A Brief Introduction to the Feminist Archive South. By Maria Fannin

The University of Bristol holds a unique collection of materials related to feminist and women’s liberation movements in the UK. The Feminist Archive South is based in the University’s Special Collections department where I have been working with a trustee of the archive, D-M Withers, to put together a teaching resource for lecturers who want to include materials from the archive in their teaching. The archive was established primarily through the work of activists who contributed their personal collections and by the acquisition of materials by feminist archivists on a vast array of topics. Most of the materials date from the period 1960-2000 and include everything from books, magazines, posters and personal letters to vinyl records, clothing, badges and other ephemera.

image(Photo credit: D-M Withers, 2017)

The collection was catalogued using the indexing system of the European Women’s Thesaurus. In archivists’ terms, a thesaurus provides a list of terms used to classify or index and locate information in libraries. As Tilly Vriend writes, the major classification systems such as the Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress systems are not neutral tools for organising and classifying information and materials, but reflect the particular presumptions of their creators and are the products of social and political forces. The Universal Decimal System has the more well-known examples of how sexism shapes the practices of indexing: in this system, “the term Women could be found under the category Morals and Customs, Menstruation under Medicine, and Lesbian women under categories such as Psychopaths and Hysterics” (Vriend 2009: 3). The European Women’s Thesaurus and its precursor, the Dutch Women’s Thesaurus, sought to explicitly reject these tendencies and generate new categories.

FAS Periodicals(Photo credit: D-M Withers, 2017)

The archive thus marks the important role that women’s libraries played as sources of information in an analogue age. In the heterogeneous array of materials brought together in the archive, we are also witness to the historical and geographical ‘event’ of bringing new kinds of political subjects into being. The archive contains the papers of several Bristol-based feminist activists, some of whom authored Half the Sky, one of the first British women’s and gender studies readers, published by Virago in 1979 and aimed at providing a resource for adult education courses in women’s studies. It holds print runs of magazines such as Mukti and FOWAAD written and published by black and Asian feminists in the UK to address sexism, racism and imperialism. There is material related to Greenham Common, guides for the volunteer pregnancy testers holding free pregnancy test clinics in an era before home testing, and so much more. My attention is drawn to the many materials related to ‘being a body’, including testimonials from the late 1970s of experiences of menstruation and volumes of leaflets and essays on feminist concerns over health and technology. Materials on birth, contraception, abortion, menopause, HIV/AIDS, drug use and cervical cancer are there, as well as organizational materials related to disability support groups, to the establishment of Well Women centres around the UK and to efforts to connect transnational feminist health activists with each other. And there is an intriguing account of architectural plans for feminist antenatal waiting rooms in the NHS!

The archive is in need of extensive cataloguing, so in addition to generating examples of how material in the archive can be used for teaching, we hope to secure resources to help carry out this important work. Our aim is to also incorporate collective annotation in the next phase of the archive’s life as a digital resource in which readers in the archive provide their own descriptions of materials in the catalogue to be shared with others.  This corresponds to the collective and revolutionary spirit that animated the feminist archive at its inception – to preserve and sustain alternative sources of knowledge and experience. In this way, we are exploring how theories of digital culture (Withers 2015) and the ‘social scientist in the archive’ (Moore et al. 2016) can contribute to making the archive a community and communal resource for educators, researchers and activists. D-M and I will be presenting our work in and on the Feminist Archive South at a workshop on ‘Making School in the Age of the Screen’ at Liverpool Hope University on the 26-27 May 2017 and at a public exhibition as part of the University of Bristol’s Brigstow Institute on the 23-24 October 2017.  If you’re in Bristol, you can visit the archive by contacting the wonderful Special Collections librarians or come to one of our upcoming ‘Collective Annotation’ workshops in June and July 2017. And do get in touch if you want to know more!

Dr Maria Fannin is from the School of Geographical Studies at the University of Bristol.

Contact: m.fannin@bristol.ac.uk

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Upcoming events: 9th-10th June 2017, Genesis of a New Human Being with Luce Irigaray, University of Bristol

Genesis of a New Human Being with Luce Irigaray

1 ½ day conference

9-10 June 2017

University of Bristol, BS8 1TU

To Be Born

Philosopher Luce Irigaray’s new book To Be Born (Palgrave, 2017) offers a new way of conceiving what it means to be born. This conference explores birth, breath, the nature of origins, and the concept of being. Luce Irigaray is joined by an interdisciplinary group of scholars exploring different approaches to the themes in To Be Born.

