Phone: Office ZFG
Karola Gebauer
+49 (0)441/798 4316

Book Publication

Geschlechterwissen in und zwischen den Disziplinen.
Perspektiven der Kritik an akademischer Wissensproduktion.

edited by Barbara Paul, Corinna Bath and Silke Wenk, Bielefeld: transcript 2020

Project Description

Project Description "Gender Knowledge in and between the Disciplines"

Just like everyday knowledge, academic knowledge too is embedded within political, culture-historical, and social frameworks. They influence what is sayable (and what is not), what is visible (and what is not). Discourses materialize in institutions and different locations of language just as they affect the conditions of insight and production of knowledge and research.

Different styles of thought, and knowledge cultures that produce gendered and gendering (disciplinary) knowledge are at the centre of the research project. With “dissenting participation” (“dissidente Partizipation” [Hark 2005]) in mind, the project focuses on engaging the fundamentally gender-hierarchical constitution of disciplinary knowledge production and transfer; aspects of power regimes in the relationship between research subject and object; challenging the claims of objectivity, neutrality, and normativity; and the cross-disciplinary approach of gender studies.

However, a single Gender Studies does not exist. Rather, (critical) gender knowledge is differentiated with its diverse institutionalizations throughout academia – as Women’s and Gender Studies or as Queer Studies in degree programmes, disciplines, and research centres, or in the shape of gender mainstreaming and other equal opportunities programmes. Furthermore, it is subject to the developments and constraints of (university) policies such as the current state of knowledge societies and the economization of knowledge, which can have different effects depending on the field and the degree of institutionalization. The project is confronted with basic definitions and arguments moored in and evolving from numerous, in part interdisciplinary, fields. Thus, it examines the various trajectories of the establishment of gender critical knowledge in German-speaking countries from the 1970s on. Its analysis of the field-specific and cross-disciplinary conditions and developments of the production of gender knowledge is concerned particularly with a comparative examination of Natural and Engineering Sciences as well as Cultural Studies. This involves scrutinizing the origin, the characteristics, and the science-critical disruptive potential of definitions of gender knowledge and the understanding (or construction) of gender as they differ from field to field. Such an approach includes a detailed tracing of reasons and specificities of academic gender knowledge’s heterogeneity. Some questions are, for instance: What are the starting points from which gender knowledge emerges in a given field? What are the underlying science-critical approaches, and to which definitions of gender, sex, and sexuality do they give rise? What are the effects of institutionalization with regard to processes of handing down and the selection/rejection of gender knowledge; or with regard to the development of specific knowledge cultures and styles of thought? What are the implications for the understanding and the practice of inter-/transdisciplinary work? How does the current corporate university’s demand for applicability and usability affect the production of gender knowledge in the disciplines, their cultures, and the scholarly discourse formations grounded in an interdisciplinary approach? How does it affect the production of gender knowledge in the frequently tense relationship between Gender Studies and equal opportunities? What role do research policies and funding, the curricular mooring of Gender Studies, gender mainstreaming, and diversity concepts play? Examples from Biology (Dr. Smilla Ebeling), Computing Sciences (Dr. Claude Draude), Cultural Studies with a focus on Art History (PD Dr. Anja Zimmermann), and Musicology (Friederike Bunten, M. A.) serve to explore these questions.

The project is interested in basic research on the question of how sustainable Gender Studies were, and accordingly how it may remain sustainable in the face of the knowledge society’s current developments. As such, the project also commits to the discussion about conditions and possibilities of self-reflexive scholarship at the “entrepreneurial university”.

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