Rosi Braidotti, Utrecht University, the Netherlands. Marja-Liisa Honkasalo, Linköping University, Sweden - PDF

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Keynote speakers Rosi Braidotti, Utrecht University, the Netherlands Sarah Franklin, London School of Economics, UK Marja-Liisa Honkasalo, Linköping University, Sweden Priscilla Wald, Duke University,

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Keynote speakers Rosi Braidotti, Utrecht University, the Netherlands Sarah Franklin, London School of Economics, UK Marja-Liisa Honkasalo, Linköping University, Sweden Priscilla Wald, Duke University, USA Organized by Gender Studies / Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies / University of Helsinki And the research project Representing and Sensing Nature, Landscape and Gender / Academy of Finland Contact information Tel Fax Erika Alm Umeå University Sweden Feminist Readings of Intersex Materiality This paper explores the theoretical field commonly referred to as new materialism and the theoretical discussions generated within feminist academia through a specific case study: intersex bodies. Intersex bodies have, historically, been described in dehumanizing and pathologizing terms. Feminist scholars have worked hard, alongside intersex activists and clinicians, to challenge these descriptions, and reform the medical management of intersex; challenging not only the biomedical framing of intersex, through questioning the very concept of sexual dimorphism, but also the psychological theories underpinning intersex management, such as the assumption that an intersex child might develop a problematic (i.e. not stable) gender identity if corrective surgery is delayed. In other words: within feministic discourse intersex bodies have been a site for the problematization of dichotomies like nature/culture, sex/gender, and body/mind. Intersex bodies have been construed as nomadic bodies; understood through the phenomenological concept of dys-appearing; framed as targets for foucauldian biopower; and highlighted as the ultimate example of human bodies being sexed through social processes of gendering. This paper will focus on some of these conceptualizations and compare notes on the materiality of otherness. How is the material reality of intersex individuals framed within these different approaches? The common notion being that intersex bodies pose a threat to sexual dimorphism and that there is a lesson to be learned from the cruel treatment of intersex individuals, how do scholars deal with the equally common notion that there is a subversive potential in the very corporeality of intersex, without diminishing the lived experience of the intersex? Drawing on the works of feminist rereadings of Freud s and Lacan s notions of the materiality and corporeality of psychic processes (Judith Butler, Gayle Salamon and Elizabeth Wilson) I also want to explore the possibilities of transgressing the dichotomy of materiality and signification, as helpful in understanding intersex experience. Dee Amy-Chinn University of Stirling United Kingdom Doing Justice to Semenya I would like to take my point of departure from a question of power, the power of regulation, a power that determines, more or less, what we are, what we can be. (Butler, 2004: 57) My point of departure is the controversy which arose in August 2009 when South African athlete Caster Semenya finished well ahead of her rivals to become the women s 800m World Champion, following which the International Association of Athletics Federations required that she be tested to ascertain whether or not she was a woman, and therefore entitled to compete. The results of this have yet to be made public but in the subsequent media coverage what was seen to be at fault was nature, which had somehow failed to ensure that Semenya was a true woman, despite her uncontested female birth certificate and upbringing. The possibility that the issue was a culture that insisted that one must be either man or woman was absent from the discourse even though athletics officials recognised that the question of sex determination was extremely complex, difficult, and that years of effort had yet to produce any test able to provide a definitive answer to the question is it a boy or a girl?. This paper will draw on feminist/queer theories of the body and biology to reframe the debate as an issue of culture by interrogating the investment of the athletics authorities in seeing sexual difference as binary, and ask if a more nuanced approach that integrates both nature and culture, and frames sexual difference as non-binary, is needed if we are to do justice to Semenya. References: Butler, Judith (2004) Doing Justice to Someone, in Undoing Gender, London: Routledge. Irén Annus University of Szeged Hungary Gender in the Cultural Landscape: Representations for Tourist Consumption Arguably representing one of the more prominent postmodern industries, tourism is structured around elaborate dynamisms of othering and self-othering, through which the self-representation of potential tourist destinations being part of