Roles Forum 2017

ROLES CONFERENCE 2017: WE WANT YOUR VIEWS!

We hope you enjoyed our annual conference!

Whether you did (or didn’t…) we’d love for you to tell us what was great and what could have been better.

Follow this link to give your feedback!

Advertisements

Programme for ROLES 7th Annual Conference

Copy of Copy of Groles poster.png

ROLES CONFERENCE 2017 – TIMETABLE

9:00 Registration
Room 327

9:30 Welcome and Introduction
Lecture Theatre 1

10:00 – 11:30
PANEL ONE – Representations and Art
Room TBC
10:00 – Jacquie Bridgman – ‘The more tattoos a woman has, the less attractive she becomes’: An exploratory analysis of factors that influence heterosexual men’s attitudes towards heavily tattooed women
10:30 – Hazel Impey – The Presence and the Absence: Contrasting Depictions of Asexuality in Fantasy Literature
11:00 – Giselle Lowe – New (ART)iculations: A qualitative exploration of abortion narratives in South Africa
10:00 – 11:30
PANEL TWO – Politics and Identities
Room TBC
10:00 – Paulina Klik – Journey into Authenticity: LGBT+ Poles in the West Midlands
10:30 – Martha Robinson Rhodes – ‘Not Totally Gay, I Suppose’: A Queer Critical History of Multiple-Gender-Attraction in the British Gay Liberation Movement, 1970-1980
11:00 – Gemma Jennings – Engendering Inequality? Oil and the Development of Gender Roles

11:30 – 12:00 Break

12:00 – 13:00
PANEL THREE – Challenging Cisnormativity
Room TBC
12:00 – Jay Martin – Models, Myths and Medicine: the bias of biological sciences
12:30 – Char Utton – Beyond the Tipping Point: where next for trans rights in the UK?
12:00 – 13:00
PANEL FOUR – Individual Narratives
Room TBC
12:00 – Aysha Musa – Judith, A Beautiful Assassin
12:30 – Ana Maria Sapountzi – Making Meaning of Laurence Olivier: Reading Queer Sensibilities in His Hollywood Performances from 1939-1960

13:00 – 14:00 Lunch
Room 327

14:00 – 15:30
KEYNOTE TALK
Lecture Theatre 1

Dr Katharine Jenkins, University of Nottingham
Gender Identity: A Guide for the Perplexed’

15:30 – 16:00 Break

16:00 – 17:30
PANEL FIVE – Social Media, Apps and Identity
Lecture Theatre 1

16:00 – Yvonne Ehrstein – The postfeminist reconciliation challenge: Representations and lived experiences of maternal femininities on Mumsnet.com
16:30 – Paul Michaels – Imagine a date where you find yourself being told “OH BABZ! PEE! BRB! Tmi?”: Deaf gay men and their use of dating apps to (not) meet men
17:00 – Milly Morris – Track.Compare.Compete: fitness apps, self-surveillance and the gendered nature of quantifying the self

17:30 – 18:30 Closing Remarks and Wine Reception

GENERAL INFORMATION

The Conference takes Place on Thursday 18th May 2017 in the Gisbert Kapp Building on the University of Birmingham Campus.

Gisbert Kapp is 10 -15 minutes’ walk from the University train station, and close to the 98 and 99 route bus stops. It is situated on Pritchatts Road, past North Gate and on the opposite side of the road to the Alan Watts Building/Muirhead Tower.

There is parking outside the venue and a multi-storey car park besides the building.

Registration for the conference will open at 9am, with the welcome talk starting at 9:30. There will be a break between 11:30 and 12, and lunch will be served between 13:00 and 14:00. There will be another break between 15:30 and 16:00. The conference will end around 17:30, and there will be a wine reception afterwards. The conference is an open event and attendees are welcome to come and go as they please.

PLEASE REGISTER AT https://goo.gl/forms/Dji0nJ1wPjBrrNcn1

Disability Access
Gisbert Kapp is wheelchair accessible from the main entrance. The rooms for the conference are divided between the second and third floors; the lifts are accessible to wheelchair users and there is an accessible toilet on the ground floor near the café.

All rooms used for the conference are wheelchair accessible and have double doors. However, there are only limited wheelchair spaces available in the main lecture room, so please inform us through the registration form if you require a designated space.

We have booked a separate quiet space for attendees if they are struggling with the conference and need time to re-energise during the day. This will be located in room 328.

