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Gender and the Politics of Austerity

25th November, 2013
Docklands Campus, Room SD.1.13, 2-5 pm, UEL.
Austerity forever – dismantling mutuality in European welfare states
Gargi Bhattacharyya, University of East London, UEL
The rhetoric and practices of austerity across Europe can be regarded as an attempt to remake political expectations and to delegitimise state-based approaches to regulating social and economic outcomes. This paper will present a brief overview of the formation of the concept of austerity. This will include an examination of the restructuring of public services as a result of austerity measures and the impact on racial injustice of these shifts as well as a consideration of anti-state consciousness on the landscape of popular racism and anti-racism. The paper will outline the manner in which austerity has become a localised yet highly ideological project in different European locations and consider the impact of such ideological attacks on attempts to propagate mutuality, inclusivity and collectivity. Inevitably, such shifts also rewrite the politics of race, in terms of establishing and regulating frameworks for equality, unleashing new popular contracts of everyday interaction and heightening the politicisation and consciousness of national borders. The piece ends with some thoughts about the possible future trajectories of austerity racisms.

Professor Gargi Bhattacharyya joined UEL in 2013, after periods working at the Universities of Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Aston. She has worked in the areas of: race and racisms; sexualities; globalisation; the war on terror; political disengagement. Her published books include: Tales of Dark-Sinned Women (UCL, 1998); Race and Power, with John Gabriel and Stephen Small (Routledge, 2001); Sexuality and Society (Routledge, 2002); Traffic (Pluto, 2005); Dangerous Brown Men, Exploiting Sex, Violence and Feminism in the War on Terror (Zed, 2008); Ethnicities and Values in a Changing World (Ashgate, 2009).

Thrifty mothers, skivers/strivers and the cultural politics of wanting
Tracey Jensen, UEL
The erosion of the universal welfare state and the post-war social contract has continued at a brisk pace since the forming of the Coalition government, but post-austerity these erosions are overlaid with a new moral imperative around ‘thrift’ and its virtues, embrace the challenge of ‘doing more with less’, finding ways to live on, and thrive, in a time of increasing precarity and contingency.  ‘Thrift’ has been embraced, governmentally and individually, as a moral orientation which can cure us of our profligacy and our spendthrift habits.  This paper examines the ‘cruel optimism’ (Berlant, 2011) of thrift, the futures it tantalisingly promises, the consoling and constructed national nostalgias that it animates and the pathologies it (re)circulates about the ‘wrong’ kind of family consumption.  In particular this paper explores the potency of gender in both the re-invention of divisive moral categories of worth, and in popular resistance to the austerity project.
Dr Tracey Jensen joined UEL in 2003 and before that she was based in Media and Cultural Studies at Newcastle University.  Her intellectual training is cross-disciplinary and her teaching and research draws on the disciplines of sociology, social policy, cultural studies and media. Her current research looks at how policy, media and cultural texts circulate stigmatising ideas of 'problem families' and 'troubled families', trying to connect these ideas to a broader analysis of the 'post-welfare' shift, in which citizen entitlements are becoming contractual, precarious and sanctioned.
Discussant: Dr Myrto Tsilimpounidi, UEL
Myrto is a social researcher and photographer. Her research focuses on the interface between migration, urbanism, and culture. She specialises in visual, spatial and interdisciplinary methodologies.

UEL Humanities and The Feminist Research Group

Emerging Feminist Research
Please join us to learn more about the work of four promising researchers from UEL’s class of 2013: Rebecca Hobbs and Nicola Long (History), Akesha Reid and Emma Ross (English Literature).
Thursday 13 June. 2pm. SD1.12 (Sports Dock)
More info: Marianne Wells:

Gender Violence: Policies and Interventions
Symposium for the Launch of the Feminist Research Group
8th April 2013, 2-5-pm, University of East London, SD 1.12
Professor Frances Heidensohn: What is the most important contribution feminism can make to debates on gender violence?
In assessing the contribution of feminism on debates on gender violence Frances considers two important questions: how research informs policies and how cultural and conceptual shifts reshape the dialogue.  Models for campaigns which challenge the status quo are also discussed in this talk.  