the daily lived experience for the locals provides fertile soil for mapping given national assumptions and realities regarding gender. The presentation investigates some of these in recent (1) images that promote Hungary for tourists and (2) particular moments that have shaped the cultural landscape key to local tourism in the southern Hungarian town of Szeged. Drawing on certain theoretical positionings proposed by Raymond Williams, Zygmunt Bauman, Griselda Pollock, John Urry, Gillian Rose, Cara Aitchison, and Mona Domosh, among others, the paper aims to map how the dichotomy of nature/female and culture/male appears in these representations within the cultural landscape, which, in certain ways, combines nature and culture in a complex manner. The presentation argues that the trends that can be detected in these areas of self-representation in fact faithfully reflect the overall changes that have taken place in terms of gender relations and equality in other areas in Hungary since the regime change twenty years ago. Annette Arlander Theatre Academy Finland Performing Landscape as Affirmative Practice In Affirming the affirmative: On Nomadic Affectivity Rosi Braidotti has called for a revision of the subject in terms of an eco-philosophical integration into his/her environment (rhizomes 11/12, 2005/2006). According to Elisabeth Grosz feminism needs to return to something that makes it feel happier as well as productive ; small pockets of knowledge production and art production provide a counter weight to the oppressiveness of everyday life. So we need to affirm, we need a place where we can simply affirm. (Interview by Kontturi & Tiainen, NORA Vol 15, 2007) Regardless of the contested character of the notion, nature or the living environment is something many people, including the writer of this text, want to affirm. Performance and nature have been combined as Nature Performed (Szerszynski, Heim & Waterton 2003), as Performing Nature (Giannachi & Stewart 2005), as Performance and Place (Hill & Paris 2006) and as Theatre Ecology (Kershaw 2007). This presentation describes and discusses one possible practice, based on long term artistic work involving landscape (i.e. Arlander in Mäkinen & Mäntymäki 2008). Performing landscape by choosing a place and returning to it regularly, serves as an example of an affirmative practice, which is available to artists and non-artists alike. This kind of repetition provides an opportunity to rest and reflect; and if documented a record of the constant changes taking place. The traces can be used as artworks, like i.e. Year of the Rat Mermaid (2008). Affirmation comes into play in choosing the place and in repeating the choice. Nature or a more or less living environment, and an action emphasising the sensual experience of that environment increases the joyful, healing and affirmative qualities of the practice. J. Edgar Bauer Germany Queerness and the Lavishness of Nature: On Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's Deployment of Magnus Hirschfeld's Concept of Drittes Geschlecht. The presentation focuses on Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's Epistemology of the Closet (1990) and its treatment of sexologist and sexual minority rights activist Magnus Hirschfeld ( ). While relatively brief, Sedgwick's recourse to Hirschfeld marks a salient move in the articulation of her historical and epistemic core premises. In her view, Hirschfeld's oeuvre exemplifies paradigmatically the (sexual) minoritizing and (gender) transitivity models of homosexual definition. Therewith, he contributed to bring about the incoherent dispensation that frames the culturally pervasive binaries Sedgwick explores as the basis for her readings of Henry James and Marcel Proust. Since the assumption that the sexologist was a believer in the 'third sex' is crucial to Sedgwick's overall argumentative strategy, the presentation examines closely the secondary textual sources invoked in Epistemolgy as supporting evidence, and shows how they contradict Hirschfeld's explicit postulation of universal sexual intermediariness, in correspondence with Charles Darwin's ground premise: Every man & woman is hermaphrodite. Positing the third-sex alternative only as a makeshift intended to open up the closures of the sexual dichotomy to an essentially de-totalized and de-totalizing series of unique and potentially infinite sexualities, Hirschfeld's sexuelle Zwischenstufenlehre unsettles, on principle, the reductive deployment of a hypostatized third sex as a handy template for analyzing discursivities and their undergirding power structures. On this account, Hirschfeld's non-essentialist conceptualization of sexual diversity deriving from a Brunian/Spinozian grasp of ever-creative natura naturans necessitates a revision of Sedgwick's basic categorial instrumentalities. Reminding that the Hirschfeldian emancipatory program envisions the unfolding of inexhaustible sexual forms within a libertarian-conceived history that resonates with the insights outlined in Sedgwick's essay Queer and Now, the presentation concludes with an