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gender<ed> thoughts Vol. 2/2021 - Gendering at Educational Institutions Agential Cuts in Teaching and Research by Hannes Leuschner and Imme Petersen

According to Karen Barad’s notion of agential realism (Meeting the Universe Halfway, 2007), students, teachers, but also educational objects and spaces do not have primary qualities but are the result of changeable relations. Barad further describes the possibility of performing an agential cut within such an intra-active configuration, that is, the more or less conscious establishment of a subject-object relation from which a reconfiguration of the actual relations at any given time can take place. In our paper, we will use the concept of agential cut to explore Barad’s theoretical framework and discuss what happens during ethnographic research between analytical approach, empirical data, and the researcher in the field. Our considerations are based on ethnographic research carried out in three educational institutions in Germany: elementary school, comprehensive school, and university. Our study draws on ethnographic studies focusing on gender at school. Within this field, our approach is to understand our own research practice with Barad’s concept of the agential cut, which is discussed in many different research fields. Therein, we are not primarily concerned with questions related to Teaching with Feminist Materialisms (Hinton and Treusch 2015), but with questions about researching teaching with new material feminism; in particular, we want to offer an extended reading of Barad’s concept of agential cuts in order to make it applicable to the researcher and their research subject, as well as to the ethical relationship between them.

With a commentary by Carol A. Taylor

gender<ed> thoughts Vol. 1/2021 - Gendered Hygiene: Medicalized femininity Through Intimate Hygiene by Anne Rauber

This article analyses the social significance of female intimate hygiene through the theoretical perspectives of biopolitics. Medicalization - the extension of medical competence to more and more areas of prevention and cosmetics - becomes evident in various characteristics, which the article explains with the example of intimate hygiene. To do this, the article expands the theoretical perspective to include the term medicalization, which is based on a Foucauldian governmentality approach. The article explains that medicalization, firstly, runs along predominant corporeal ideals and gender relations, secondly, it contributes to gender-specific pathologization and self-optimization, and thirdly, it functions as a technique of gendered self-optimization.

With a commentary by Käthe von Bose

gender<ed> thoughts Vol. 2/2020 - A study of representations of femininity in the series Game of Thrones from a feminist media theory perspective by Katharina Jäntschi


The article analyzes the two female characters Daenerys Targaryen and Brienne of Tarth of the HBO series Game of Thrones with regard to representations from a feminist media studies perspective. This analysis is based on the observation that the series is discussed as feminist in many fan blog articles due to its female characters. Using instruments of feminist film analysis, both the content level and the level of representation of the characteristics of the female characters are examined and compared. On the basis of deconstructivist and pop-feminist gender theories, it is analysed, whether the assessment of the series as feminist made by the fan community can withstand and what difficulties can be found with it. As a result, it can be said that the two female figures offer many possibilities for feminist i terpretation, but the way in which Daenerys Targaryen is presented and the fragile femininity of Brienne of Tarth make this impossible. The focus on the two figures mentioned also enables a critical examination of the concept of femininity and its feminist potential in contrast to the concept of female masculinity or the question of forms of female domination in fantasy series.

With a commentary by Tullio Richter-Hansen


gender<ed> thoughts Vol. 1/2020 - Special Issue "The Infinite Circulation of Knowledge. Discussions of and Practical Engagements with the Theories and Methods of 'Critical Feminist Materialisms'" by Konstanze Hanitzsch and Alicia Schlender

This special issue results from the lecture series “The Infinite Circulation of Knowledge. Lectures, debates and discussions on and about feminist materialism” held at the Göttingen Center for Gender Research between May 2017 and February 2018. Four of these lectures appear in this second special issue of gender<ed> thoughts. They shed light on different topics, approaches and perspectives regarding CFMs, which provide readers with new insights, critical suggestions and cutting-edge scientific and artistic discussions of CFMs.

Introduction to this Special Issue: The Infinite Circulation of Knowledge. Discussions of and Practical Engagements with the Theories and Methods of 'Critical Feminist Materialisms' by Konstanze Hanitzsch

Caring with Nature/s: On the Transformative Meaning of Care in More Than Human Worlds by Daniela Gottschlich and Christine Katz

Agential Realism meets Epigenetics. A Diffractive Reading Attempt by Lisa Krall

Effective Counterspell? Magic, New Materialismus and Contemporary Art by Susanne Witzgall

Time to Sync or Swim – Some Gendered Thoughts by Katrin Mayer

Commentary on the Special Issue by Kerstin Palm

gender<ed> thoughts Vol. 2/2019 - "Gender-fair Language in Academia: Use and Motivation" by Christine Ivanov, Maria B. Lange, Tabea Tiemeyer, Martin Ptok


In the 1970s, gender-fair language became a much debated topic in Germany. Since then, the motivation for its use, as well as the linguistic forms used to promote it, have changed considerably. Initially, visibility of women was pursued. Since the 1990s, a critique of heteronormativity emerged, and a tendency towards more inclusive linguistic forms grew. To this day, gender-fair language is noticeably absent in most academic texts. This is surprising, as gender-fair language is more precise than the use of generic masculine forms. Also, the language use by high-status groups, such as academics, tends to function as a role model. To explore this issue, 290 academics from the areas of gender studies and medicine were consulted in an online survey about their use of gender-fair language, their preferences for certain options, and possible impediments. After a descriptive analysis of the findings, they were discussed in a gender-theoretical context and used for an outlook into future developments.

