Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies

Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies
School of Sociology and Social Policy
Social Sciences Building
Leeds, LS2 9JT

Tel: +44 (0) 113 343 3770
Fax: +44 (0) 113 343 4415


Seminar: Challenging Academic Debates: Situating Decolonial Science, Art and Faith in the Syllabus

Join us in this event where we will be “Challenging Academic Debates: Situating Decolonial Science, Art and Faith in the Syllabus”, in celebration of the Black History Month.

25th and 26th October 2018
School of Sociology and Social Policy – Room 12.21-25
University of Leeds – LS2 9JT

Keynotes: Dr. Susanne Scafe and Professor Kehinde Andrews
Sessions will involve workshops, cunt-clown presentation, music, dance, Poetry and PGRs presenting their researches.

Covering topics on:

  • Why is my Curriculum White? and Intersectionality in Social Sciences Studies
  • Implications of Racism in Health Care and Pharmacy Industry
  • Freedom of faith among communities of minority ethnicities
  • Migration and the Hostile Environment in the UK

Register here:


This entry was posted in Events, News.

Postgraduate conference and workshop: After #metoo: where next?

On Monday 23rd July 2018, CIGS and FLAG will be hosting a conference and workshop exploring academic and practitioner responses to the #metoo campaign.

We welcome presenters and attendees from across disciplines as well as from the social sector. The event is open to PhD students, Masters students and practitioners.

Call for Papers

The #metoo campaign has facilitated the emergence of a renewed public narrative around violence against women and girls (VAWG), which has led to the widespread public disclosure of women’s experiences of a sexual harassment and abuse. Will this make any tangible or lasting difference to women and girls’ experience of violence (in all its forms)? Does public discourse reflect the experiences of women who are more marginalised or less privileged, particularly given that the campaign’s founder, Tarana Burke, has largely been unacknowledged and obscured in this debate?
The UK government’s current VAWG strategy (2016-2020) outlines the strategic aim of “making VAWG everyone’s business”, with specific reference to the engagement of “men, boys and bystanders” to challenge VAWG and “further social change” (Home Office, 2016). Policies implemented under welfare reform are however severely at odds with this and the stories we tell about women’s experiences remain stubbornly focused on victim-survivors rather than perpetrators. To what extent can policy and dominant discourse be reworked so that violence against women is genuinely regarded as a social problem for which there is a shared, collective responsibility to address?

Building upon the discussions from the first Violence Symposium event on May 8th, and set against this backdrop, we are looking for submissions across the following themes, and beyond:

  • Past and present celebrity narratives of domestic and/or sexual violence and harassment (Saville, Weinstein, Spacey etc.)
  • Victim-survivor resilience and resourcefulness
  • Acts of victim-survivor public self-disclosure
  • Public narratives and responses around domestic/sexual violence and harassment
  • Notions of authentic ‘victimhood’; considering “othered” women’s experiences of violence such as women engaged in sex work, women with substance use issues and trans women.
  • LBGTQ+ victim-survivors’ experiences of domestic and sexual violence
  • Post-colonial and racialized narratives of abuse and violence in the current climate
  • Class and notions of (women’s) respectability
  • Trauma, resilience and resistance at different stages of the life-course including, childhood experiences and older women’s experiences of trauma and domestic/sexual abuse
  • Feminist thought and political activism in relation to the #metoo campaign
  • Reflections on the government’s current VAWG strategy
  • Policy responses in the context of austerity and welfare reform measures
  • Power and privilege in institutional settings, including higher education environments
  • Bystander initiatives and approaches to combat domestic and sexual violence on campus
  • Use of technology and social media as a tool for bringing about ‘real’ social change (?)
  • Exploring counter narratives to the #metoo campaign
  • Men speaking up against men’s violence towards women; notions of ‘allyship’ and coalition building
  • Domestic and sexual violence and abuse prevention approaches

This is not an exhaustive list and submissions are not limited to the above. Papers on other issues related to these broad themes are welcome. We welcome submissions from PhD students, Masters students and practitioners with relevant research or work experience. Please send 250 word abstract submissions to Jessica Wild j.l.wild@leeds.ac.uk and Mary Robson ss09memr@leeds.ac.uk by Friday 15th June 2018. If you have any queries or concerns please feel free to contact us. Notification of acceptance will be sent out by Friday 22nd June 2018.

For tickets, please go to the Eventbrite page: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/after-metoo-where-next-tickets-46188906262.