assessment of her perceptive elaborations on the semiosis of haecceitas as resumed in the Buddhist topos of the finger pointing at the moon. Maria Dorn University of Hamburg Germany Gendered Temporality: Woman on the Edge of Time in the 19 th Century. The problem of gendered time is rarely addressed in critical discourse. In this paper I will argue that the differences in the representations between female/male time act as the pivotal point in the formation of our understanding of gender. The natural (biological) and cultural assumptions are entangled here and gendered temporality becomes an extremely powerful element in the construction of gender. The canonic article on time and gender remains Julia Kristeva s Women s Time. Kristeva argues that there is, on the one hand, a certain connection between female subjectivity and cyclical, recurrent, cosmic experience of time, which is based on biological processes. On the other hand, masculine identity is anchored in linear and historical time. I will attempt to put this basic categorization in its historical perspective and suggest that the seemingly positive assessment of woman s time in the post-modern discourse due to its concurrence with the course of nature through cycles, is deceptive and differs from its conception in Victorian epistemology, where nature was de-essentialised and perceived as an eternally mutating entity. I will focus on 19 th century Britain as the place and time where the obsession with both time and gender reached the extreme, though the crucial interrelation between these two concepts went paradoxically unnoticed. Darwinian and, much later, Freudian theories will form two opposite poles of biological and cultural gendering of time. Was woman ruled out of the evolutionary, teleological development and trapped into the eternal devolutional stasis? To what extent did this cause the birth of the figure of the archetypal female hysteric with her inability to come to terms with her traumatic past a past which kept erupting into the present? Is woman allowed to have a past at all? As I intend to show, the gendered time perspective is inextricably connected with the issue of female sexuality. I will draw on the literary examples of the so called fallen women in the Victorian novels to demonstrate the patriarchal view of what woman s past should (not) be. The inscription of past into woman s body becomes a powerful symbol of reducing woman s being to her physique. Isabelle Dussauge Linköping University Sweden Neuro-gaydars and Fe/male Brains: Brain Imaging Studies of Homosexuality in the 2000s Brain scans of homosexuality and images of male and female brain function are becoming a common element of popular scientific news. The new neuro-studies of human sexuality seem haunted, among others, by figures of the sexual invert and by cultural stereotypes of men and women's behavior. Does recent neurobiological research on sexuality equate with biological-deterministic views of the brain, gender and sexuality? How is gender re-described and re-produced when human homosexuality is studied in brain scanners? Drawing on a new project conducted together with Dr Anelis Kaiser, this paper examines the cultural production of gender in the growing field of new neuroscientific research on homosexuality that makes use of neuroimaging techniques, i.e. measuring and visualization of correlates of brain activity in humans. Assumptions about gender, sexuality and the brain are built in at all levels of the experiments integral to neuroimaging practice: from the selection of research participants, design of the experimental tasks conducted by those, to the statistical analysis of the results (cf. Dumit 2004). In this paper I will analyze the questions raised in the field of neuroimaging of homosexuality, and the notions of gender and sexuality used in the field s knowledge production, with focus on experiments and their interpretation. I will suggest the notion of neuroframing in order to make sense of the process by which a phenomenon - here, homosexuality - becomes the object of neurosciences and is transformed by that becoming (in echo to notions of biomedicalizations such as in Clarke et al. 2003). Like the geneticization of behavior, the neuroframing of sexual behavior operates at a socio-cultural level, in the production of scientific and popular-scientific facts. Jana Dvorackova Masaryk University Czech Republic Medical Re-shaping of Gender and Sexuality through Explanations of Transsexuality In spite of a general tendency to perceive homosexuality and transsexuality as two entirely distinct phenomena, there has been a long history within medical and popular discourses of linking homosexuality with a certain form of gender inversion. However, the assumed association of male homosexuality with femininity and lesbianism with masculinity has gradually receded from the medical view. At the beginning of the twentieth century sexologists Magnus Hirschfeld and Havelock Ellis argued against the supposed correlation of same-sex desire and cross-gender identification. A category today known as