Luce Irigaray is one of the most important thinkers of our time. She is director of research in philosophy at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris and author of more than thirty books translated into numerous languages, the most recent of which are Sharing the World (2008), In the Beginning, She Was (2012) and with Michael Marder, Through Vegetal Being (2016).

£40 standard | £30 students/concessions

Programme and registration details here: https://tinyurl.com/kovaagg

How to Give Birth to a New Human Being

Luce Irigaray

A Bristol Festival of Ideas Public Lecture and Discussion

9 June 2017


Peel Lecture Theatre, University of Bristol, Bristol, BS8 1SS

Philosopher Luce Irigaray’s most recent book, To Be Born (2017), offers a new way of conceiving what it means to be born and to give birth.

Join Luce Irigaray for an exploration of the mystery of our birth, the nature of existence and the responsibilities that being born entail for ourselves and our relations with others.

A Bristol Festival of Ideas event aimed at inspiring discussion and debate. 

£7 standard | £6 students/concessions | Free to ‘Genesis of a New Human Being’ conference attendees

Registration opens 17 May 2017 here: http://shop.bris.ac.uk/ (search ‘To Be Born’)


Luce Irigaray’s lecture is part of a series of events at the University of Bristol in June 2017 on To Be Born, including a conference from the 9-10 June, open to all, on the theme of ‘Genesis of a New Human Being:’ https://tinyurl.com/kovaagg

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Friday 21st July, RGS, London. Postgraduate Workshop: Reflecting on Qualitative Methods

Friday 21st July 10.00am – 4.30pm

Royal Geographical Society, London



Need some help working out your methodology?

Want to learn more about the RGS and it’s research groups?

Or just want to meet some other PhDs and chat through your ideas?

This workshop is designed to help students at the beginning of their PhD journeys to think critically about their methods and methodology and offer a space to meet and chat with other students in an informal atmosphere in the beautiful RGS building in central London.


Session Details

Innovative research methods & methodologies – an active participatory session thinking about how to innovate and make methods effective for ‘real life’ research.

Be Critical! – Round table exercise designed to encourage critical thought around research methods their implications.



10.00 – Registration and casual networking (Coffee/Tea Provided)

10.30 – Introduction (Given by the Postgraduate representatives for the research groups)

10.45 – Key note speaker

12.00 – Lunch and networking

13.00 – Innovative research methods & methodologies

14.15 – Tea break and Networking

14.30 – Be Critical! Round table discussion

15.45 – Closing words


The Cost of the day including lunch is £12 per person.

For more information please contact Eve at eveleigh.buck@gmail.com

To book please visit the Eventbrite page.

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Privilege and Gentrification: The Politics of Pushing Back. By Erin Sanders-McDonagh

One in a series of short pieces demonstrating the diverse research in gender and feminist geographies.   To comment or to write a post yourself, please contact our Web Coordinator, Louise Rondel at l.rondel@gold.ac.uk  We welcome posts by all members of the GFGRG.

I recently had what my best friend now calls ‘my Baltimore rant’ on Facebook. Having grown up in the suburbs of Baltimore, many of my friends from High School and University moved from the ‘burbs to live in this rapidly changing city on the east coast of America. Many of you will know Baltimore from The Wire, and your impressions of the city, portrayed in this gritty urban drama, will not be unfounded, with concerns about recent trends in rising crime rates being reported by international papers like the New York Times.

The rant stemmed from a recent Facebook post from an old friend that caught my eye. He and his wife had moved from the outskirts of northern Virginia, an area that has become increasingly expensive in the past decade, and had taken advantage of a new scheme in Baltimore called ‘Vacants to Value’. At first I was curious – the pictures of the row house he had bought certainly seemed run down – he had lived in a gated apartment block with a pool the last time I had seen him. This run down building seemed a bit unusual. And then I realized he had actually bought two row houses. And was building an enormous house from these vacant properties with the help of the scheme, breaking through the two houses to create a new, very beautiful and tastefully designed home for his growing family.

I started looking into the details of the scheme, and realized that these houses were not simply vacant. They were vacant for a reason. And then I had my rant.

Erin blog pic

Perhaps my rant was unfair – as it clearly implicated my friend, who had benefitted from the poverty and devastation of the black community in Baltimore. Indeed, my ire was less about my friend, and more about a policy that has allowed the already middle-class to take advantage of such schemes. Having grown up in a single-parent, working-class family, we didn’t have enough money to buy meat at the supermarket, or new clothes from department stores (shopping at the local thrift store for most of our clothing), but my prudent, hard-working mother was able to buy her own house after a decade of saving with the help of a grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. While HUD has continued to help some of the poorest Americans buy houses over the past years, it looks as if the Department will be gutted completely under Trump, meaning that those with the requisite capital are now able to take advantage of schemes that reinforce the growing gap between the rich and the poor, while the poor are screwed.