This entry was posted in Conferences, Events, News.

My Degree Explained: Gender Studies MA

By Olivia Morris


When I tell people that I’m studying an MA in Gender Studies, I’m typically faced with some pretty poor and misinformed reactions including: “Eh? Gender Studies? Is that just a bunch of women sat around complaining about men?” “Are you going to be able to get a job with that?” “There can’t be that many people on your course…” “Are there any boys who do it?” and so on…

The amount of students on the course offered at the University of Leeds almost doubled from 2015 to 2016 with an additional 12 students taking the MA. There are a variety of people on the course who represent various gender identities, come from all kinds of different backgrounds and cultures, and between us there are more than 19 different languages spoken, including a student who can sign-language.

Students with a masters in gender studies go on to do a wide range of careers including: teaching, working for NGOs, campaigning and activism, further study, journalism, law and many more.

The research, analysis and communication skills that the course provides you with means there are plenty of options for students to go on to do. The course in general provides us with an overview of the gendered inequalities that we face in society both in the past and now, and what we can do to tackle these issues.

So what exactly is a MA in Gender Studies, and why is it becoming more popular? With the help of some fellow students and lecturers, I want to bust a few myths about Gender Studies at Master’s level, explaining what it’s really about and why it’s so important, from those who actually do the course.

Francesca Taylor, Student

“In September 2015 I began volunteering for a local women’s charity Support After Rape and Sexual Violence Leeds. It was through delivering frontline women’s services as a helpline volunteer, supporting survivors of sexual violence, that I fully realised the extent of gender discrimination and the necessity for more conversations and studies about gender inequality.

“Flash-forward a year on and I’m studying for my M.A in Gender Studies at Leeds with a view to work for a gender based charity in the future.

“The course offers an in-depth insight into feminist, queer and postcolonial theories (among many others); ways that we might research gender in a sensitive, effective way; and discussions revolve around important relevant examples relating to gender in the changing, technological world in which we live.

“If you are interested in how gender is experienced differently and want to learn from other’s experiences by having important conversations, then I would wholeheartedly recommend studying gender at master’s level.”

Karen Throsby, Associate Professor

“An understanding of gender relations in society has never been more important, locally, nationally and globally. Courses like those at CIGS (Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies), and those run by other feminists across the country, enable students to think critically and reflexively about gender relations in all their complexity, and in ways that enable them to engage politically with the social world.

“These programmes also enable students to form alliances with feminists from around the world that will endure well beyond the degree programme itself.

“In a moment when the future president of the United States can talk unashamedly about sexually assaulting women and still be elected, I can’t think of anything more important than trying to understand gendered power relations and our own complicated relations to them, as well as seeking out points of intervention and resistance.”

Georgie Oi, Student

“I applied to do an MA in Gender Studies because I had been working in the public sector for sometime and wanted to specialise in sectors where a knowledge of gender issues would be useful. For example, working with survivors of domestic violence.

“On a personal note, I have experienced sexism all throughout my life and I wanted to empower myself to challenge this.”

Joyce Yi, Student

“The reason why I choose gender studies is because I’ve seen loads of gender inequality issues in our everyday lives. Some women are suffering from the ideal female gender roles.

“The most horrible thing is that they blame themselves if they do not fit the ideal image of women. Men can also be victims under the typical gender stereotypes. So I’m really curious how those roles and ‘truth’ are established in the society; what things we can do to help ourselves and others to live more freely.”

Current students on the course at Leeds took a wide range of undergraduate courses including English, Theatre, Music, Sociology, History, Psychology, Politics, International Relations and many more.

In a world that is becoming ever more uncertain, it is imperative that the students of today equip themselves with the tools and knowledge to challenge what faces us.


This article first appeared on Kettle on 2nd April 2017.

This entry was posted in Blog, Events, News.

Seminar: ‘Anyone can edit’, not everyone does: Wikipedia and the gender gap

On 15th March 2017, 12:00-13:30, Dr Heather Ford will discuss her research on Wikipedia and gender.

‘Anyone can edit’, not everyone does: Wikipedia and the gender gap

Feminist STS has long established that science’s provenance as a male domain continues to define what counts as knowledge and expertise. Wikipedia, arguably one of the most powerful sources of information today, was initially lauded as providing the opportunity to rebuild knowledge institutions by providing greater representation of multiple groups. However, less than ten percent of Wikipedia editors are women. At one level, this imbalance in contributions and therefore content is yet another case of the masculine culture of technoscience. This is an important argument and, in this talk, I examine the empirical research that highlights these issues. My main objective, however, is to extend current accounts by demonstrating that Wikipedia’s infrastructure introduces new and less visible sources of gender disparity. In sum, my aim here is to present a consolidated analysis of the gendering of Wikipedia.