transsexuality was born. Since then, medicine has taken a dominant role in conceptualization of the new phenomenon of transsexuality. It has significantly affected how transsexuality/transgender is viewed and experienced in contemporary Western societies. Yet, diverse forms through which medicine conceptualizes the etiology of a cross-gender identification reconfigurate the cultural notions of gender and homo/sexuality as well. Based on the analysis of medical texts, this paper discusses essential turning points in the development of conceptualization of the etiology of transsexuality. It explores gender assumptions that constitute the particular conceptions of etiology of transsexuality, as well as potential consequences of these conceptions for cultural understanding of gender. Another aim of the paper is to uncover the complex relations between medical constructions of transsexuality and homosexuality. Firstly, the effect of biological theories of homosexuality on the formation of the etiology of transsexuality will be outlined. Secondly, the paper will focus on specific forms of sustaining the symbolic boundary between homosexuality and transsexuality in etiological theories and standardized practices of transsexuality diagnostics. Waltraud Ernst University of Hildesheim Germany Narrations of the Erotic in Evolutionary Biology Natural sciences are narrations about nature and knowledge, but also about the nature and meaning of social relations. Evolutionary biology as the science of life development, most prominently, tells about the function of human intimate relations, as one of the most fascinating but never fully understandable sites of life, the one which escapes logical structuring and causal explanation, the domain of poems and novels. Insofar as human intimate relations are based on erotic attraction and interaction they have always been both a matter of high delight and devastating trauma as well as a matter of economic value and political control. In this context, evolutionary biology has taken a crucial and critical position in explaining processes of and between bodies within changing but powerful economic and political regimes. In my research project on the erotic economies of science I am studying the historical narrations of science on the erotic between 1750 and The study explores the shifts in the narrations of science on the erotic during this period. The significance of the erotic in connection with the development of categories of gender and race in these narrations of the emerging European natural sciences in the era of colonialism and gender segregation is in particular focus. The goal is to better understand contemporary accounts of life sciences on erotic desires and pleasures, practises and relations. In my paper I want to find out how in Charles Darwin's most prominent texts different contemporary narrations were interwoven in an reinterpretation of the erotic as a site of natural laws of desire. I will look for interdependencies to other stories and contemporary cultural beliefs and relate them to Anne Fausto-Sterlings account on the construction of human sexuality in Sexing the body (2000). Paola Ferruta Berlin-Potsdam University Germany The Socio-political Implications of the Research into the Hermaphroditic Body by 19 th -Century Teratologists The hermaphrodite offers a prime example of how the human body became a scientific object and a dispositif at the same time. Here is question of the concept of dispositif (apparatus) in the foucauldian sense and even more in that postulated by Giorgio Agamben. Throughout the nineteenth century hermaphrodites became scientific objects in a wide ranging natural scientific debate, a debate which provided a space where the monster, i.e. the hermaphrodite, had multiple diagnoses and causes. Its medical definition was a changing and fluid one. 19 th -century research on hermaphrodites and its resonance in the socio-political arena signify the mutual intertwining of nature, culture and gender as well as a specific theorisation, representation and experience of their entanglement. Experimental embryology and comparative anatomy became fundamental to investigating the cause of monstrosity. The great teratological work Histoire générale et particulière des anomalies de l organisation chez l home et les animaux, by French zoologist Isidore Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire ( ) was released in A part of the Teratologie was consecrated to hermaphroditism (hermaphrodismes), which was regarded as part of a natural process, rather than as an independently produced phenomenon. In the course of the nineteenth century the epistemological dimension opened up by investigating the hermaphroditic body as a scientific object entangled it in webs of socio-political implications, primarily in the utopian socialists political propaganda, in literary and artistic movements as well as esoteric circles. Drawings, pictures, unpublished epistolary exchanges and also the material culture, i.e. natural scientific and cultural artefact
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