We are in the process of investigating the use of hearing loops within the venue and will update the guide with the information we receive.

For more information on the accessibility of the venue please consult this guide http://www.disabledgo.com/access-guide/university-of-birmingham/gisbert-kapp-building-2 and for any further queries please email us at rolessexualitygender@gmail.com.

Evacuation Procedures
In the case of an emergency the alarms will ring and attendees are to make their ways to the stairs and follow the signed route.

For those with mobility impairments, there is a evacuation point positioned next to the elevators which has a separate alarm that will need to be pressed. This will alert the emergency services to your presence so they can help you evacuate the building safely.

Childcare facilities

Unfortunately we are unable to provide any daycare for children during the conference. Although Gisbert Kapp does not have any baby changing facilities, the Arts Building has baby changing facilities on the ground floor. The Arts Building is located about 5-10 minutes’ walk from the venue. We hope this will be sufficient.

Prayer rooms
There are designated prayer rooms on campus located in both the Guild of Students and the Chaplaincy. The chaplaincy also comes equipped with various denominations of chaplains if they are needed. This is located a 10-15 minute walk from the venue.

Gender Neutral Bathrooms
Gisbert Kapp has recently acquired gender neutral bathrooms. They will be open to all attendees during the event, and are located at the end of the corridor on the 3rd floor.

ROLES 2017 ORGANISING COMMITTEE

Chris Forster
Chris is an MRes student at the University of Birmingham specialising in the construction of gender norms. Other interests include disability theory and the intersection of oppressions. Chris still lives in Birmingham and is also working on a side project researching the performance of gender in online spaces.

Martha Robinson Rhodes
Martha recently graduated in History from the University of Oxford, and is currently studying for an MRes in Sexuality and Gender Studies at the University of Birmingham. She specialises in the history of multiple-gender-attraction and bisexuality, with a focus on multiple-gender-attraction in the British Gay Liberation movement in the 1970s. She also recently wrote interpretations for the ‘Out in Oxford’ LGBTQ Museum Trail, which was launched in February 2017.

Mae Rohani
Mae is currently studying for an an MA in Migration, Superdiversity and Policy at the University of Birmingham; she graduated in International Relations in 2015, and is a former Women’s Officer at the Guild of Students and an activist. Her research interests include gender and social reproduction, migration and citizenship, and Feminist-Marxist theories. She was an editor for The New Birmingham Review in 2014-2015, and was involved in organising Roles 2016.

If you would like to be part of next year’s organising committee, please speak to one of us or send us an email at rolessexualitygender@gmail.com!

ABSTRACTS AND BIOGRAPHIES

Keynote Lecture (14:00 – 15:30, Lecture Theatre 1)
Professor Katharine Jenkins (University of Nottingham) – Gender Identity: A Guide for the Perplexed

There is widespread confusion among cis people about the notion of gender identity. This matters for two reasons. Firstly, because cis people are called upon to use this concept, including about themselves. Secondly, because this concept can play a useful political role in the movement for trans rights, for example in anti-discrimination legislation, which requires that it be generally understood. Gender identity is often defined as ‘having a sense of oneself as a man, woman or some other gender’. However, it is increasingly common for terms like ‘woman’ to be used to refer to gender identity. This leads to circularity in the definition of gender identity: someone has a gender identity of ‘woman’ if she has a sense of herself as someone who has a gender identity of ‘woman’. This talk proposes a definition of the concept of gender identity that avoids this circularity whilst being suitable for use in emancipatory political practice.

Biography:
I joined the Philosophy Department at the University of Nottingham as an Assistant Professor in September 2016. Before that, I was a Junior Research Fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge. I hold a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Sheffield, and a BA and MPhil in Philosophy from the University of Cambridge. I grew up in the Lake District and I think I’ll always miss the fells. When I’m not doing philosophy (and sometimes when I am) I enjoy hiking, yoga, knitting, sewing, and playing tabletop games.