Time and Location Details

15th March 2017

12:00 – 13:30
Room 12.21 and 12.25,
Social Sciences Building,
University of Leeds,
LS2 9JT.
This event is free to attend and no booking is required.

This entry was posted in Events.

Seminar: Dr Rosemary Lucy Hill – Persuasive Data: the use of data and visualisation in abortion campaigning

On 1st March 2017, 12:00-13:30, Dr Rosemary Lucy Hill will discuss her research on abortion-related data visualisations in campaigning contexts.

Persuasive Data: the use of data and visualisation in abortion campaigning

Data visualisation has been argued to have the power to ‘change the world’, implicitly for the better, but when it comes to abortion, both sides make moral claims to ‘good’. Visualisation conventions of clean lines and shapes simplify data, lending them a rhetoric of neutrality, as if the data is the whole story. It is imperative, therefore, to examine how data visualisations are used to shape women’s lives. This article draws on the findings of the small Persuasive Data. Google Image Scraper was used to locate abortion-related visualisations circulating online. The images, their web locations, and data use were social semiotically analysed to understand their visual rhetoric and political use. Anti-abortion groups are more likely to use data visualisation than pro-choice groups, thereby simplifying the issue and mobilising the rhetoric of neutrality. I argue that data visualisations are being used as a hindrance to women’s access to abortion, and that the critique of such visualisations needs to come from feminists. I extend discussions of how data is often reified as objective, by showing how the rhetoric of objectivity within data visualisation conventions is harnessed to do work in the world that is potentially very damaging to women’s rights.

Time and Location Details

1st March 2017

12:00 – 13:30
Room 12.21 and 12.25,
Social Sciences Building,
University of Leeds,
LS2 9JT.
This event is free to attend and no booking is required.


This entry was posted in Events.

Seminar: Dr Clarissa Smith – Talking about pornography in everyday life: what can be learned from talking to audiences?

On 22nd February 2017, 12:00 – 13:30, Professor Clarissa Smith (Sunderland) will be speaking in the School of Sociology and Social Policy:

Talking about pornography in everyday life: what can be learned from talking to audiences?

Despite the heat of debates about pornography – its meanings and impacts – we still know very little about the quotidian consumption of porn. In this presentation Clarissa will draw on findings from a complex online questionnaire into the meanings and pleasures of pornography, which garnered more than 5,000 responses.  The data suggests that pornographic materials have intricate meanings in respondents’ everyday lives and multiple significances for their senses of themselves as sexual subjects.

Time and Location Details

22nd February 2017

12:00 – 13:30

Room 12.21 and 12.25,
Social Sciences Building,
University of Leeds,
LS2 9JT.
This event is free to attend and no booking is required.

This entry was posted in Events.

Dr John Mercer: Seeing is believing: ‘Saturated’ Masculinity and Gay Pornography

Date: 28 January 2015, 5.00pm
Location: Room 12.21 and 12.25 Social Sciences Building

Gay pornography, either in print or onscreen, remains a controversial as well as a significantly under-researched area of cultural production. It is a complicated and often contradictory genre that exploits, subverts, celebrates, plays with and calls into question the ways in which masculinity is constructed and what contemporary masculinity might mean. Given that the internet has resulted in an exponential growth in the sheer volume as well as the range of gay porn available to audiences and greatly enhanced access to this material, the need for a sustained exploration of gay pornography and its modes of representation becomes ever more pressing. With this in mind I am now writing a book that explores and situates the rhetorical strategies and iconography of contemporary gay pornography and discusses the paradigm of masculinities that it presents. This presentation will discuss the challenges that studying gay pornography presents for researchers in British universities and will identify some of the issues that all researchers in the field have to consider.

My work in the field over the last 15 years has aimed to illustrate that gay pornography offers plural models of masculinity that are more various and nuanced than they might seem. I argue that gay porn illustrates a contemporary ‘saturated’ masculinity. Ranging from an analysis of ‘mainstream’ gay pornography to the marginal, from glossy professionalism to the artisanal and amateur, the paradox that lies at the heart of gay porn is that it is at points both subversive and normative; undermining orthodoxies of masculine representation at the same time as producing new norms of gay sexual conduct and sexual performance.