My college degree, paid for in large part by the largesse of the federal government (a luxury that students from low-income families like myself no longer have) has allowed me to climb that ever-more-elusive social ladder to the middle class. I have the privilege of a permanent full-time post in a wonderful academic institution in the UK, I own a car and a house (with a mortgage) in London. I live with my partner, who came from a small rural village in Ireland, from a family with a small cattle farm, whose mother knitted sweaters on a loom in their home to make extra money for their family of four. We eat pesto and smoked salmon (things neither of us had ever heard of growing up), and have prosecco at dinner parties (something we had never tried until our mid-twenties). We are now firmly, solidly middle class and we have profited from the changes to the area of north London where we live, an area that is also being gentrified.

Yes, I almost certainly benefit from the increasing money being spent on tearing down social housing in my area, and from the new flats that seem to appear almost overnight. Many of us writing about gentrification often benefit from these changes, either through increased house prices in areas that we could afford before gentrification started (but would not be able to buy, or even rent now), or through enjoying spaces in the city that have been created specifically for those privileged enough to be earning a middle class salary (even if we don’t consider ourselves to be middle class). But we have a responsibility to push back, through research and teaching, and through talking with friends (without ranting directly at them) about social issues and poverty.  The findings that characterize almost all the research I have conducted over the past decade – mostly with marginalized communities in England – have had a unique commonality that exacerbates violence, isolation, and social stigma:  poverty. My work suggests that a sustained lack of public sector funding for issues that overwhelmingly affect the most deprived communities is creating an increasingly unequal society. Those in the poorest areas are the most at risk, and whether we are talking about gentrification in London, or Vacants-to-Value in Baltimore, those with sufficient modes of capital must push back against policies that allow the process of gentrification that further marginalizes the already marginalized. Through these means (amongst others) we can try to make some small difference.

Dr Erin Sanders-McDonagh is from the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent.

Contact: E.Sanders-McDonagh@kent.ac.uk

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Who cares? The gendering of informal caring practices in a hospital-setting. By Katherine Morton

One in a series of short pieces demonstrating the diverse research in gender and feminist geographies.   To comment or to write a post yourself, please contact our Web Coordinator, Louise Rondel at l.rondel@gold.ac.uk  We welcome posts by all members of the GFGRG.

I have recently finished twelve months of fieldwork in the NHS, examining care of chronic lung disease patients. This has involved medical ethnography in emergency departments and respiratory wards in hospitals in England and Wales, and interviews with health professionals, patients and carers. My role as a geographer in the context of applied health research has raised a number of challenges and opportunities. One such opportunity has been to integrate geographical approaches with quality improvement methodologies and service evaluation in the public health sector.

In the context of healthcare, existing geographical approaches have included feminist critiques of the gendered nature of care, and the body work and emotional labour which it entails (Dyer et.al., 2008; Batnizky and McDowell, 2011). In an acute context, the emotional labour of nurses (Mauno et.al., 2016), doctors (Kerasidou and Horn, 2016) and healthcare assistants (Lovatt. et.al. 2015) has been addressed. This has been framed in temrs of the positive contribution such labour makes to patients, as well as the wellbeing ‘cost’ to healthcare professionals. Through preliminary analysis of observational and interview study data, a pertinent issue which has emerged is the formation of informal structures of care which families and/or friends often form in times of crisis. These informal and less visible care practices emerge- or adapt- in response to an unexpected admission to hospital. By ‘informal’, I mean that these individuals are not recognised within financial, legal or political frameworks as patient ‘carers’.

Such informal practices of care giving involve friends and/ or family adopting a range of responsibilities including liaising with health professionals about treatment plans, medication, and concerns about patient condition; researching patient illness/treatment/prognosis (and often developing an informal medical expertise); providing patients with transportation, clothing, toiletries, food and reading materials; and of course, providing emotional support to patients. These informal care practices appear to be particularly valuable around patient discharge, supporting the patient in the transition back to the community.

Clearly, such informal care is of enormous benefit to patient wellbeing, but often places a significant burden on the ‘care-giver’, in terms of finance, time, and carer wellbeing. Carers spoke of the demands of this role, reflecting on challenges of negotiating these responsibilities with other caring roles, such as parenting, paid employment and self-care. They also discussed the guilt they felt at having to manage this role at the cost of other responsibilities, and not necessarily being able to commit ‘enough’ time to patient care. These respondents were almost exclusively mothers, sisters, daughters and female friends of patients.