Panel One – Representations and Art (10:00 – 11:30)

10:00 – Jacquie Bridgman – ‘The more tattoos a woman has, the less attractive she becomes’: An exploratory analysis of factors that influence heterosexual men’s attitudes towards heavily tattooed women
Representations of heavily tattooed women are now prevalent in popular culture (Gavin, 2013). A recent survey (Heywood, Patrick, Smith, Simpson, Pitts & Shelley, 2012) has suggested that young women are now the largest consumers of tattoos in the population. Despite the popularity of tattoo’s, previous literature has shown that women who have tattoos are perceived as being more promiscuous (Swami & Furnham, 2007), rebellious (Swami, Gaughan, Tran, Kuhlmann, Stieger & Voracek, 2015) and likely to indulge in risky behaviours (King & Vidourek, 2013). This study has explored the role of ambivalent sexism and social dominance in men’s attitudes towards heavily tattooed women. Adult Heterosexual men (n = 350) were recruited via social media to complete an online survey which looked their perceptions of heavily tattooed women. Participants completed the Perceptions of Heavily Tattooed Women scale along with the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory and Social Dominance Orientation SDO 7 scale. An exploratory analysis was conducted to investigate whether these predictors would contribute towards heterosexual men’s negative attitudes of heavily tattooed women. Multiple regression was conducted and it was found that age, men’s own tattooed status, ambivalent sexism and the social dominance orientation sub scale anti-egalitarianism account for a significant proportion of the variance in men’s negative attitudes towards heavily tattooed women (F(5,344)=42.99, p<.05, R²=.38, R²adjusted =.38). Results showed that men who endorsed sexist views were more likely to view heavily tattooed women negatively and men who were tattooed themselves were more likely to view heavily tattooed women more positively than those women without. The conclusion considers the impact negative perceptions could have in relation to the wellbeing, relationships and employment opportunities of women who choose to become heavily tattooed.

Biography:
Jacquie Bridgman is a final year undergraduate at University of Northampton studying a Joint Honours programme in Psychology and Social Care. Research interests include gender identity, sexuality and tattoos. When she’s not studying Jacquie enjoys knitting, watching rugby and listening to The Archers. Jacquie is currently researching men’s perceptions of Heavily Tattooed Women for her final year undergraduate dissertation.

10:30 – Hazel Impey – The Presence and the Absence: Contrasting Depictions of Asexuality in Fantasy Literature
Asexuality is one of the lesser-known sexual identities encompassed by the LGBTQIA community, and its representation in fiction is correspondingly limited. Combine this with the problems that fantasy (particularly fantasy with a historical or pseudo-historical setting) often has with diverse representation, and the rarity of asexual representation increases. In this paper, I will be analysing two examples of asexual representation in fantasy literature. Nancy, the protagonist of Seanan McGuire’s Every Heart a Doorway (the first book in a new contemporary fantasy series, published in 2016), explicitly identifies herself as asexual. And the titular character of Garth Nix’s Clariel (a prequel of sorts to his medieval fantasy ‘Old Kingdom’ series, published in 2014) is pointedly uninterested in men or women, though the word asexual is never used. These characters demonstrate two kinds of sexuality representation: the present (Nancy) and the absent (Clariel). In a society where asexuality is often ignored, mis-labelled, and maligned, each representation of it in fiction takes on considerable weight and can have a correspondingly significant impact. I will be examining the ways in which asexuality is represented in these two texts and the possible effects that they have, focusing on three main aspects. Firstly, the way in which asexual representation is conveyed in language (given that in some fantasy settings, language use is purposefully limited by the author); secondly, the concept of “stealth” representation in contrast with explicit representation; and thirdly, the manifestation of aphobia in both texts.

Biography:
I am currently writing my PhD thesis at Northumbria University, on the representation of non-binary gender in medieval fantasy literature. I have a particular interest in contemporary fiction and genre fiction, as well as gender and sexuality studies. Outside of an academic setting I enjoy fiction writing and amateur dramatics.

11:00 – Giselle Lowe – New (ART)iculations: A qualitative exploration of abortion narratives in South Africa
Abortion was legalised in South Africa in 1997 with the introduction of the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1996 (Act No.92 of 1996). However, the complex realities of the systems of social inequality at play within the country complicate the daily lived experiences influencing accessibility to autonomous reproductive choices.

Acknowledgement of these inequalities can be a point of departure when discussing the confusion as to why, with the free, safe, legal options made available by the state, many women still resort to clandestine forms of abortion practices.

This paper will examine the potential of creative narratives (oral biographies, literature and art) as alternative knowledge sources which prioritise decolonial research methodologies. It will explore how alternative forms of abortion accounts, in contrast to traditional historical documents or statistical data sets (which often fail to be representative of, or exclude the voices of marginalised individuals), can be useful in developing a truer depiction of the lived realities of individuals who have procured abortions in South Africa.

