a tool for the gender analysis in international criminal law

This research stems from gaps in conceptualizing “gender” both in international criminal law (ICL) theory and practice. Feminist legal scholars have been divided over “essentialism:” the representation of women’s universal gender identities and harms in ICL without erasing (reducing/limiting/essentializing) their cultural particularities such as ethnicity, religion, class, etc.. Yet, ICL needs to operationalize a gender analysis of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV), as stated by the Policy of the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, and reflected in the low number of successful prosecutions. This research deals with the topic of representing identities, harms and causes of SGBV crimes, in a way useful both for feminist theory and ICL practice. First, the study examines the gaps in feminist legal theory when conceptualizing gender. Then, it analyses ICL jurisprudence to understand what issues have hampered prosecutions of SGBV; revealing an alignment between the gaps in theory and in practice. Finally, the study applies “intersectionality”–a theory backed by post-structural feminist scholars– to the gaps identified. Intersectionality posits that the identities of individuals are multi-layered, which makes them vulnerable to experience multiple forms of discrimination and harms. This research finds that applying intersectionality to the analysis of SGBV crimes can help to understand (in a linear way): the causes, multiple identities and harms of SGBV. It concludes that intersectionaltiy should be incorporated as a tool to the analysis of SGBV because it fills gaps in ICL practice by building on feminist theory on gender.

Ana Martin is a human rights lawyer currently conducting PhD research at Transitional Justice Institute (Ulster University). Her research deals with the analysis of sexual and gender-based crimes; in particular, she looks into how intersectional discrimination can improve the gender analysis of international crimes during investigations and prosecutions. Ana has worked for organizations such as Amnesty International (Spain) on issues of transitional justice, and ECPAT International fighting the sexual exploitation of children. She holds a LLM in International Humanitarian Law (Geneva Academy) and a MSc in International Crimes in Criminology (Vrije University, Amsterdam).