In an overstretched and underfunded NHS, where staff are expected to meet difficult targets with limited resources, the provision of informal structures of care seems more pertinent than ever. The un-quantified contribution that friends and family play in supporting patient care requires further attention. Examination of the hierarchies of power in which informal care is situated, as well as the identity politics of such care will be two avenues that further analysis will explore.

Dr Katherine Morton from the School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol is a member of the GFGRG.

Contact: k.morton@bristol.ac.uk

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The Gender Shocks from Nagaland. By Gaurav Sikka

One in a series of short pieces demonstrating the diverse research in gender and feminist geographies.   To comment or to write a post yourself, please contact our Web Coordinator, Louise Rondel at l.rondel@gold.ac.uk  We welcome posts by all members of the GFGRG.

This blog post is an initial reaction to a gender regressive step taken by the Nagaland government under the pressure of some of the ideologues according to whom, Naga women cannot collectively assert their rights and take decisions. These ideologues argue that the traditional customary practices never envisaged a political role for women in Naga tribal society. Therefore, the age-old patriarchy and gender rights are at loggerheads over the issue of women’s reservation in the urban local bodies in Nagaland.

The 74th amendment of the Constitution of India in 1993 has provided for reservation for women (at least 33 percent of the seats) in the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) across India. However, states like Nagaland were kept out of its purview on the premise that the tribal communities here practiced an egalitarian way of life where men and women had equal rights (Mukhim, 2017). However, a closer look at traditional tribal governance system reveals that women’s voices in the tribal meetings were represented by the male members of the families. Another paradox was that while women can attend those meetings, they cannot hold offices in those traditional bodies, ultimately curtailing the rights of womenfolk to participate in the decision making.

In 2006, after 13 years of the passage of 74th Amendment Act by the Parliament of India, the Nagaland State Assembly passed the Nagaland Municipal (First Amendment) Act, which provided for a 33 percent reservation of seats for Naga women.   However, nothing happened and status quo was maintained because this was opposed by Naga Hoho, an apex body of Naga tribal chiefs on the pretext that the reservation for women violates Article 371A of the Constitution of India which bestows protection to the Naga customary laws and practices. Nonetheless, as Urban Local Bodies are not customary institutions, the move to reserve seats for women in them does not violate the constitution.  Moreover, this argument, implausible and flimsy in nature, is put forth to preserve the patriarchal character of the Naga society and to prevent men from getting ‘inferiority complex when women are given equal status as men in decision-making bodies’ (Acharyya, 2017).

Eventually, the courts of the land intervened after a plea by a Naga women’s group and elections to the ULBs were ordered in January 2017 after the due reservation of seats for women. However, these efforts were bogged down by a violent agitation by Naga men who went on the rampage, vandalised public property and paralyzed the functioning of the state of Nagaland against the 33 percent reservation for women. Even the Naga women leaders were intimidated and attacked. The state government has buckled under the pressure following a violent agitation and has taken a U-turn and surrendered to the male-dominated Naga tribal bodies by declaring the entire election process null and void. Unfortunately, this retrograde move of depriving Naga women of their constitutional political rights has far reaching implications on gender equality in the Nagaland state and the rest of India. As evident from this development, it will not be incorrect to say that the politics have failed to correct social biases.

It is important to note here that Nagaland has a majority of the Christian population, 88 percent as per Census of India 2011. Therefore, the role of the church – another male-centric institution that also dominates the public discourse – needs to be questioned against the backdrop of the ongoing crisis.

The present crisis has made evident gender fault lines, has raised questions of identity and gender in a Naga society that has gone berserk to preserve its patriarchal character and has exposed the egalitarian notion of Naga tribal society.

Further readings

Acharyya, K.,  “Nagaland civic polls: Naga tribes to boycott elections to protest 33% reservation for women” in Firstpost on January 5, 2017 accessed at http://www.firstpost.com/india/nagaland-civic-polls-naga-tribes-to-boycott-elections-to-protest-33-reservation-for-women-3190086.html

Mukhim, P., “Tradition, Democracy and Gender” in The Hindu on February 10, 2017

Punj, B., “Selective Amnesia of Gender Rights Activists” in The Pioneer on February 13, 2017

Staff Reporter, “Nagaland Says No To Gender Equality” in Deccan Herald on February 11, 2017 accessed at http://www.deccanherald.com/content/595852/nagaland-says-no-gender-equality.html

Gaurav Sikka is a PhD Research Scholar at the Department of Geography, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi (India). He holds positions on the steering committee of International Geographical Union Task Force for Young and Early Career Geographers and the executive committee of Royal Geographical Society Gender & Feminist Geographies Research Group. Presently, Gaurav is teaching at the Department of Geography, Aditi Mahavidyalaya, University of Delhi.