Grounding my research in the situated experiences of the women whose narratives will be shared, I will explore how women express their abortions (procedures, healing, support, and actors) and how these alternative articulations “remind us […] that social facts are mediated daily in enormously complex ways by the positioning of those observing, experiencing, and performing them.” (Hunt 2007: 21). Approaching them not merely as social descriptors, but as detailed resources, our understanding of and approach to abortion research can be further developed and more inclusive.

Biography:
Giselle is currently in the second year of a Masters in Women’s and Gender studies (GEMMA) at the University of Hull. Completed a BA and Honours degree (Psychology and Anthropology) at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. Research interests include institutionalised discrimination, and decolonial research methodologies.

Panel Two – Politics and Identities (10:00 – 11:30)

10:00 – Paulina Klik – Journey into Authenticity: LGBT+ Poles in the West Midlands
After Poland’s EU accession in 2004, together with economic migration, the UK received a wave of LGBT+ Polish migrants fleeing state and church propagated homophobia. This large-scale move was especially evident in big metropolitan areas, such as Birmingham, where queer migrants sought to live without the fear of exclusion. In Poland, queer subjects lack both visibility in the public sphere (i.e., visual identifiers of queerness such as hand holding in same-sex partnerships and other open expressions) and representations in media. Conversely, once these same subjects arrive in the UK, they are publicly open about their sexuality. This juxtaposition and evident shift is what inspires my investigation into the motives and experiences of queer Polish migrants.

My research analyses oral history interviews with fourteen self-identified gay, lesbian and bisexual Poles living in Birmingham and West Midlands, in an effort to determine the global and local context of identity politics of queer Polish diaspora. Throughout the study, I question how these people conceive of coming-out discourses and understand their visible expression in different environments, and how these understandings might have changed since moving to the UK. I also consider how the intersectionality of identity influences the interviewees’ imagined and lived realities, and how these narratives construct specific images of a homophobic, repressive Poland and a tolerant, accepting Britain. This project attempts to queer the commonly held notions of Polish migrants in the UK, while also suggesting the differences between the identity politics between the East and West.

Biography:
Paulina Klik is a final year student of MA in Women’s and Gender Studies at Central European University in Budapest and University of Oviedo in Spain. As an expat herself, her primary research interests are migration studies, as well as queer theory. She also works as an interpreter for the NHS.

10:30 – Martha Robinson Rhodes – ‘Not Totally Gay, I Suppose’: A Queer Critical History of Multiple-Gender-Attraction in the British Gay Liberation Movement, 1970-1980
This paper will address the question of whether and why multiple-gender-attraction posed a political problem to groups in the British Gay Liberation Movement, how groups’ and individuals’ responses to this problem changed over time, and how individuals made sense of circulating discourses of bisexuality. I will argue that attraction to multiple genders, and bisexuality as an identity, was seen as ‘emotional’ and ‘sexual’, rather than a ‘political’ identity.

‘Multiple-gender-attraction’ can mean those who identified as bisexual as well those who identified otherwise but experienced attraction to multiple genders. In addition to these complexities of self-definition, identity and practice, I will address how attitudes towards multiple-gender-attraction intersected with categories of gender, age, and class. I will also analyse different groups within the Gay Liberation Movement, from the ‘moderate’ Campaign for Homosexual Equality to the ‘radical’ Gay Liberation Front, and assess how their attitudes changed over time and on national and local levels.

Following the work of Clare Hemmings, I will also focus on discourses in which bisexuality and multiple-gender-attraction are absent but play an important constitutive role. This was particularly evident in the construction by more ‘radical’ groups of a binary of ‘heterosexual’ (associated with conservatism and sexism) and ‘homosexual’ (associated with radicalism and subversion).  My work raises issues about the relationship between liberation and exclusion in the construction of ‘radical’ identities in sexual liberation movements, at a moment when the term ‘bisexual’ was relatively new and the binary distinction of gay and straight was just becoming socially dominant.

Biography:
Martha is currently studying for an MRes in Sexuality and Gender Studies, specialising in the history of sexuality. She is part of this year’s ROLES organising committee, and she also recently wrote interpretations for the ‘Out in Oxford’ LGBTQ Museum Trail, which was launched in February 2017.

11:00 – Gemma Jennings – Engendering Inequality? Oil and the Development of Gender Roles
This paper will explore the impacts of the oil industry on gender roles across two prominent exporters of oil, Nigeria and Algeria, in the late twentieth century. The study will examine how the hydrocarbon sector, central to both national economies, interacted with and impacted on political and economic structures from a gendered perspective. Ultimately, I argue that an understanding of the oil industry is crucial to the historiography of gender in these states.