John Mercer is Reader in Gender and Sexuality at the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research. He is the leader of the Screen Cultures research cluster and runs the MA in Screen Studies.

His research interests include film and television genres, celebrity and stardom, the pornography debate, the sexualisation of contemporary media culture and contemporary cultural theory. He is the author (with Martin Shingler) of Melodrama: Genre Style Sensibility and a monograph on Rock Hudson due to be published by the BFI in 2015. John is co-editor of the Journal of Gender Studies, one of the editorial founders of Porn Studies and reviews editor for this new journal. He is also a member of the editorial board of Cine-Excess (and the guest editor of the inaugural issue), editorial board member of Sexualities and is a peer reviewer and guest editor for Celebrity Studies.

This entry was posted in CIGS Seminar Series 2014-15, Events.

Prof. Yvette Taylor: Creating Citizens, Constructing Religion, Configuring Gender

citizens-religion-genderDate: 03 December 2014, 5.00pm
Location: Room 12.21 and 12.25 Social Sciences Building

This paper presents a case-study exploration of Christianity and sexuality in the lives of young lesbians in the UK, drawing upon a larger ESRC funded grant ‘Making Space for Queer Identifying Religious Youth’. Religion matters as a personal and political force, but secularizing trends arguably obscure its influence on the complex convergence and intersection of personal, political, familial, and institutional realms (Brierley, 2006; Heelas and Woodhead, 2005).

While the question of homosexuality has been a central focus in much discussion, highlighting around the presumed discontinuity between sexual identity and Christian identity (O’Brien, 2004), there is still a gap in terms of locating first-hand narratives of self-identified young queer Christians. Rather than assuming that these are separate and divergent paths (Wilcox, 2000), this paper explores intersectional convergences and divergences, illustrating how religious participation can convey (de)legitimation within family, community and society. Such (de)legitimation is revealed in unpacking scripts of inclusion and exclusion (Taylor and Snowdon, 2014), which are (re)circulated via hetero-homo normative ideals, and perpetuated and contested in the context of intersectional Equalities legislation.

Here, I examine the highly gendered and heteronormative ‘role models’, ‘mentors’ and (familial) mediations experienced by young lesbian Christians, as intersecting public–private domains in the production of queer religious subjectivity and dis-identification.

This entry was posted in CIGS Seminar Series 2014-15, Events.

sexgen Seminar 6: Body Image and Gender in Neoliberal Times


Thursday October 30th 2014, 4.00-6.00pm

Bowland North, Seminar Room 10, Lancaster University

Public Lecture by Prof. Rosalind Gill: ‘Love Your Body and Hate It’

Roundtable discussion with Prof. Gill, Dr Celia Roberts, Dr Debra Ferreday and Dr Imogen Tyler: ‘Young Women and Body Image in Neoliberal Times’

For more details, see the event page on the sexgen website

This entry was posted in Events, sexgen Seminar Series.

Dr Jacqui Gabb from the Open University: Enduring Love? Relationship work and practices of intimacy in long-term couple relationships

Date: 15 October 2014, 4.00pm
Location: Room 12.25, Social Sciences Building

Using a rich palette of qualitative methods and a large scale online survey, the Enduring Love? project has been studying how couples experience, understand and sustain long-term relationships in contemporary Britain, paying particular attention to the ways in which gender, parenthood and generation shape experience.

In this presentation, I will explore the relationship work that couples do and how this serves to sustain their long-term relationships. Relationship work here is more than the drudgeries of domesticity. It offers couples the opportunity to embrace their relationship – through the pleasures of physical closeness; and to nurture their relationship – emotionally, practically, and symbolically through practices of togetherness which carve out shared time and create couple memories.

Focusing attention on the everyday practices that couples do and the material conditions which shape these personal lives, our conceptualisation of relationship work thus inculcates ideas of work and capital whilst keeping a keen eye on the intensity of emotions. Across the dataset, it was the personal meanings of relationship work that were valued more than their cultural reference points. Commercialised celebrations like Valentine’s Day or grandiose romantic displays from Interflora and/or the ‘guilty’ petrol station bunch of flowers were less fondly received than small acts of kindness. Knowing gestures and familiar relationship practices demonstrated intimate depth of understanding and investment in the long-term couple relationship.

This entry was posted in CIGS Seminar Series 2014-15, Events.

© Copyright Leeds 2018