Contact: gauravsikkageo@gmail.com

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From the ‘Global Gag Rule’ to Feminist Twitter Diplomacy. By Dr Katherine Brickell

One in a series of short pieces demonstrating the diverse research in gender and feminist geographies.   To comment or to write a post yourself, please contact our Web Coordinator, Louise Rondel at l.rondel@gold.ac.uk  We welcome posts by all members of the GFGRG.

trump pic

(photo credit: @FERF via Twitter)

On January 23 2017 President Trump sat in the Oval Office of the White House surrounded by his male staffers having signed a decree. Described by Amnesty International (2017) as ‘a devastating blow for women’s rights’, the ‘global gag rule’ bars US federal funding for all overseas organisations involved in abortion advice or care. The rule – also known as the Mexico City Policy – was first instated by Ronald Reagan´s administration in 1984, and has been traditionally rejected by Democrat administrations only to be reinstated by Republican Presidents (see Crane and Dusenberry 2004 for a historical overview). The rule has significant implications for women living in countries that depend heavily on development assistance for family planning and reproductive health services. Multiple studies in Sub-Saharan African countries haven shown that the Bush administration’s (2001-2009) re-instating of the global gag rule after Bill Clinton’s rescinding of it had a paradoxical effect, resulting in the increase of abortion rates (see studies by Bendavid 2011 and Jones 2011). The ‘Global Gag Rule’ is:

an inhumane policy that will undermine women’s rights, damage health systems and increase unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and maternal and newborn deaths around the world. Trump’s Global Gag Rule is an export of domestic anti-woman tactics that will not only severely restrict access to abortion, but will result in health care providers being forced to cut services, increase fees, and even close clinics altogether.’ (PAI.org)

A week after photographs were taken of Donald Trump, Isabella Lövin, Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, released a Tweet of herself signing a climate law surrounded by her closest female aids, including a pregnant colleague.

swedish pic

(photo credit: @IsabellaLovin via Twitter)

This act echoes a feminist geopolitics that emphasizes the body and intimacy as sites of resistance to a wider politic. A feminist assertion of ‘Twitter diplomacy’ attracting 71,000 ‘likes’ the photograph brings into focus the gendered geopolitics of lawmaking which warrants further attention in future work in order to bring into greater focus the experiences and practices of female lawmakers ‘hidden in plain view’. The example of the feminist politician’s Tweet is one example of how the internet and social media can be harnessed as a means of solidarity building across space, or to quote Manuel Castells (2012), function as a network of ‘outrage and hope’. As my RHUL colleague Alasdair Pinkerton writes with Matt Benwell in their 2014 journal article on creative geopolitics, Twitter and social media,

‘…we might question the kind of geopolitical work these creative geopolitical devices can do alongside traditionaldiplomatic practices and how their production, ownership and dissemination might break down distinctions between formal, practical and popular geopolitics.’

At the 2016 RGS-IBG conference Dana Cuomo and I co-convened three sessions on ‘feminist legal geography’ (sponsored by GFGRG). We are current taking this work forward through co-writing on the notion of ‘feminist geolegality’ – an agenda that interrogates the connections between gender, law and space and their geopolitical and geoeconomic machinations. We are currently taking this work forward through co-writing on the gendered geopolitics of lawmaking forms the basis of my Philip Leverhulme Prize which runs from 2017-2019.

Dr Katherine Brickell from the Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London is the current chair of the GFGRG.

Contact: katherine.brickell@rhul.ac.uk

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DEADLINES EXTENDED: Call for Papers for the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, 29th August – 1st September, London

royal-geographical-society-e74fab583c29d0500cc66c6ee40f620aPhoto source: visitlondon.com

The Gender and Feminist Geographies Research Group (GFGRG) is sponsoring the following sessions at the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, 29th August – 1st September, London

For the full abstracts and submission details see below.

