12 November 2018 – from 4 to 6 pm, Sala del Capitolo (Badia Fiesolana)
Speaker: Lucy Nicholas (University of Swinburne)
Recent years have seen huge shifts in the way academics apply gender and queer theory, as well as the way people speak about femininity and masculinity in everyday life. Where exactly are we in the quest to understand gender identity better? What are the current developments in theory and how can these be applied to our way of thinking and being? In a two-part interactive event, Dr Lucy Nicholas of Swinburne University will share their research in two important avenues as well as discussing with participants the impact of gender on our day-to-day experiences in a variety of ways.
On the 12th of November, there will be a discussion from 16:00-18:00 in Sala Capitolo at Badia Fiesolana. This discussion will outline Dr Nicholas’ conceptual vision for ‘transcending’ notions of binary gender and the notion of physical dimorphism (i.e. bodily ‘sex’) that they are derived from. It will be an interactive talk, with participants able to bring questions, suggest everyday applications and share experiences. First, the argument with be justified by showing how they addressed the ‘diagnosis’ of the problem using queer theory, sociology, feminist biology and feminist ethics. This will demonstrate their intentional theoretical promiscuity, and how they went on to use Beauvoir’s ethics of ambiguity to propose an alternative mode of being and relating that may be able to transcend some of the limitations that sex/gender creates. Dr Nicholas will discuss some possible real-world practices that could aid in this and then discuss limitations and critiques. Dr. Nicholas will consider contemporary work from Judith Lorber and Barbara Risman that likewise questions the possibility of getting beyond gender, particularly through the proliferation of gender identities that we are witnessing in the present moment.
On the 14th of November, a second event will be held at the Scuola Normale Superiore (in Palazzo Strozzi), which is also open to EUI members (more information to come). Dr Nicholas will give a book presentation on their new publication: “The Persistence of Global Masculinism”. This book examines whether we are witnessing the resilience, persistence and adaptation of masculinist discourses and practices at both domestic and international levels in the contemporary global context. Beginning with an innovative conceptualisation of masculinism, the book draws on interdisciplinary work to analyse its contours and practices across four case studies.
The event is co-hosted by the LGBTQI+ Caucus at the EUI (sponsored by Dr Laura Lee Downs) and the Florence Intersectionality and Gender Working Group (FIG) at SNS. Both sessions are open to members of either university. To prepare for the event, you may find it useful to read one or both of the readings by Dr Nicholas that will be sent to those who register to attend.