Existing research has engendered a growing controversy around the extent to which the oil industry, comparative to cultural and religious values, determined prevalent gender paradigms in oil-producing countries.  Statistical studies have demonstrated correlation between oil extraction and reduced female labour force participation and political representation, and theorists have contentiously argued that this results from the preponderance of the male dominated oil sector in a national economy, reducing female employment opportunities and concomitantly limiting the political mobilisation of women (Ross, 2008). There has been limited work, however, which has tested and explored these purported trends in contextualised case studies.

This paper, therefore, will conduct a comparative analysis of two distinct political and cultural contexts, to develop a historical account of the impacts of oil extraction on gender in these nations. The paper will compare the impacts of the oil industry on Algerian and Nigeran economic and political structures at a national level, particularly employment trends, political participation and representation, alongside localised studies of employment opportunities, household economic roles and grassroots political movements around key oil extraction points.

Biography:
Gemma Jennings is a PhD student in History at the University of Birmingham. She holds a BA in Combined Studies and an MA in History.
Gemma’s research explores the social history of the oil industry, particularly the consequences of this sector for gender roles and relations.

Panel Three – Challenging Cisnormativity (12:00 – 13:00)

12:00 – Jay Martin – Models, Myths and Medicine: the bias of biological sciences
The primary objects of analysis within this presentation are the models of embryonic genital development of a foetus in the womb, created by Adolf and Friedrich Ziegler, and how they have been used to incorrectly justify the gender binary. The models were initially used as revolutionary teaching aids within medicine degrees throughout the late 19th Century and are currently stored in the University of Birmingham’s Special Collections within the College of Medicine and Dentistry.

When they were first published, they were mistaken by the scientific community and the general population as indicative evidence of cisnormativity and its associated gendered stereotypes. This misreading of the models stem from them being binary in their presentation of genital development, while also being sequenced in a developmental narrative in which the end point of genital development is the current cisnormative categorisation of gender upon birth. This developmental narrative isolates intersex development as it relies on the existence of a strict binary within biological sex thus erasing everything which exists outside of these categories. I will use the theories of disability outlined by Lennard J Davis and Susan Wendall, alongside the discussion of gender furthered by Foucault, to explain how the misuse of items such as these models is a symptom of a wider issue of biological determinism within medicine which directly oppresses both trans and intersex people.

Biography:
My name is Jay Martin, my undergraduate degree was in English Literature and American and Canadian Studies. I have applied for a Masters degree in Literature and Culture. I have a special interest in queer theory, disability theory, and the field of Medical Humanities.

12:30 – Char Utton – Beyond the Tipping Point: where next for trans rights in the UK?
TIME Magazine called 2016 the ‘Transgender Tipping-Point’, National Geographic released a special issue in early 2017 entitled ‘The Gender Revolution’ – but trans rights still have a long way to go. The male/female binary remains deeply ingrained in our culture. There is still a lack of education and understanding of trans people, which can make some aspects of life difficult for them to navigate, and the people who should be there to help rarely know the answers either. Additionally, non-binary genders are still not recognised under the law and are therefore not explicitly protected, which is highly problematic due to the significant level of violence and exclusion they regularly face. Drawing from a combination of academic research and anecdotal experience, this presentation will look at which areas trans activism in the UK still needs to address – including reducing the number of gender-separated spaces, removing cisnormativity from medicine and sex education and making space for non-binary people in the legal and public spheres. Without these changes, trans people will likely continue to experience disproportionately high rates of aggression, violence, discrimination and suicide.

Biography:
Char is a current student at the University of Birmingham, studying MRes Sexuality and Gender Studies, and they hold a BA in Graphic Design from the University of Gloucestershire. They have a particular interest in non-binary gender and in education. They are looking into a career in primary teaching.

Panel Four – Individual Narratives (12:00 – 13:00)

12:00 – Aysha Musa – Judith, A Beautiful Assassin
Judith from the Apocryphal Book of Judith has been represented in film, art and literature, and in each has been constructed as virgin and/or whore, saviour and/or murderer, saint and /or sinner, soldier and/or seductress.

Although there are many disagreements when it comes to Judith, what is agreed upon is that she uses deceit and enhanced beauty, methods which are commonly considered ‘women’s weapons’, to act as a warrior assassin in order to save her people.