With a commentary by Constanze Spieß


gender<ed> thoughts Vol. 1/2019 – "‘Female Phallicism‘ in German Hip Hop" by Mirja Riggert

The Berlin Hip Hop duo SXTN is famous for its provocative lyrics borrowed from the male-dominated rhetoric of battle and gangsta rap. The present article analyses the music video FTZN IM CLB of 2016 regarding its emancipatory potential, which the media frequently attributes to the female rappers. A configurative analysis of visual, textual and tonal elements applies assumptions of gender theory to the video. Thus, it becomes obvious that performing an aggressive sisterhood in FTZN IM CLB results in deconstructing phallogocentric images of femininity because feminine topoi are intertwined with male connoted behavior. At the same time, the mimetic adaptation of a male habit reinforces the female position as a derivative of the male. This is conceptualized in the idea of “female phallicism” by Angela McRobbie (2009), which considers the “phallic girl” a re-stabilization of gender hierarchy. In the self-assertive rhetoric of SXTN it becomes evident how this concept manifests itself under the guise of female empowerment.

With a commentary by Eva-Maria van Straaten

gender<ed> thoughts Vol. 1/2018 - Special Issue "Gender and Violence in Contexts of Migration and Displacement" by Susanne Hofmann and Hatice Pinar Senoguz

This special issue originates from the Summer Symposium Reconsidering gender-based violence in the context of displacement and migration held at the Georg-August University of Göttingen on 6-7th July 2017.

The following working papers explore different forms of gender violence, avoiding the pitfalls of a mainstream feminism that reproduces stereotypes of victimhood and marginalisation. Instead, the authors emphasise the role of power in relation to various kinds of gender violence, paying attention to the intricate inequalities that structure victims’ lives. The authors contribute to intersectional and actor-focused understandings of gender violence in conditions of mobility within or across borders of nation states.


Introduction to the Special Issue: Gender and Violence in Contexts of Migration and Displacement by Dr. Susanne Hofmann & Dr. Hatice Pinar Senoguz

National Belonging and Violent Norms of Gendered Migrant Citizenship: Indonesian Migrant Domestic Workers’ Appropriation of a National Ritual by Samia Dinkelaker

Song of My Mother: Remembering and Representing the Forced Displacement and Resettlement of Kurdish Women by Tebessüm Yilmaz

Biopolitics and Displaced Bodies: Challenging Message and Representation in Refugee Art by Güler Ince

With commentaries by Johanna Neuhauser, Tül Süalp Akbal and Sabine Hess.

gender<ed> thoughts Vol. 3/2017 - "Go hard or go home!" A qualitative examination of the meaning of diverse body shapes for the recognition of young men in the context of fitness" by Peter Kiep

The current trend in body shaping has undergone continuous changes in recent years just as the commercial gym has as a recognized place for the articulation of modern corporality. This especially becomes apparent in the increased standards regarding socially accepted body ideals. Engaging in sport activities at the gym thus induces positive as well as negative experiences which are tied to appearance and athletic performance. From here, the study at hand considers the question – at the point of intersection of sport science and gender studies – which meaning diverse body forms have for the recognition of young men in the context of fitness. In this process, positive experiences of recognition based on appropriate self-fashioning as well as athletic performance become evident, on the one hand. On the other hand, dependencies between body-related tendencies of discrimination, body dissatisfaction and self-determined participation in body-modulating sport become apparent.

With a commentary by Stephanie Michalczyk

gender<ed> thoughts Vol. 2/2017 - "About the symbolic castration of traditional masculinities in Elfriede Jelinek’s fiction" by Julia Schwanke

The Austrian writer Elfriede Jelinek (*1946) is regarded as an author who criticizes patriarchal forms of hegemony with the exaggerated depiction of masculine dominance. The contribution at hand analyzes two of Jelinek’s novels from the 1980s from a gender-theory perspective: Wonderful, Wonderful Times [Die Ausgesperrten] and The Piano Teacher [Die Klavierspielerin]. It highlights that Jelinek goes beyond a common critique of patriarchy by reducing masculine dominance to absurdity – she showcases symbolically castrated masculinities as a persiflage of traditional masculinity. For the analysis, sociological gender- and class-based theoretical approaches are combined with a method of character analysis. Michael Meuser’s approach, which combines Raewyn Connell’s concept of hegemonic masculinity with Pierre Bourdieu’s habitus concept, is integrated into Jens Eder’s character analysis. With this the performance of masculinity becomes (more) visible in Jelinek’s prose and is integrated into the context of a double distinction and dominance logic. In the course of the analysis it becomes clear that the male characters, who orient themselves to the ideal of hegemonic masculinity in the construction of their own masculinity, are failing. They cannot meet the requirements which the patriarchy with its embodiment of a hegemonic masculinity imposes on them. Jelinek symbolically castrates them.

With a commentary by Konstanze Hanitzsch

gender<ed> thoughts Vol. 1/2017 - "Reflecting the student university initiation from an empirical perspective" by Simon Volpers und Folke Brodersen

Based on qualitative field work (participant observation, narrative interviews), this paper reconstructs practices of student university initiation for the Physics, Economics and Social Sciences programs in Göttingen. These initiation rites (‘O-Phase’) have increasingly drawn criticism both in the public as well as in discussions within the university itself. The article follows emerging movements of discourse, contrasting them with the rites’ intrinsic logic. Regarding their underlying structure of excess and their violently gendered and sexualized practices, it discusses whether this way of beginning academic programs is appropriate in the context of the university’s current transformations. The article develops an empirically grounded localization, compilation and reformulation of this criticism.

With a commentary by Anna Maria Beck