The Costs of Decolonizing the Discipline

Convenors: Abigail Neely (Dartmouth College) and Patricia Lopez (Dartmouth College)

Submission deadline: Friday 3rd February 2017

Innovative research within Gender and Feminist Geography

Convenors: Eveleigh Buck-Matthews (Coventry University) and Heather Jeffrey (University of Bedfordshire)

Submission deadline:  Wednesday 1st February 2017

Que(e)rying Gender and Tourism Research

Convenors: Eveleigh Buck-Matthews (Coventry University), Jaeyon Choe (Bournemouth University), Claudia Eger (University of Warwick), Heather Jeffrey (University of Bedfordshire) and Caroline Scarles (University of Surrey)

Extended deadline: Tuesday 14th February

Transformative Stories: Trauma, Therapeutic Geographies and Hope

Convenors:  Jo Little (University of Exeter) and Lia Bryant (University of South Australia)

Extended deadline: Friday 10th February

Rethinking decolonial and postcolonial knowledges beyond regions

Convenors:  Priti Ramamurthy (University of Washington) and Kiran Asher (University of Massachusetts)

Extended deadline: Wednesday 15th February

Safe space

Convenors: Janet Bowstead (Royal Holloway, University of London, RHUL), Katherine Brickell (RHUL), Mary Cobbett Ondiek (University of York) and Naomi Graham (RHUL)

Submission deadline: Tuesday 31st January 2017


The Costs of Decolonizing the Discipline

Session conveners: Abigail H. Neely and Patricia J. Lopez (Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, USA)

Session sponsor: Gender and Feminist Geographies Research Group (GFGRG)


In recent years there have been a number of calls and efforts to decolonize the discipline of geography. Stemming from a recognition of its colonial roots and their effects on who gets to produce and what counts as scholarly knowledge, a number of programs have sought to increase collaborations among scholars and institutions in the Global North and the Global South, with indigenous communities, and in conjunction with community-based social movements. Feminist geographers have taken the lead in many of these efforts to decolonize academic work, questioning the divisions between theory and empirics, praxis and knowledge, and taking their work beyond the university. But these lessons are rarely, if ever, incorporated into mainstream efforts of the discipline, as scholars and their collaborators often come up against the academy’s multiple neoliberal formations.

This RGS-IBG paper session seeks to examine how and why this marginalization takes place in an effort to imagine alternative emancipatory futures. We are looking for papers, rooted in experience, that address some of the barriers to decolonizing geographic knowledge. We ask: What are the ways in which scholars are disciplined to reproduce knowledge from the Global North?  What counts as decolonizing knowledge?  What counts as knowledge from the South? Where is the South? Whose work counts as knowledge production in geography? Our questions are designed to open up conversations in multiple directions, linking multiple sites. We imagine these papers might include such diverse topics as: decolonizing the classroom and new pedagogical methods; challenges to publishing work produced through new collaborations; activism on campuses and beyond, etc. We welcome paper proposals on different topics as well.

If you are interested in presenting a research paper, please send titles and abstracts of approximately 250 words to Abigail Neely abigail.h.neely@dartmouth.edu and Patricia Lopez patricia.j.lopez@dartmouth.edu by 3rd February 2017.


Innovative research within Gender and Feminist Geography 


Session convenor: Eveleigh Buck-Matthews (Centre for Trust, Peace & Social Relations, Coventry University) and Heather Jeffrey (University of Bedfordshire)

Session sponsor: Gender and Feminist Geographies Research Group (GFGRG)

These sessions are aimed at postgraduates and early career researchers who would like an opportunity to present their research in a supportive academic environment, and at researchers at all stages of their careers that are interested in presenting papers that actively engage with discussions on methodological innovations in the field of feminist and gender geography.

‘Gender and Feminist Geographies’ is intended to cover a broad spectrum of research; papers are welcome from any area of feminist and gender geographical inquiry, with the aim of bringing together current and emerging themes, issues and approaches. Papers would are especially welcome that explore how both postcolonial and de-colonial thinking may shape research methods, in line with this year’s conference theme.

Researchers at any stage in their research process are welcome, making the session a great opportunity for early career and post-graduate researchers to get experience presenting their work to an encouraging audience. The sessions will provide a great space to meet and discuss ideas with other researchers in a friendly and relaxed environment.

We are currently seeking contributors for the following sessions:

Sessions 1: Paper presentations: involving five presentations each lasting around 15 minutes with time for questions

Sessions 2: Snapshot presentations: involving ten to fifteen presentations each lasting 2 minutes with the option to use pictures, which will be followed by an open discussion. Whilst this session is open to anyone, we hope it will provide opportunity to those not ready to present full papers to engage in the conference and get feedback on their research ideas. This session is also suitable to those wishing to explore the possibilities and relevance of gender and feminist theory to their research.

Please send abstracts (approx. 250 words) and indication of preferred session to Heather Jeffrey Heather.Jeffrey@beds.ac.uk by  February 1st 2017.