This paper will consider Judith’s enhanced beauty and investigate the level to which her aesthetic beauty enabled her to achieve such an unlikely victory over the enemy arm general, Holofernes. I will argue that Judith’s natural beauty enhanced by a beautifying ritual acts as a disguise, as a weapon, and provides her with both feminine and masculine power.

Biography:
Aysha Musa is a fully funded PhD student with the Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies at the University of Sheffield, working in the field of Gender, Sexuality and the Bible. Her thesis focuses on constructions of gender and sexuality in the Book of Judges.

She has a BA and MA in Biblical Studies (first class honours and Distinction) and received an Academic Award and the Sheffield Graduate Award, and was recently made a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

12:30 – Ana Maria Sapountzi – Making Meaning of Laurence Olivier: Reading Queer Sensibilities in His Hollywood Performances from 1939-1960
During his first year in Hollywood (1939-1940) English actor, Laurence Olivier, broke ground with his portrayal of Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights (1939), Maxim de Winter in Rebecca (1940) and Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice (1940). Olivier’s sexy yet complicated spectacle achieved him instant success and heartthrob status with film audiences and critics. His performances in these films gained him international recognition as a film actor, and assisted in the establishment of his on-screen persona which would inform his entire oeuvre, especially his most legendary Hollywood roles such as George Hurstwood in Carrie (1952), the Regent in The Prince and the Showgirl (1957), Gen. Burgoyne in The Devil’s Disciple (1959), and Crassus in Spartacus (1960). However, while existing scholarship on Olivier provides an extensive study of the actor’s work and supplies an evaluative focus on his Shakespearean performances, it notably neglects to deeply engage with his aforementioned Hollywood performances. Thus, Olivier is commonly positioned as a Shakespearean star.

In view of recent findings that reveal Olivier’s interest and practice of applying Freudian meanings to his performance right before his arrival in Hollywood, this paper will revisit his Hollywood work and create a discussion within seminal Queer theory to identify how his nuanced method of performing challenged the traditional ideals of “normalcy” within the larger context of 1940s and 50s Hollywood. In doing so this paper will explore an overlooked part of Olivier’s career whilst forging a new critical approach to the discourse surrounding the actor, recognising him as a queer star.

Biography:
Ana Maria Sapountzi is a first year PhD student at the Department of Film Studies at the University of St Andrews, where she is undertaking a queer study of Laurence Olivier’s Hollywood performances. Her main areas of research interest include gender and sexuality, identity, performance, cultural analysis, stardom, aesthetics and subversion.

Panel Five – Social Media, Apps, and Identity (16:00 – 17:30)

16:00 – Yvonne Ehrstein – The postfeminist reconciliation challenge: Representations and lived experiences of maternal femininities on Mumsnet.com
The question of how to combine paid work with parenthood is a pressing one, at least for women. With the shift from the male breadwinner model to the unisex adult worker model, women are now fully immersed in the labour market, evoking the semblance of accomplished gender equality. The new sexual contract (McRobbie, 2009), situating women in both the private-domestic as well as the public-productive work sphere, entails the demand to reconcile working and caring identities (Ringrose and Walkerdine, 2008). Yet, as feminist research continues to show, caring and domestic responsibilities are still unequally distributed, and women remain primary caregivers (e.g. Lyonette and Crompton, 2015). Thus, what I call the reconciliation challenge, the balancing of private and public realms of life, emerges as key site where persistent gender inequalities are played out. This PhD project is concerned with the interplay between lived experiences and cultural representations of working mothers in online environments. By analysing the influential, yet under-explored British parenting website Mumsnet.com both as a representation of contemporary parenting culture and as the largest UK parenting community, the research investigates constructions of work-family reconciliations and the ways in which these are navigated by maternal subjects. The presentation considers how gender inequalities that relate to the uneven distribution of caring and domestic labour are negotiated and discussed by Mumsnet users, and explores to what extent these lived experiences of site users correspond to and conform with mediated images of successfully combined maternal and occupational identities.

Biography:
Yvonne is a PhD researcher in the Department of Sociology at City, University of London. Having completed an M.A. in Sociology and German Studies (Distinction) at Goethe University, Frankfurt, her research interests centre around intersecting gender and class inequalities, the interrelation between subjectivity and culture, and feminist research methods.