Frances Heidensohn is Visiting Professor in the Sociology Department at LSE and Emeritus/a Professor of Social Policy, University of London. She is the General Editor of the British Journal of Sociology. Frances is a pioneer of feminist perspectives in criminology, best known for her work on gender and crime. She has also worked on gender and law enforcement on international and comparative perspectives. In 2000 she received the Book Award of the International Division of the American Society of Criminology and in 2004 she was awarded the Sellin Glueck Award for her contributions to international criminology.
Mojisola Adebayo: Reflections on 'I Stand Corrected'
Mojisola talks about her most recent collaboration on a performance developed with a South African artist. The work engages with the systemic ongoing problem of 'corrective rape', sexual violence perpetrated against lesbians with the objective to 'cure' or 'correct' them.

Born in South London, Mojisola Adebayo is an actor, director, playwright and producer. She has been making theatre for over two decades. In 2005 Adebayo's Moj of the Antarctic was performed at Lyric Hammersmith, Oval House Theatre, Queer Up North and had a British Council African tour. Adebayo followed this with productions of Muhammad Ali and Me (Oval House), Matt Henson, North Star (Lyric Hammersmith) and her first commission, Desert Boy (Nitro, Albany and national tour).
Aylwyn Walsh: Survivor/victim/hero?: Theatre making with women in prison
Awlwyn presents an overview of a theatre-making process with women in prison focusing on how women participants fluctuate between positions, as 'survivors', 'victims' and 'heroes'. The talk, accompanied by images from photographer Cristina Nunez.

Aylwyn Walsh is a performance maker and scholar (University of Lincoln), working on the arts and social change, currently developing practice-led research in women’s prisons. She is also the artistic director of Ministry of Untold Stories. Recent publications include work on arts in healthcare for the Journal for Applied Arts and Health; on street art in Journal of Arts and Communities, and in Total Theatre Magazine, Women in Prison Magazine, Prison Service Journal, Theatre Topics. She is currently co-editing 'Remapping Crisis: A Guide to Athens' published by Zero Books.
Gurcharan Virdee: Policy interventions around gender based violence in conflict situations and humanitarian contexts
Gurcharan will consider the challenges in providing adequate support to sexual violence survivors in conflict/humanitarian contexts, focusing on the problems involved in extrapolating models developed in the Western context to situations 'elsewhere'. She will refer to recent cases in Somalia and Afghanistan.

Gurcharan Virdee is Senior Consultant on Violence Against Women/Girls and Gender and Conflict, with Social Development Direct.

Feminist Research Reading Group, January 24th, 11-1 pm, Facilitator: Erika Cudworth
 Feminist Research Group, Fall seminar
December 10th, 3-5.00 pm
University of East London, Docklands Room: BS.3.18

Hanna Hallgren, Södertörns University College: Travelling as a Writing Method

Hanna Hallgren will talk about "travelling as a method in writing", which is part of her ongoing project, ”Writing as a method: a study in poetry, writing process and the possibilities of reflexive academic writing”. The aim of this study is to interrogate ”writing as a method.” The research questions being asked focus on how feminist epistemology, theory and methodology can enrich and challenge poetic writing and its methods, and how the poetic construction of truth in poetry can enrich Gender Studies as an academic field. "Travelling as a method ... " is a project in its very beginning, based on the route: London-Aberdeen-Fraserburgh-Aberdeen-Inverness-Thurso-Orkney Islands-Thurso-Glasgow-London.

Hanna Hallgren is a Swedish poet and scholar in Gender Studies at Södertörns University College. She is currently working on a project in artistic research entitled "Writing as a method" in which she predominantly concerns her self with issues on aesthetics, ethics and methodology. She has published seven books in Sweden and Norway.
All welcome!
Book Launch: Gender and Cosmopolitanism in Europe: A Feminist Perspective
by Ulrike M. Vieten, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands
November 7th, 1.30-3.00, Room: EB.G.18
University of East London, Docklands Campus
Feminist Research Group meeting
November 7th, 3.30-5.00,
University of East London, Docklands Campus, Room: EB.G.18
Undutiful Daughters: New Directions in Feminist Thought and Practice – Book Launch                                                                                            
Oct 26, 2012 at 06:00 PM, Birkbeck, Main Building, Malet St