Que(e)rying Gender and Tourism Research

Extended deadline: Tuesday 14th February

Session convenors: Eveleigh Buck-Matthews (Coventry University), Dr Jaeyon Choe, (Bournemouth University), Dr Claudia Eger (University of Warwick), Heather Jeffrey (University of Bedfordshire) and Dr Caroline Scarles (University of Surrey)

Session sponsors: Geographies of Leisure and Tourism Research Group (GLTRG) and Gender and Feminist Geographies Research Group (GFGRG)

There is a growing body of knowledge concerned with gender and tourism, but still many voices remain unheard. Feminists are as varied as the subjectivities they so often research, but are joined together within a common emancipatory project. Queer theory can aid in an emancipatory project by destabilising foundational assumptions of normality (de Souza, Brewis & Rumens, 2016; Rumens & Tyler, 2016), and yet it has received little attention from tourism scholars. This session is designed to engage participants in a critical conversation on gender and feminism within tourism, hospitality and events research, to explore contentious issues among feminists and pave the way for collaboration. Papers concerning any aspect of gender within tourism, hospitality and events research are invited, as well as papers investigating multiple voices and perspectives within gender and tourism, which may relate to but not be confined by the following areas:

  • Female hosts as guests and the reification of roles
  • Masculinities in tourism, hospitality, and events
  • LGBTQ voices in tourism, hospitality, and events
  • Casual/precarious gendered workers
  • Postcolonial feminism and subaltern studies in tourism
  • Insights from queer theory for gender and tourism
  • Feminist theory and practice


We are currently seeking contributions for a paper presentation session involving five presentations each lasting around 15 minutes with time for questions. The presentation may be executed in a traditional or innovative style, and we actively encourage a wide range of styles; including snapshots and pechakucha.

Please send abstracts (approx. 250 words) with author contact details to Heather Jeffrey heather.jeffrey@beds.ac.uk


Transformative Stories: Trauma, Therapeutic Geographies and Hope

Extended deadline: Friday 10th February

Session conveners: Jo Little (University of Exeter) and Lia Bryant (University of South Australia)

Session sponsors: Gender and Feminist Geographies Research Group (GFGRG) and Geographies of Health and Wellbeing Research Group


Geographers have become very familiar with the use of story telling as a methodology for engaging with the everyday detail of people’s lives, for giving voice to those ignored in the research process and for highlighting the importance of emotion in geographical understanding.  Feminist geographers in particular have drawn on stories to articulate powerlessness and exclusion.  The telling and re-telling of stories is encouraged as therapeutic to the story teller and as transformative in harnessing a politics of hope.  As has been observed, however, there are risks involved in the telling of traumatic stories.  As Parr and Stevenson (2014) note, there is always a fear that such stories may render the researcher complicit in promoting a voyeuristic interest which could help create and reinforce ‘wound cultures’, valorizing trauma and encouraging the re-circulation of stigma.  In this session we wish to explore the transformative potential of stories and look at ways in which stories and storytelling uncover new geographical insights into difficult lives.  We wish to draw attention, potentially, to the unpredictable nature and outcomes of story telling both for the subject and the researcher.

Possible papers might explore:

  • Stories, pain and emotion
  • Gender, story telling and feminist methodologies
  • Stories of violence and abuse
  • Hopeful stories and the role of stories in transformative politics
  • Concerns about audiencing and the ‘use’ of difficult stories
  • The potential of storytelling in understanding different worlds
  • Wellbeing and the therapeutic role of storytelling

Please send offers of papers (titles and abstracts of 300 words) to Jo Little j.k.little@exeter.ac.uk


Rethinking decolonial and postcolonial knowledges beyond regions

Extended deadline: Wednesday 15th February

Session convenors: Priti Ramamurthy (University of Washington) and Kiran Asher (University of Massachusetts)

We seek to rethink “regions” as theoretical sources and facilitate a “South-South” exchange and critical dialogue about what post- and de-colonial feminisms as “anti-colonial” approaches bring to geographical knowledges in two roundtables sponsored by GFGRG.  The conference Decolonizing Geographical Knowledges: Opening geography out to the world, supposes that “western” geographical knowledges need to be decolonized. While this remains a worthy cause today, it continues to hold the “west” at the center of knowledge production. This centrality has been questioned by approaches concerned with the decolonization of knowledge.  Decolonial and postcolonial feminisms foreground how raced and gendered colonial practices constituted “Eurocentric” or modern forms of knowledge production which marginalize other forms of knowing and being in the world.  Decolonial feminism has been associated with scholars of settler colonialism in Latin America and the Caribbean, and more recently North America.  On the other hand postcolonial feminism has been linked with scholarship on the politics of representation, hybridity and migration regionally associated with South Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Postcolonial approaches are understood to be “deconstructive,” while decolonial ones are commonly thought to be “constructive” or solution oriented.