16:30 – Paul Michaels – Imagine a date where you find yourself being told “OH BABZ! PEE! BRB! Tmi?”: Deaf gay men and their use of dating apps to (not) meet men
The emergence and development of technology and geo-social networking apps has changed the way men meet other men for friendship, dates or sex. Undoubtedly, the largest and most popular platform facilitating this activity is Grindr. They promote themselves as ‘a global community for men of all backgrounds to connect with one another.’ (Grindr LLC, n.d.) This sounds like the ideal world but unfortunately, this is not the case for many Deaf men using these apps.

Research conducted by Goedel & Duncan (2015) showed that 38% of hearing men reported using these apps to meet new sexual partners. This contrasts to the research I conducted with a sample of Deaf men who reported that making friends (22%) and having dates (19%) were the overarching motivations for use. In addition, I also found that only 10% of the Deaf gay men ‘often’ met men after chatting, which begs the question of how the Deaf men are making friends or going on dates if they are not meeting?

This presentation will provide evidence as to the reasons these apps are not serving the Deaf community in ways they aim to serve the hearing community and suggest ways in which improvements could be made.

Biography:
Paul is a qualified British Sign Language Interpreter and part-time PhD student at Durham University and has been working with the Deaf community for 12 years. His previous research focused on the identity, culture and language of the Deaf gay male community.

17:00 – Milly Morris – Track.Compare.Compete: fitness apps, self-surveillance and the gendered nature of quantifying the self
With a focus on Strava and MyFitnessPal, this paper will use Foucault’s theory of self-surveillance to question whether fitness applications have the potential to negatively impact female body image. Calorie-counting and calorie-burning applications are often viewed as a useful tool to combat ‘the obesity crisis’ on an individual level, allowing users to track their food intake/exercise levels and compare/compete with other trackers. Within the age of social media, the obsessive documentation of self is normalized – perhaps even expected – and so these apps appear as a harmless tool for ‘health conscious’ individuals. However, when viewed alongside Western culture’s pervasive fear of female fat, they arguably play into the mainstream narrative of the ‘in control’ thin female body as opposed to the ‘out of control’ fat female body. Likewise, the constant quantification of the female body into ‘improvable’ components potentially acts as an intensification of the mainstream media’s reduction of the body into parts to be graded and approved. Overall, the piece will suggest that   fitness applications have the potential to exacerbate ritualistic tendencies designed to make women constantly watch themselves and their bodies.

Biography:
Milly is a second year PhD student at the University of Birmingham. Her thesis uses self-surveillance to explore the dieting industry, the fat female body and fat activism. Her other research interests include social media, reality TV and the politics of food. She teaches first year undergraduates and is a frequent contributor to the Feminist Academic Collective, a space for feminist ‘rants and musings.’

If you have any further questions please email rolessexualitygender@gmail.com.

Access Guide For ROLES: 7th Annual Conference

General Information
The Conference takes Place on Thursday 18th May 2017 in the Gisbert Kapp Building on the University of Birmingham Campus.

Gisbert Kapp is 10 -15 minutes’ walk from the University train station, and close to the 98 and 99 route bus stops. It is situated on Pritchatts Road, past North Gate and on the opposite side of the road to the Alan Watts Building/Muirhead Tower.

There is parking outside the venue and a multi-storey car park besides the building.

Registration for the conference will open at 9am, with the welcome talk starting at 9:30. There will be a break between 11:30 and 12:00, and lunch will be served between 13:00 and 14:00. There will be another break between 15:30 and 16:00. The conference will end around 17:30, and there will be a wine reception afterwards. The conference is an open event and attendees are welcome to come and go as they please.

Disability Access
Gisbert Kapp is wheelchair accessible from the main entrance. The rooms for the conference are divided between the second and third floors; the lifts are accessible to wheelchair users and there is an accessible toilet on the ground floor near the café.

All rooms used for the conference are wheelchair accessible and have double doors. However, there are only limited wheelchair spaces available in the main lecture room, so please inform us through the registration form if you require a designated space.

We have booked a separate quiet space for attendees if they are struggling with the conference and need time to re-energise during the day. This will be located in room 328.

We are in the process of investigating the use of hearing loops within the venue and will update the guide with the information we receive.

For more information on the accessibility of the venue please consult this guide http://www.disabledgo.com/access-guide/university-of-birmingham/gisbert-kapp-building-2 and for any further queries please email us at rolessexualitygender@gmail.com.

Evacuation Procedures
In the case of an emergency the alarms will ring and attendees are to make their ways to the stairs and follow the signed root.

For those with mobility impairments there is a evacuation point positioned next to the elevators which has a separate alarm which will need to be pressed. This will alert the emergency services to your presence so they can help you evacuate the building safely.

Childcare facilities
Unfortunately we are unable to provide any daycare for children during the conference. Although Gisbert Kapp does not have any baby changing facilities, the Arts Building has baby changing facilities on the ground floor. The Arts Building is located about 5-10 minutes’ walk from the venue. We hope this will be sufficient.

Prayer rooms
There are designated prayer rooms on campus located in both the Guild of Students and the Chaplaincy. The chaplaincy also comes equipped with various denominations of chaplains if they are needed. This is located a 10-15 minute walk from the venue.

Gender Neutral Bathrooms
Gisbert Kapp has recently acquired gender neutral bathrooms. They will be open to all attendees during the event, and are located at the end of the corridor on the 3rd floor.

Map

edgbaston map

Roles 2017 Keynote Announced: Dr. Katharine Jenkins

Exciting news!

We can now confirm that the keynote speaker for Roles 7th Annual Conference will be Dr. Katharine Jenkins, who will be presenting ‘Gender Identity: A Guide for the Perplexed’.

Abstract: There is widespread confusion among cis people about the notion of gender identity. This matters for two reasons. Firstly, because cis people are called upon to use this concept, including about themselves. Secondly, because this concept can play a useful political role in the movement for trans rights, for example in anti-discrimination legislation, which requires that it be generally understood. Gender identity is often defined as ‘having a sense of oneself as a man, woman or some other gender’. However, it is increasingly common for terms like ‘woman’ to be used to refer to gender identity. This leads to circularity in the definition of gender identity: someone has a gender identity of ‘woman’ if she has a sense of herself as someone who has a gender identity of ‘woman’. This talk proposes a definition of the concept of gender identity that avoids this circularity whilst being suitable for use in emancipatory political practice.

Biography: Dr. Katharine Jenkins
I joined the Philosophy Department at the University of Nottingham as an Assistant Professor in September 2016. Before that, I was a Junior Research Fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge. I hold a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Sheffield, and a BA and MPhil in Philosophy from the University of Cambridge. I grew up in the Lake District and I think I’ll always miss the fells.

When I’m not doing philosophy (and sometimes when I am) I enjoy hiking, yoga, knitting, sewing, and playing tabletop games.

Poster for 7th Annual Conference!

Our wonderful new poster, designed by Zoe Paterson:

[Image Description: Poster for Roles 7th Annual Conference.

Text on the left side in red and black reads:
“ROLES: A Sexuality & Gender Forum 2017
7th Annual Conference

Call For Papers: We invite you to submit abstracts related to any and all aspects of the study of Sexuality and Gender

250 word abstract & 50 word bio

Submission to rolessexualitygender@gmail.com by Saturday 11th March 2017”

Image on right side depicts a monochrome photograph of Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera at the Stonewall Riot Police Line, with large red roses and small gold stars edited in around and above the picture of them.

Text at the bottom in white and black writing on a red box reads: “18th May 2017
Gisbert Kapp Building, University of Birmingham

This is a free event and we will strive to make this conference fully accessible. We will have facilities for wheelchair access and rest spaces. Please contact us if you have any questions or further access requirements. There will be live tweeting of the event.”

Text at bottom in white writing on a black box reads:
“facebook.com/rolesforum
Tweet @groles
groles.wordpress.com”]

groles-poster-1

ROLES 7TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE CALL FOR PAPERS

We are delighted to announce that the Roles Sexuality & Gender Forum at the University of Birmingham will be holding its 7th annual conference on the Thursday 18th May 2017 and we are now calling for papers. The conference will be offering an interdisciplinary space, and we invite you to submit abstracts related to any and all aspects of the study of Sexuality and Gender. This conference is organised by postgraduate students and is designed to provide a platform for presenting research to an audience of students and established academics alike.

Please send your abstract to rolessexualitygender@gmail.com by Saturday 11th March 2017 (max 250 words plus 50 word bio). If you would like any more information on this conference then do not hesitate to get in touch via email or social media. You can also look at our blog, where you will find details of our previous work as a forum including last year’s conference.

We look forward to receiving your submissions!

This is a free event and we will strive to make this conference fully accessible. We will have facilities for wheelchair access and rest spaces. Please contact us if you have any questions or further access requirements. There will be live tweeting of the event.

Facebook: facebook.com/rolesforum
Twitter: @groles
WordPress: groles.wordpress.com