We invite scholars of decolonial feminisms in Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe and North America to send a one-para description of why they would like to participate and a brief bio to the session convenors: Kiran Asher kasher@umass.edu and Priti Ramamurthy priti@uw.edu 


Safe Space

Session conveners: Janet Bowstead (Royal Holloway, University of London, RHUL), Katherine Brickell (RHUL), Mary Cobbett (University of York) and Naomi Graham (RHUL)


A place or environment in which a person or category of people can feel confident that they will not be exposed to discrimination, criticism, harassment, or any other emotional or physical harm’.

‘school must be a safe space for LGBT students’

‘her shows are described as safe spaces where crying is acceptable and even encouraged’

‘women’s refuges provided a safe space for victims of domestic violence’

(English Oxford Living Dictionary, 2016)


In the RGS-IBG conference sessions, we wish to open up critical discussion on ‘safe space’ – a label and practice which in 2016 has attracted celebration, derision and controversy at the highest of political levels. We contend that safe space raises a series of urgent academic questions of relevance across sub-fields of geography. How is safe space imagined, designated, deployed, materialised, co-opted, and experienced by different actors, institutions and governments? What are the positive as well as putative effects of safe space in its multiple guises? How are safe spaces materially and/or emotionally manifest, maintained and endangered? What power geometries do safe spaces exclude and harbour? What are the (shifting) everyday geopolitics of safe spaces?

Our call is deliberately broad, with suggestions including but not limited to: the origins and lineage of the concept; ‘women-only’ and ‘girl-only’ spaces, programmes and interventions; queer safe spaces of belonging and community; schools, university campuses and pedagogy; safe havens and sanctuary cities; safe refuges from violence (domestic violence shelters, panic rooms etc.), war and destruction (the bunker, hospital etc.); digital safe spaces (‘Hugbox’ internet environments and cyber/space safety).

We are looking for titles and abstracts of 300 words to be sent to Janet Bowstead Janet.Bowstead@rhul.ac.uk by 31st January 2017.

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Call for session proposals for the RGS-IBG 2017 Annual Conference

Call for session proposals

The RGS-IBG Gender and Feminist Geographies Research Group (GFGRG) would like to invite expressions of interest for sponsored sessions for the RGS-IBG 2017 Annual Conference, which will take place in London, between Tues 29th Aug – Fri 1st Sept 2017.

The theme for the 2017 Annual Conference, Chaired by Professor Sarah Radcliffe, is Decolonizing Geographical Knowledges: Opening geography out to the world. For more information please visit: http://www.rgs.org/WhatsOn/ConferencesAndSeminars/Annual+International+Conference/Conference+theme.htm

‘Gender and Feminist Geographies’ is intended to cover a broad spectrum of research and session proposals are welcomed from any area of gender and feminist geographical inquiry.

GFGRG is able to sponsor 12 sessions and you are welcome to propose joint sessions to be co-sponsored by another research group. Each session time slot is 100 minutes but is flexible in its format – from standard paper presentations with or without discussant(s) to panel discussions etc.

Advice from the conference organisers for session convenors:
•For timetabling purposes, an individual may not normally make more than two substantive contributions to the conference programme (paper presenter, panel member, discussant, etc.). For individuals proposing multiple co-authored papers, an alternative presenter must be clearly nominated at the time of submitting the session/paper.
•A session may not normally occupy more than two timeslots. Any session organiser requiring more than two timeslots is encouraged to discuss with conference organisers.
•Session organisers are encouraged to consider formats to allow for more discussion, but should ensure that they have sufficient confirmed contributors to allow the session to go ahead if one or two withdraw. For paper sessions, we will consider those with four papers provided there are contingencies for replacing papers should any contributors withdraw. For sessions with fewer than five papers, all presenters must register by the early-bird registration deadline so that the session can be confirmed.

Please send expressions of interest including the proposed session title and abstract (250-300 words including bullet points of specific subthemes if you wish), name(s) of convenor(s), as well as the preferred session format (e.g. papers, panel discussion etc) to us by Monday 5th December 2016.

Please forward enquiries and session proposals to:
Ailie Tam (GFGRG Secretary) a.tam@eau.ac.uk

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Funding opportunities for MA and PhD students

The RGS-IBG Postgraduate Forum have put together a list of funding opportunities for MA and PhD students.

Please see their website for more details.

With thanks to the Forum for compiling this truly excellent resource.

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